Profiles and predictors of math achievement in early elementary school
Janes, Patricia Kay
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The longitudinal study examined fourth grade children’s profiles of strategy-use and the contributions of children’s second grade behaviors to their fourth grade profiles. The longitudinal study followed 206 children in the second-, third-, and fourth-grades to assess changes in strategy-use and achievement as children solved multi-digit computation and word problems. Each year children were assessed on types of strategies selected, fluency, accuracy, confidence in math abilities, spatial abilities, and math competency. Clustering analyses were run on fourth grade strategy-use to determine whether there were distinct groups of children as a function of strategy-use. Next, discriminant analyses were performed to determine whether fourth grade cluster group membership could be predicted by second grade strategy-use, fluency, accuracy, confidence, spatial ability, performance on a math competency test. Following this, a MANOVA was performed on fourth grade math competency subtest scores using cluster group membership as the independent variable to determine whether group membership affect all, or only some, areas of mathematics competency. Results indicate that fourth grade children separate into groups of cognitive strategy-users, transition strategy-users, and manipulative strategy-users. The groups were differentiated by competency, fluency, accuracy, and spatial abilities. Twenty-five percent of the 4-grade children were classified as manipulative strategy-users with limited proficiency in addition and subtraction problem-solving skills. Second grade cognitive strategy-use, performance, and fluency predicted fourth grade group membership in the cognitive and transition strategy-use groups. The study also determined that fourth grade strategy-use contributed differentially to the various domains of mathematics.