Symbolic number ordering and its underlying strategies examined through self-reports
journal contributionposted on 26.04.2021, 14:22 by Natalia Dubinkina, Francesco Sella, Bert Reynvoet
Symbolic number ordering has been related to arithmetic fluency; however, the nature of this relation remains unclear. Here we investigate whether the implementation of strategies can explain the relation between number ordering and arithmetic fluency. In the first study, participants (N=16) performed a symbolic number ordering task (i.e., “is a triplet of digits presented in the order or not?”) and verbally reported the strategy they used after each trial. The analysis of the verbal responses led to the identification of three main strategies: memory retrieval, triplet decomposition, and arithmetic operation. All the remaining strategies were grouped in the fourth category “other”. In the second study, participants were presented with a description of the four strategies. Afterwards, they (N=61) judged the order of triplets of digits as fast and as accurately as possible and, after each trial, they indicated the implemented strategy by selecting one of the four pre-determined strategies. Participants also completed a standardized test to assess their arithmetic fluency. Memory retrieval strategy was used more often for ordered trials than for nonordered trials and more for consecutive than non-consecutive triplets. Reaction times on trials solved by memory retrieval were related to the participants’ arithmetic fluency score. For the first time, we provide evidence that the relation between symbolic number ordering and arithmetic fluency is related to faster execution of memory retrieval strategies.
- Mathematics Education Centre