Cognitive Development vol:23 issue:3 pages:424-437
The number line estimation task captures central aspects of children’s developing number sense, that is, their intuitions for numbers and their interrelations. Previous research used children’s answer patterns and verbal reports as evidence of how they solve this task. In the present study we investigated to what extent eye movements recorded during task solution reflect children’s use of the number line. By means of a cross-sectional design with 66 children
from Grades 1, 2, and 3, we show that eye-tracking data (a)
reflect grade-related increase in estimationcompetence, (b) are correlated with the accuracy of manual answers, (c) relate, in Grade 2, to children’s addition competence, (d) are systematically distributed over the number line, and (e) replicate previous findings concerning children’s use of counting strategies and orientationpoint strategies. These findings demonstrate the validity and utility of eye-tracking data for investigating children’s developing number sense and estimation competence.