European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction edition:13 location:Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands date:August 2009
Although it has been proposed that the ability to compare numerical magnitudes is related to individual differences in mathematical achievement, it is not clear whether this ability is a precursor rather than a consequence of individual differences in mathematical achievement. The present study addressed this question in typically developing children by means of a longitudinal design that examined the relationship between number comparison skills assessed at the start of formal schooling (mean age = 6 years 4 months) and a standardized curriculum-based mathematical achievement test administered one year later. Our findings provided longitudinal evidence that two indicators of the ability to compare numbers, namely the general speed of comparing numbers and the size of the individual distance effect calculated on the basis of reaction times, were predictively related to individual differences in mathematical achievement. Regression analyses showed that these associations were independent of age, intellectual ability and number identification skill.