Contributions of domain-general and domain-specific numerical competencies were assessed on first graders' number combination skill (NC) and word-problem skill (WP). Students (n = 205) between 5 and 7 years of age were assessed on 2 aspects of numerosity, 8 domain-general abilities, NC, and WP. Both aspects of numerosity predicted NC when controlling for domain-general abilities, but domain-general abilities did not account for significant additional variance. By contrast, when controlling for domain-general abilities in predicting WP, only precise representation of small quantities was uniquely predictive, and domain-general measures accounted for significant additional variance; central executive component of working memory and concept formation were uniquely predictive. Results suggest that development of NC and WP depends on different constellations of numerical versus more general cognitive abilities.
Tzuriel, D., & Egozi, G. (2010). Gender Differences in Spatial Ability of Young Children: The Effects of Training and Processing Strategies. Child Development, 81(5), 1417-1430.
A sample of 116 children (M = 6 years 7 months) in Grade 1 was randomly assigned to experimental (n = 60) and control (n = 56) groups, with equal numbers of boys and girls in each group. The experimental group received a program aimed at improving representation and transformation of visuospatial information, whereas the control group received a substitute program. All children were administered mental rotation tests before and after an intervention program and a Global–Local Processing Strategies test before the intervention. The results revealed that initial gender differences in spatial ability disappeared following treatment in the experimental but not in the control group. Gender differences were moderated by strategies used to process visuospatial information. Intervention and processing strategies were essential in reducing gender differences in spatial abilities.
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