Are Patterns Important?

An Investigation of the Relationships Between Proficiencies in Patterns, Computation, Executive Functioning, and Algebraic Word Problems

Kerry Lee, Swee Fong Ng, Rebecca Bull, Madeline Lee Pe, Ringo Ho Moon Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although mathematical pattern tasks are often found in elementary school curricula and are deemed a building block for algebra, a recent report (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008) suggests the resources devoted to its teaching and assessment need to be rebalanced. We examined whether children's developing proficiency in solving algebraic word problems is related to their proficiencies in patterns, computational, and working memory tasks. Children (N = 151 10-year-olds) were tested twice, 1 year apart, and were administered tests of updating capacities (2 complex span and 1 running span task), computation (from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test), patterns (function machine, number patterns), and algebraic word problems. Proficiencies on the patterns and computational tasks predicted algebraic proficiency. Proficiencies on the computational and patterns tasks are, in turn, predicted by updating capacity. These findings suggest that algebraic reasoning may be difficult if the child has poor updating capacity and either poor facility with computation or difficulty in recognizing and generalizing rules about patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume103
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

Keywords

  • working memory
  • cognitive development
  • academic achievement
  • mathematics
  • working-memory
  • children
  • skills

Cite this

Are Patterns Important? An Investigation of the Relationships Between Proficiencies in Patterns, Computation, Executive Functioning, and Algebraic Word Problems. / Lee, Kerry; Ng, Swee Fong; Bull, Rebecca; Pe, Madeline Lee; Ho, Ringo Ho Moon.

In: Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 103, No. 2, 05.2011, p. 269-281.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lee, Kerry ; Ng, Swee Fong ; Bull, Rebecca ; Pe, Madeline Lee ; Ho, Ringo Ho Moon. / Are Patterns Important? An Investigation of the Relationships Between Proficiencies in Patterns, Computation, Executive Functioning, and Algebraic Word Problems. In: Journal of Educational Psychology. 2011 ; Vol. 103, No. 2. pp. 269-281.
@article{d957ea5a3a0c4d4eb988595a14e861f0,
title = "Are Patterns Important?: An Investigation of the Relationships Between Proficiencies in Patterns, Computation, Executive Functioning, and Algebraic Word Problems",
abstract = "Although mathematical pattern tasks are often found in elementary school curricula and are deemed a building block for algebra, a recent report (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008) suggests the resources devoted to its teaching and assessment need to be rebalanced. We examined whether children's developing proficiency in solving algebraic word problems is related to their proficiencies in patterns, computational, and working memory tasks. Children (N = 151 10-year-olds) were tested twice, 1 year apart, and were administered tests of updating capacities (2 complex span and 1 running span task), computation (from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test), patterns (function machine, number patterns), and algebraic word problems. Proficiencies on the patterns and computational tasks predicted algebraic proficiency. Proficiencies on the computational and patterns tasks are, in turn, predicted by updating capacity. These findings suggest that algebraic reasoning may be difficult if the child has poor updating capacity and either poor facility with computation or difficulty in recognizing and generalizing rules about patterns.",
keywords = "working memory, cognitive development, academic achievement, mathematics, working-memory, children , skills",
author = "Kerry Lee and Ng, {Swee Fong} and Rebecca Bull and Pe, {Madeline Lee} and Ho, {Ringo Ho Moon}",
year = "2011",
month = "5",
doi = "10.1037/a0023068",
language = "English",
volume = "103",
pages = "269--281",
journal = "Journal of Educational Psychology",
issn = "0022-0663",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Are Patterns Important?

T2 - An Investigation of the Relationships Between Proficiencies in Patterns, Computation, Executive Functioning, and Algebraic Word Problems

AU - Lee, Kerry

AU - Ng, Swee Fong

AU - Bull, Rebecca

AU - Pe, Madeline Lee

AU - Ho, Ringo Ho Moon

PY - 2011/5

Y1 - 2011/5

N2 - Although mathematical pattern tasks are often found in elementary school curricula and are deemed a building block for algebra, a recent report (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008) suggests the resources devoted to its teaching and assessment need to be rebalanced. We examined whether children's developing proficiency in solving algebraic word problems is related to their proficiencies in patterns, computational, and working memory tasks. Children (N = 151 10-year-olds) were tested twice, 1 year apart, and were administered tests of updating capacities (2 complex span and 1 running span task), computation (from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test), patterns (function machine, number patterns), and algebraic word problems. Proficiencies on the patterns and computational tasks predicted algebraic proficiency. Proficiencies on the computational and patterns tasks are, in turn, predicted by updating capacity. These findings suggest that algebraic reasoning may be difficult if the child has poor updating capacity and either poor facility with computation or difficulty in recognizing and generalizing rules about patterns.

AB - Although mathematical pattern tasks are often found in elementary school curricula and are deemed a building block for algebra, a recent report (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008) suggests the resources devoted to its teaching and assessment need to be rebalanced. We examined whether children's developing proficiency in solving algebraic word problems is related to their proficiencies in patterns, computational, and working memory tasks. Children (N = 151 10-year-olds) were tested twice, 1 year apart, and were administered tests of updating capacities (2 complex span and 1 running span task), computation (from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test), patterns (function machine, number patterns), and algebraic word problems. Proficiencies on the patterns and computational tasks predicted algebraic proficiency. Proficiencies on the computational and patterns tasks are, in turn, predicted by updating capacity. These findings suggest that algebraic reasoning may be difficult if the child has poor updating capacity and either poor facility with computation or difficulty in recognizing and generalizing rules about patterns.

KW - working memory

KW - cognitive development

KW - academic achievement

KW - mathematics

KW - working-memory

KW - children

KW - skills

U2 - 10.1037/a0023068

DO - 10.1037/a0023068

M3 - Article

VL - 103

SP - 269

EP - 281

JO - Journal of Educational Psychology

JF - Journal of Educational Psychology

SN - 0022-0663

IS - 2

ER -