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See detailVisuo-spatial abilities are key for young children’s verbal number skills
Cornu, Véronique UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Martin, Romain UL et al

in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (2018), 166C

Children’s development of verbal number skills (i.e, counting abilities and knowledge of the number names) presents a milestone in mathematical development. Different factors such as visuo-spatial and ... [more ▼]

Children’s development of verbal number skills (i.e, counting abilities and knowledge of the number names) presents a milestone in mathematical development. Different factors such as visuo-spatial and verbal abilities have been discussed to contribute to the development of these foundational skills. To understand the cognitive nature of verbal number skills in young children, the present study assessed the relation of preschoolers’ verbal and visuo-spatial abilities to their verbal number skills. In total, 141 children aged between five and six years participated in the present study. Verbal number skills were regressed on vocabulary, phonological awareness and visuo-spatial abilities, as well as verbal and visuo-spatial working memory in a structural equation model. Only visuo-spatial abilities emerged as a significant predictor of verbal number skills in the estimated model. Our results suggest that visuo-spatial abilities contribute to a larger extent to children’s verbal number skills than verbal abilities. From a theoretical point of view, these results suggest a visuo-spatial, rather than a verbal, grounding of verbal number skills. These results are potentially informative for the conception of early mathematics assessments and interventions. [less ▲]

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See detailGeneral and Specific Contributions of RAN to Reading and Arithmetic Fluency in First Graders: A Longitudinal Latent Variable Approach
Hornung, Caroline UL; Martin, Romain UL; Fayol, Michel UL

in Frontiers in Psychology (2017)

In the present study, we opted for a longitudinal design and examined rapid automatized naming (RAN) performance from two perspectives. In a first step, we examined the structure of RAN performance from a ... [more ▼]

In the present study, we opted for a longitudinal design and examined rapid automatized naming (RAN) performance from two perspectives. In a first step, we examined the structure of RAN performance from a general cognitive perspective. We investigated whether rapid naming measures (e.g., digit RAN and color RAN) reflect a mainly domain-general factor or domain-specific factors. In a second step, we examined how the best fitting RAN model was related to reading and arithmetic outcomes, assessed several months later. Finally in a third step we took a clinical perspective and investigated specific contributions of RAN measures to reading and arithmetic outcomes. While RAN has emerged as a promising predictor of reading, the relationship between RAN and arithmetic has been less examined in the past. Hundred and twenty-two first graders completed seven RAN tasks, each comprising visually familiar stimuli such as digits, vowels, consonants, dice, finger-numeral configurations, objects, and colors. Four months later the same children completed a range of reading and arithmetic tasks. From a general descriptive perspective, structural equation modeling supports a one-dimensional RAN factor in 6- to -7-year-old children. However, from a clinical perspective, our findings emphasize the specific contributions of RANs. Interestingly, alphanumeric RANs (i.e., vowel RAN) were most promising when predicting reading skills and number-specific RANs (i.e., finger-numeral configuration RAN) were most promising when predicting arithmetic fluency. The implications for clinical and educational practices will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe relevance of verbal and visuo-spatial abilities for verbal number skills – what matters in 5 to 6 year olds?
Cornu, Véronique UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Martin, Romain UL et al

Poster (2017, September)

The acquisition of verbal number skills, as defined by the meaningful use of number words, marks a milestone in numerical development. In the present study, we were particularly interested in the question ... [more ▼]

The acquisition of verbal number skills, as defined by the meaningful use of number words, marks a milestone in numerical development. In the present study, we were particularly interested in the question, whether verbal number skills are primarily verbal in nature, or if they call upon visuo-spatial processes, reflecting a spatial grounding of verbal number skills. 141 five- to six-year old children were tested on a range of verbal (i.e. vocabulary, phonological awareness and verbal working memory) and visuo-spatial abilities (i.e. spatial perception, visuo-motor integration and visuo-spatial working memory). We were particularly interested in the predictive role of these abilities for children’s verbal number skills (as measured by different counting and number naming tasks). In a latent regression model, basic visuo-spatial abilities, measured by spatial perception and visuo-motor integration, emerge as the most important predictor of verbal number skills. This gives raise to the assumption, that verbal number skills are, despite their verbal nature, spatially grounded in young children. [less ▲]

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See detailThe power of vowels: Contributions of vowel, consonant and digit RAN to clinical approaches in reading development
Hornung, Caroline UL; Martin, Romain UL; Fayol, Michel UL

in Learning and Individual Differences (2017), 57

The main purpose of this study was to examine the specific contributions of rapid automatized naming (RAN) measures with different visually presented stimuli (e.g., vowels, consonants, digits) to reading ... [more ▼]

The main purpose of this study was to examine the specific contributions of rapid automatized naming (RAN) measures with different visually presented stimuli (e.g., vowels, consonants, digits) to reading outcomes in first and second grade. Previous studies have shown that RAN is an independent and robust predictor for reading skills in children. Less research investigated the incremental contributions of distinct RAN measures to reading skills in beginning readers. Ninety-three children from kindergarten and first grade completed four different RAN measures involving color, digit, vowel, and consonant naming at the end of the school year. Six months later these children were either in first or in second grade and completed several reading measures. The results emphasize that vowel RAN was a strong and unique predictor for reading accuracy in first grade. Vowel RAN and digit RAN were both significant predictors for reading speed in second grade. The current findings underline that vowel RAN is a promising predictor for reading outcomes (i.e., accuracy and speed) at the beginning of elementary school. RAN performance did however not significantly predict second grade reading comprehension. Results and practical implications will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailProject NUMTEST: Assessing basic number competence without language
Greisen, Max UL; Hornung, Caroline UL; Martin, Romain UL et al

Poster (2017, May 31)

While numerical skills are fundamental in modern societies, some estimated 5-7% of children suffer from a mathematical learning disorder, called developmental dyscalculia (DD). Nevertheless, universally ... [more ▼]

While numerical skills are fundamental in modern societies, some estimated 5-7% of children suffer from a mathematical learning disorder, called developmental dyscalculia (DD). Nevertheless, universally valid diagnostic instruments are still lacking, as all current DD test batteries are based on language instructions. Consequently, their measurements are tightly linked to the specific language context of test administration and thus their results cannot easily be compared across countries. Here we are showing results of the first pilot study of a research project that aims to develop a test for basic math abilities that does not rely on language instruction and minimizes language use. To this aim, video and animation based instructions were implemented on touchscreen devices. A first version of the tasks has been tested with two samples of first grade children in Luxembourg’s fundamental schools, of which half completed the same tasks with traditional verbal instructions. Our results indicate that performance in the experimental group was similar or better than the control group using verbal instructions. Relationships between linguistic background and the sample’s performance on one hand and qualitative usability aspects of nonverbal task instruction and tablet-pc use with young children will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailVisuo-spatial abilities are key for children’s verbal number skills
Cornu, Véronique UL; Martin, Romain UL; Hornung, Caroline UL

Poster (2017, February 22)

Verbal number skills (i.e. counting and number naming) are milestones in numerical development. The aim of the present study was to clarify the role of different verbal abilities (VA) and visuo-spatial ... [more ▼]

Verbal number skills (i.e. counting and number naming) are milestones in numerical development. The aim of the present study was to clarify the role of different verbal abilities (VA) and visuo-spatial abilities (VSA) in the development of these verbal number skills in kindergarten. We recruited 152 children (mean age: 5.8 years) and administered different measures of VA (e.g. phonological awareness, pseudoword recall) and of VSA (e.g. spatial perception, copying) to assess their contribution to verbal number skills. Firstly, we computed two independent regression models, a “VA only” model explaining 23% of variance, and a “VSA only” model explaining 38% of variance. Adding verbal measures to the “VSA only” model does not lead to a significant increase in R2. Our results show that VSA, rather than VA, contribute to a larger extent to children’s verbal number skills. Intriguingly, the development of verbal number skills builds on VA, but more importantly on VSA. These results are potentially informative for the conception early mathematics interventions. [less ▲]

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See detailProject NUMTEST; Assessing basic number competence without language
Greisen, Max UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Hornung, Caroline UL et al

Poster (2017, February 20)

While numerical skills are fundamental in modern societies, some estimated 5-7% of children suffer from a mathematical learning disorder, called developmental dyscalculia (DD). Nevertheless, universally ... [more ▼]

While numerical skills are fundamental in modern societies, some estimated 5-7% of children suffer from a mathematical learning disorder, called developmental dyscalculia (DD). Nevertheless, universally valid diagnostic instruments are still lacking, as all current DD test batteries are based on language instructions. Consequently their measurements are tightly linked to the specific language context of test administration and thus their results cannot easily be compared across countries. The present study is the first pilot study of a research project that aims to develop a test for basic math abilities that does not rely on language instruction and minimizes language use. To this aim, video and animation based instructions were implemented on touchscreen devices. A first version of the application has been tested with a sample of first grade children in Luxembourg’s fundamental schools, of which half used the same application but with traditional German instructions. First results indicate that performance in the experimental group was similar to the control group using verbal instructions. Relationships between linguistic background and the sample’s performance on one hand and qualitative usability aspects of nonverbal task instruction and tablet use with young children will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailLEARN Newsletter - Éditioun 2017: Multilinguisme
Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Hornung, Caroline UL; Martin, Romain UL et al

Book published by LEARN (2017)

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See detailLEARN Newsletter - Editioun 2017: Méisproochegkeet
Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Hornung, Caroline UL; Martin, Romain UL et al

Book published by LEARN (2017)

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See detailHow Do Different Aspects of Spatial Skills Relate to Early Arithmetic and Number Line Estimation?
Cornu, Véronique UL; Hornung, Caroline UL; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in Journal of Numerical Cognition (2017), 3(2),

The present study investigated the predictive role of spatial skills for arithmetic and number line estimation in kindergarten children (N = 125). Spatial skills are known to be related to mathematical ... [more ▼]

The present study investigated the predictive role of spatial skills for arithmetic and number line estimation in kindergarten children (N = 125). Spatial skills are known to be related to mathematical development, but due to the construct’s non-unitary nature, different aspects of spatial skills need to be differentiated. In the present study, a spatial orientation task, a spatial visualization task and visuo-motor integration task were administered to assess three different aspects of spatial skills. Furthermore, we assessed counting abilities, knowledge of Arabic numerals, quantitative knowledge, as well as verbal working memory and verbal intelligence in kindergarten. Four months later, the same children performed an arithmetic and a number line estimation task to evaluate how the abilities measured at time 1 predicted early mathematics outcomes. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that children’s performance in arithmetic was predicted by their performance in the spatial orientation and visuo-motor integration task, as well as their knowledge of the Arabic numerals. Performance in number line estimation was significantly predicted by the children’s spatial orientation performance. Our findings emphasize the role of spatial skills, notably spatial orientation, in mathematical development. The relation between spatial orientation and arithmetic was partially mediated by the number line estimation task. Our results further show that some aspects of spatial skills might be more predictive of mathematical development than others, underlining the importance to differentiate within the construct of spatial skills when it comes to understanding numerical development. [less ▲]

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See detailDifferent aspects of spatial skills and their relation to early mathematics
Cornu, Véronique UL; Hornung, Caroline UL; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

Poster (2016, September 29)

We aimed at investigating the predictive role of spatial skills for arithmetic and number line estimation in kindergarten children (N = 125). Several studies highlighted the relation between spatial ... [more ▼]

We aimed at investigating the predictive role of spatial skills for arithmetic and number line estimation in kindergarten children (N = 125). Several studies highlighted the relation between spatial skills and mathematics. However, due to their non-unitary nature, different aspects of spatial skills need to be differentiated to clarify the relative importance of different aspects of spatial skills for mathematics. In the present study, at time 1, a spatial perception task, a spatial visualization task and visuo-motor integration task were administered to assess different aspects of spatial skills. Furthermore we assessed domain-specific skills and verbal domain-general skills. Four months later, the same children performed an arithmetic task and a number line estimation task to evaluate how the abilities measured at time 1 predict early mathematics. Hierarchical regression modelling revealed that children’s performance on the spatial perception task was predictive of their performance in both arithmetic and number line estimation, whereas visuo-motor integration and knowledge of the Arabic numerals significantly predicted arithmetic. The predictive relation between spatial perception and arithmetic was partially mediated by the number line estimation task. Our findings emphasize the role of spatial skills, notably spatial perception, in mathematical development. These results reveal the importance to differentiate within the construct of spatial skills when studying their role in numerical development. The development and implementation of pre-school interventions fostering children’s spatial perception and visuo-motor integration might thus be a promising approach for providing children with a sound foundation for later mathematical learning. [less ▲]

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See detailDéveloppement d’un instrument de dépistage des précurseurs cognitifs pour l’apprentissage scolaire dans un contexte multilingue
Cornu, Véronique UL; Hornung, Caroline UL

Poster (2016, June)

Nombreuses études ont pu constater que les aptitudes et les apprentissages précoces influencent les apprentissages académiques ultérieurs. La valeur prédictive de différentes fonctions cognitives à l’âge ... [more ▼]

Nombreuses études ont pu constater que les aptitudes et les apprentissages précoces influencent les apprentissages académiques ultérieurs. La valeur prédictive de différentes fonctions cognitives à l’âge préscolaire est un sujet toujours vivement discuté. L'apprentissage des mathématiques, de la lecture et de l'écrit sont soutenues par des fonctions cognitives telles que les capacités pré-numériques, le langage, les fonctions visuo-spatiales, les fonctions exécutives dont la mémoire de travail, la vitesse de traitement et la raisonnement logique. Néanmoins, seulement peu de données scientifiques sont actuellement disponibles sur l’apport de ces différentes fonctions cognitives aux apprentissages scolaires dans un contexte multilingue comme celui du Luxembourg. Au Luxembourg environ 35 % des élèves scolarisés à l'école maternelle parlent Luxembourgeois à la maison. La plupart des enfants parlent d'autres langues voire plusieurs langues au sein de leur famille. A l'école maternelle les enfants apprennent le Luxembourgeois pendant 2-3 ans. Ensuite en 1ère année de l'enseignement fondamental primaire public, tous les enfants sont alphabétisés en Allemand. Et ce n'est qu'un an plus tard que le Français s'ajoute aux apprentissages scolaires. L'apprentissage des langues est un projet ambitieux au Luxembourg et les résultats nationaux ont montré que 42 % des élèves en 3e année primaire (CE2) n'ont malheureusement pas obtenu le niveau minimal à atteindre visé par le plan d'étude en 2013 (Hornung, Hoffmann, Lorphelin, Gamo, Ugen, Fischbach, & Martin, 2015). Le but est de développer un instrument qui s'adapte au contexte scolaire multilingue et qui permet de mesurer ces précurseurs cognitifs d’une manière valide. Ce projet vise à mieux comprendre comment différentes capacités cognitives précoces influencent les différents apprentissages scolaires dans un contexte scolaire multilingue chez l’enfant de 4 à 7 ans et les résultats de ce projet pourront servir comme base pour pouvoir développer des outils d’intervention visant à stimuler le développement de ces précurseurs dans un contexte multilingue. La présente batterie de tests inclut plusieurs épreuves brèves individuelles pour évaluer les performances numériques et visuo-spatiales, la capacité d'inhibition verbale et d'inhibition motrice, l'empan de la mémoire de travail verbale et visuo-spatiale, la flexibilité verbale, la vitesse de traitement, la conscience phonologique, la discrimination visuelle et le vocabulaire expressif chez l’enfant de 4 à 7 ans. Ces petites épreuves visent à évaluer ces différents précurseurs cognitifs de l’apprentissage scolaire et elles ont été développées et adaptées spécifiquement pour le contexte préscolaire suite à un pilotage avec la population cible. Dans une première phase, les relations entre ces différentes épreuves seront étudiées pour pouvoir concrétiser notre compréhension sur l’interrelation de ces différents précurseurs cognitifs. Afin de pouvoir évaluer la valeur prédictive de ces différentes fonctions cognitives, une approche longitudinale est visée. Nous avons prévu de mettre en relation les résultats obtenus au préscolaire (Phase I) avec les résultats de ces mêmes enfants obtenus lors des «épreuves standardisées» du monitoring scolaire au Luxembourg, réalisées en première année de l’école primaire (CP en France) (Phase II). [less ▲]

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See detailAllgemeine Befunde zum luxemburgischen Schulwesen
Hornung, Caroline UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Lorphelin, Dalia UL et al

in Martin, Romain; Ugen, Sonja; Fischbach, Antoine (Eds.) Épreuves Standardisées: Bildungsmonitoring für Luxemburg. Nationaler Bericht 2011 bis 2013 (2015)

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See detailKompetenzunterschiede aufgrund des Schülerhintergrundes
Muller, Claire UL; Reichert, Monique UL; Gamo, Sylvie UL et al

in Martin, Romain; Ugen, Sonja; Fischbach, Antoine (Eds.) Épreuves Standardisées: Bildungsmonitoring für Luxemburg. Nationaler Bericht 2011 bis 2013 (2015)

Kapitel 3 befasst sich mit dem Einfluss von Merkmalen des Schülerhintergrundes auf die in den ÉpStan gemessenen Kompetenzen. Diskrepanzen in den erfassten Kompetenzbereichen werden dabei im Hinblick auf ... [more ▼]

Kapitel 3 befasst sich mit dem Einfluss von Merkmalen des Schülerhintergrundes auf die in den ÉpStan gemessenen Kompetenzen. Diskrepanzen in den erfassten Kompetenzbereichen werden dabei im Hinblick auf folgende vier Hintergrundvariablen untersucht: sozioökonomischer Status, Migrationshintergrund, Sprachhintergrund, sowie das Geschlecht der Schülerinnen und Schüler. Bestehende Unterschiede werden vergleichend für die Jahre 2011, 2012 und 2013 aufgeführt (Zyklus 3.1 und Ve/9e). Das einflussreichste Merkmal ist dabei der sozioökonomische Status, gefolgt von der zuhause gesprochenen Sprache. Der Migrationshintergrund wirkt sich in geringerem Maße bis gar nicht auf die Kompetenzen aus. Der Einfluss des Geschlechtes zeigt sich konform mit einer großen Anzahl von Befunden aus der Forschung: Mädchen erzielen im Durchschnitt bessere Ergebnisse in den Sprachen, während Jungen in Mathematik besser abschneiden. [less ▲]

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See detailDifférence de genre en mathématiques chez les élèves de 3ème et 9ème année d’étude : Etude à grande échelle au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
Gamo, Sylvie UL; Sonnleitner, Philipp UL; Hornung, Caroline UL et al

Poster (2014, June)

ÉpStan (Épreuves Standardisées) est une étude annuelle à grande échelle réalisée à Luxembourg depuis 2009. Les ÉpStan ont pour objectif d’évaluer le système éducatif luxembourgeois, en particulier le ... [more ▼]

ÉpStan (Épreuves Standardisées) est une étude annuelle à grande échelle réalisée à Luxembourg depuis 2009. Les ÉpStan ont pour objectif d’évaluer le système éducatif luxembourgeois, en particulier le niveau de compétences atteint en mathématiques des élèves de 3ème et de 9ème année d’étude (âgés en moyenne de 8 ans vs. 14 ans). A partir des résultats mathématiques ÉpStan 2013 du primaire et du secondaire, cette recherche vise d’une part, à examiner si l’écart de performance mathématique entre les sexes constaté par PISA 2012 chez les élèves de 15 ans luxembourgeois est confirmé chez les élèves de 14 ans et chez les élèves plus jeunes (8 ans), (Robinson, & Theule Lubienski, 2011) et d’autre part, à tester si les écarts de performance entre les sexes reflètent des différences de motivation et de confiance en soi et d’anxiété. [less ▲]

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See detailPredicting first-grade mathematics achievement: the contributions of domain-general cognitive abilities, nonverbal number sense, and early number competence
Hornung, Caroline UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Brunner, Martin UL et al

in Frontiers in Psychology [=FPSYG] (2014), 5

Early number competence, grounded in number-specific and domain-general abilities, is supposed to lay the foundation for later math achievement. Few longitudinal studies tested a comprehensive model for ... [more ▼]

Early number competence, grounded in number-specific and domain-general abilities, is supposed to lay the foundation for later math achievement. Few longitudinal studies tested a comprehensive model for early math development. Using structural equation modeling and mediation analyses, we studied the influence of kindergarteners’ basic cognitive abilities (i.e., nonverbal number sense, working memory, fluid intelligence, and receptive vocabulary) and their early number competence (i.e., symbolic number skills) on first grade math achievement (arithmetic, shape and space, and number line estimation) assessed one year later. Latent regression models revealed that nonverbal number sense and working memory are central building blocks for developing early number competence in kindergarten and that early number competence is key for first grade math achievement. Fluid intelligence significantly predicted arithmetic and number line estimation while receptive vocabulary significantly predicted shape and space after controlling for early number competence. In sum we suggest that early math achievement draws on different constellations of number-specific and domain-general mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing Mathematical Competencies within the Luxembourgish School Monitoring Program: Covering the range from 1st to 9th grade.
Sonnleitner, Philipp UL; Gamo, Sylvie UL; Hornung, Caroline UL et al

Scientific Conference (2014, April)

As a direct reaction to alarmingly poor student performance in PISA, like many other European countries Luxembourg started to establish a very ambitious school monitoring program: the Épreuves ... [more ▼]

As a direct reaction to alarmingly poor student performance in PISA, like many other European countries Luxembourg started to establish a very ambitious school monitoring program: the Épreuves Standardisées (ÉpStan). One of the core competencies that are measured is, of course, mathematical achievement. Beginning with grade 1 and continued in grade 3 and grade 9, students’ proficiency in several mathematical sub-competencies is assessed. Students have to demonstrate their mathematical problem solving skills in theoretical as well as applied contexts. This design not only allows for tracking individual students’ development of mathematical abilities but also allows for a better understanding of factors that influence this process ̶ a rich and valuable source for the determination of risk factors and the implementation of individual support programs. However, due to the early beginning of this comprehensive program and the heterogeneity of Luxembourg’s students in terms of cultural background and spoken language, several challenges arise, especially for test development. We will present and discuss the theoretical framework of mathematical competencies that is assessed within the ÉpStan and we will show how we are currently using possibilities of computer-based assessment and test design in order to respond to these challenges. [less ▲]

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