Learning and solving more complex problems

the roles of working memory, updating, and prior skills for general mathematical achievement and algebra

Kerry Lee, Swee Fong Ng, Rebecca Bull

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

We examined the influences of domain-specific and domain-general factors (measured by working memory and updating capacities) on learning and solving mathematical problems. Using both general mathematical achievement and more targeted measures of algebraic skills, we conducted a 4-year longitudinal study that involved 673 children from K2; Grades 2, 4, and 6 (5, 7, 9, and 11 year olds, respectively), tested annually. Domain-general influences are important for general mathematical achievement and relatively more so than prior mathematical achievement for the younger children. Prior achievement plays a more important role for children in higher grades. Learning to solve algebraic problems is influenced largely by domain-specific factors, though domain-general capacities are still associated with performances on a cross-sectional basis. These findings show that the importance of domain-general capacities vary greatly depending on the domain of mathematics under consideration and perhaps the way in which they are measured. Reasons for variations and ideas for future studies are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcquisition of complex arithmetic skills and higher-order mathematical concepts
EditorsDavid C. Geary, Daniel B. Berch, Robert J. Ochsendorf, Kathleen Mann Koepke
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
PublisherElsevier
Chapter9
Pages197-220
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780128133682
ISBN (Print)9780128050866
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMathematical cognition and learning
Volume3

Keywords

  • general mathematics achievement
  • algebraic word problems
  • mathematical patterns
  • arithmetic word problems
  • working memory
  • updating
  • longitudinal design

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Learning and solving more complex problems: the roles of working memory, updating, and prior skills for general mathematical achievement and algebra'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Lee, K., Ng, S. F., & Bull, R. (2017). Learning and solving more complex problems: the roles of working memory, updating, and prior skills for general mathematical achievement and algebra. In D. C. Geary, D. B. Berch, R. J. Ochsendorf, & K. Mann Koepke (Eds.), Acquisition of complex arithmetic skills and higher-order mathematical concepts (pp. 197-220). (Mathematical cognition and learning; Vol. 3). London, United Kingdom: Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-805086-6.00009-6