Heterogeneous Contributions to Numerical Cognition: Chapter 14 - What predicts the development of fact retrieval speed and calculation accuracy in children with (and without) arithmetic disabilities (AD). What can we learn from longitudinal studies?

Elsevier, Heterogeneous Contributions to Numerical Cognition Learning and Education in Mathematical Cognition 2021, Pages 327-357
Annemie Desoete

After the introduction on the heterogeneity of arithmetic and arithmetic disabilities (AD), longitudinal study results are presented, so as to look for potential predictors for arithmetic abilities of children with and without AD. The roles of subitizing, seriation, and classification, procedural and conceptual counting, comparison, language, motivation, math anxiety, and working memory were explored. In addition, we studied to what extend children may outgrow AD. The present longitudinal studies provided evidence for numeracy of toddlers and for the importance of a numerical focus of mothers during the interactions. In addition, it turned out to be easier to predict typical achievement than to detect children who were going to develop AD in elementary school, based on their kindergarten measurers of seriation, classification, counting, and magnitude comparison. Moreover, kindergarten language predicted arithmetical abilities in grade 2. Autonomous motivation predicted fact retrieval skills, whereas controlled motivation (reward dependent) predicted calculation accuracy in children 1 year later. Math anxiety predicted calculation accuracy and fact retrieval speed 1 year later. Children with AD were less autonomously and more controlled (reward-dependent) motivated compared to their peers without AD. Math anxiety was especially an issue in girls with AD. The results highlighted that about 46% of the children with AD at the ages of 6 and 7 outgrow AD at the age of 10 years, stressing the dynamic aspect of AD and the importance of combining predictors in a comprehensive model.