TY - JOUR

T1 - State and Trait Effects on Individual Differences in Children’s Mathematical Development

AU - Bailey, Drew H.

AU - Watts, Tyler W.

AU - Littlefield, Andrew K.

AU - Geary, David C.

N1 - Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; Grants R01 HD38283 and R37 HD045914), the NICHD-supported Irvine Network on Interventions in Development (Grant HD065704 P01), and the University of Michigan’s National Science Foundation–supported Center for the Analysis of Pathways From Childhood to Adulthood (Grant 0322356).
Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014.

PY - 2014/11/20

Y1 - 2014/11/20

N2 - Substantial longitudinal relations between children’s early mathematics achievement and their much later mathematics achievement are firmly established. These findings are seemingly at odds with studies showing that early educational interventions have diminishing effects on children’s mathematics achievement across time. We hypothesized that individual differences in children’s later mathematical knowledge are more an indicator of stable, underlying characteristics related to mathematics learning throughout development than of direct effects of early mathematical competency on later mathematical competency. We tested this hypothesis in two longitudinal data sets, by simultaneously modeling effects of latent traits (stable characteristics that influence learning across time) and states (e.g., prior knowledge) on children’s mathematics achievement over time. Latent trait effects on children’s mathematical development were substantially larger than state effects. Approximately 60% of the variance in trait mathematics achievement was accounted for by commonly used control variables, such as working memory, but residual trait effects remained larger than state effects. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

AB - Substantial longitudinal relations between children’s early mathematics achievement and their much later mathematics achievement are firmly established. These findings are seemingly at odds with studies showing that early educational interventions have diminishing effects on children’s mathematics achievement across time. We hypothesized that individual differences in children’s later mathematical knowledge are more an indicator of stable, underlying characteristics related to mathematics learning throughout development than of direct effects of early mathematical competency on later mathematical competency. We tested this hypothesis in two longitudinal data sets, by simultaneously modeling effects of latent traits (stable characteristics that influence learning across time) and states (e.g., prior knowledge) on children’s mathematics achievement over time. Latent trait effects on children’s mathematical development were substantially larger than state effects. Approximately 60% of the variance in trait mathematics achievement was accounted for by commonly used control variables, such as working memory, but residual trait effects remained larger than state effects. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

KW - cognitive development

KW - education

KW - intelligence

KW - mathematics achievement

KW - state-trait models

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84910595266&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0956797614547539

DO - 10.1177/0956797614547539

M3 - Article

C2 - 25231900

AN - SCOPUS:84910595266

SN - 0956-7976

VL - 25

SP - 2017

EP - 2026

JO - Psychological Science

JF - Psychological Science

IS - 11

ER -