The multifactorial nature of early numeracy and its stability
journal contributionposted on 03.12.2020, 13:40 by David Braeuning, Andrew Ribner, Korbinian Moeller, Clancy Blair
Early numeracy is a robust predictor of later mathematical abilities. So far, early numeracy has typically been presented as a unitary or two-factorial construct. Nevertheless, there is recent evidence suggesting that it may also be reflected by more basic numerical competences. However, the structure and stability of such a multifactorial model of early numeracy over time has not been investigated yet. In the present study, we used data from a large, longitudinal sample (N = 1292) in the United States with assessments of math ability in prekindergarten and kindergarten to evaluate both the factorial structure of early numeracy and its stability over time. Confirmatory factor analysis identified four distinct basic numerical competences making up early numeracy in prekindergarten: patterning/geometry, number sense, arithmetic, and data analysis/statistics. Stability as tested by means of measurement invariance indicated configural invariance of these four factors from prekindergarten to kindergarten. This reflected that early numeracy in kindergarten was made up by the same four basic numerical competences as in prekindergarten and thus seemed rather stable over the course of preschool. These findings may not only have implications for research on numerical cognition but particularly for diagnostic processes or the development of interventions in educational practice.
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National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grants R01 HD51502 and P01 HD39667
National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Mathematics Education Centre