Brown bag du 05/03/2018 Kinga Morsanyi, Queen's University, Belfast (UK)



The role of ordering abilities in early mathematics development and developmental dyscalculia

Recent evidence (Lyons & Beilock, 2011) has highlighted the important role that number ordering skills play in arithmetic abilities. It has also been shown that memory for both novel (Attout et al., 2014) and familiar (Morsanyi et al., 2017) non-numerical sequences is linked to arithmetic skills. Nevertheless, most studies that investigated the relationship between ordering and arithmetic skills were conducted with adults, and little is known about the role of ordering abilities in early mathematics development. This talk presents new findings that demonstrate the important role that ordering skills play in numeracy development at the start of formal education. Specifically, in a group of ninety children, ordering ability at the start of the first school year was the best predictor of maths abilities at the end of the second school year, when other relevant skills were also taken into account. In Study 2, 20 children with developmental dyscalculia (DD), and 20 children without mathematics difficulties participated (mean age=9 years 6 months). The results showed that the children with DD had order processing deficits (although they also showed deficits on some magnitude processing tasks). Moreover, based on their performance on two ordering tasks alone, 82.5% of the children could be correctly categorised as dyscalculic/non-dyscalculic. The novelty of these findings is that they highlight the important role that non-numerical ordering abilities play in early mathematics development in the case of both typically developing children and in children with DD. These results have implications for both the early diagnosis of maths learning difficulties, and the development of novel intervention methods.