Washington, July 12: Beginning first graders that understand numbers, the quantities those numbers represent, and low-level arithmetic will have better success in learning mathematics through the end of fifth grade, according to a new study.
"Math is critical for success in many fields, and the United States is not doing a great job of teaching math," said David Geary, Curator's Professor of Psychological Sciences.
"Once students fall behind, it's almost impossible to get them back on track. We wanted to identify the beginning of school knowledge needed to learn math over the next five years.
"We found that understanding numbers and quantity is a necessary foundation for success as the student progresses to more complex math topics," he added.
Geary and the team of researchers have been monitoring a group of 177 elementary students from 12 different elementary schools since kindergarten, with the intention of following them through their first algebra class in the 10th grade.
For this study, the researchers factored out intelligence, working memory and other abilities to determine the most critical beginning of school math skills.
The researchers also found that first graders who understood the number line and how to place numbers on the line and who knew some basic facts, showed faster growth in math skills than their counterparts over the next five years.
However, the researchers found that these early math skills had no impact on future reading ability.
The study will be published in the journal Developmental Psychology. (ANI)