Early mathematics knowledge is a strong predictor of later academic achievement, but children from low-income families enter school with weak mathematics knowledge. An early math trajectories model is proposed and evaluated within a longitudinal study of 517 low-income American children from ages 4 to 11. This model includes a broad range of math topics, as well as potential pathways from preschool to middle grades mathematics achievement. In preschool, nonsymbolic quantity, counting, and patterning knowledge predicted fifth-grade mathematics achievement. By the end of first grade, symbolic mapping, calculation, and patterning knowledge were the important predictors. Furthermore, the first-grade predictors mediated the relation between preschool math knowledge and fifth-grade mathematics achievement. Findings support the early math trajectories model among low-income children. (Author abstract)
Early math trajectories: Low-income children’s mathematics knowledge from ages 4 to 11
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