Reference : The spatial road to mathematics - from the relation between spatial skills and early ...
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Theoretical & cognitive psychology
The spatial road to mathematics - from the relation between spatial skills and early mathematics towards interventions
Cornu, Véronique mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET) >]
University of Luxembourg, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur en Psychologie
Martin, Romain mailto
Schiltz, Christine mailto
Hornung, Caroline mailto
Mejias, Sandrine
De Smedt, Bert
[en] Early mathematical abilities, developed prior the onset of formal instruction, have been identified as a strong predictor of later mathematical achievement and numeracy, which goes along, in turn, with a variety of different life outcomes. Hence, unravelling the cognitive abilities associated with successful mathematical development is an important effort in the field of numerical cognition and developmental psychology. Abilities that are identified as predictors of mathematical development are potentially vital key targets of early interventions. By fostering these key abilities, children’s mathematical development should be positively influenced.
The present thesis pursues two major aims. The first aim is to identify key predictors of mathematical development. More precisely, the present thesis studies whether spatial skills fall within the category of key predictors in young children. Findings illustrate that different aspects of spatial skills emerge as strong predictors of mathematics (study I). Findings further highlight, that spatial skills hold a pivotal role for mathematical skills with a prominent verbal component (study II).
The second aim is concerned with the elaboration and scientific investigation of the effects of early interventions. A distinguishing feature of the present thesis is, that it is set in the Luxembourgish school setting. The latter is characterized by its heterogeneous student population from diverse language backgrounds. According to current statistics, around two-third of the children who attend Luxembourgish fundamental school do not speak Luxembourgish as a first language at home. Hence, an important number of children are not fluent in the language of instruction in preschool. Therefore, a central concern was to develop and implement early interventions that face the challenges posed by a multilingual school setting. For this reason, the language-neutral early mathematics training tool “MaGrid” was developed. MaGrid sets out to overcome the language-barrier in early mathematics education. On the content side, it encompasses a vast amount of number-specific and spatial training tasks. In the context of the present thesis two intervention studies (study III and study IV), including this tool, were run and yielded promising results. Results of these studies further add to unravelling the relation between spatial skills and mathematics and answering the question, whether the (early) road to mathematics is spatial indeed.

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