Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement

Achievement in mathematics is predicted by an individual’s domain-specific factual knowledge, procedural skill and conceptual understanding as well as domain-general executive function skills. In this study we investigated the extent to which executive function skills contribute to these three compo...

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Main Authors: Lucy Cragg, Sarah Keeble, Sophie Richardson, Hannah E. Roome, Camilla Gilmore
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Published: 2017
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Online Access:https://hdl.handle.net/2134/23963
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spelling rr-article-93705592017-01-01T00:00:00Z Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement Lucy Cragg (587404) Sarah Keeble (4675438) Sophie Richardson (4675435) Hannah E. Roome (7158116) Camilla Gilmore (1256451) Mathematical cognition Executive function Working memory Factual knowledge Conceptual understanding Procedural skill Achievement in mathematics is predicted by an individual’s domain-specific factual knowledge, procedural skill and conceptual understanding as well as domain-general executive function skills. In this study we investigated the extent to which executive function skills contribute to these three components of mathematical knowledge, whether this mediates the relationship between executive functions and overall mathematics achievement, and if these relationships change with age. Two hundred and ninety three participants aged between 8 and 25 years completed a large battery of mathematics and executive function tests. Domain-specific skills partially mediated the relationship between executive functions and mathematics achievement: Inhibitory control within the numerical domain was associated with factual knowledge and procedural skill, which in turn was associated with mathematical achievement. Working memory contributed to mathematics achievement indirectly through factual knowledge, procedural skill and, to a lesser extent, conceptual understanding. There remained a substantial direct pathway between working memory and mathematics achievement however, which may reflect the role of working memory in identifying and constructing problem representations. These relationships were remarkably stable from 8 years through to young adulthood. Our findings help to refine existing multi-component frameworks of mathematics and understand the mechanisms by which executive functions support mathematics achievement. 2017-01-01T00:00:00Z Text Journal contribution 2134/23963 https://figshare.com/articles/journal_contribution/Direct_and_indirect_influences_of_executive_functions_on_mathematics_achievement/9370559 CC BY 4.0
institution Loughborough University
collection Figshare
topic Mathematical cognition
Executive function
Working memory
Factual knowledge
Conceptual understanding
Procedural skill
spellingShingle Mathematical cognition
Executive function
Working memory
Factual knowledge
Conceptual understanding
Procedural skill
Lucy Cragg
Sarah Keeble
Sophie Richardson
Hannah E. Roome
Camilla Gilmore
Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement
description Achievement in mathematics is predicted by an individual’s domain-specific factual knowledge, procedural skill and conceptual understanding as well as domain-general executive function skills. In this study we investigated the extent to which executive function skills contribute to these three components of mathematical knowledge, whether this mediates the relationship between executive functions and overall mathematics achievement, and if these relationships change with age. Two hundred and ninety three participants aged between 8 and 25 years completed a large battery of mathematics and executive function tests. Domain-specific skills partially mediated the relationship between executive functions and mathematics achievement: Inhibitory control within the numerical domain was associated with factual knowledge and procedural skill, which in turn was associated with mathematical achievement. Working memory contributed to mathematics achievement indirectly through factual knowledge, procedural skill and, to a lesser extent, conceptual understanding. There remained a substantial direct pathway between working memory and mathematics achievement however, which may reflect the role of working memory in identifying and constructing problem representations. These relationships were remarkably stable from 8 years through to young adulthood. Our findings help to refine existing multi-component frameworks of mathematics and understand the mechanisms by which executive functions support mathematics achievement.
format Default
Article
author Lucy Cragg
Sarah Keeble
Sophie Richardson
Hannah E. Roome
Camilla Gilmore
author_facet Lucy Cragg
Sarah Keeble
Sophie Richardson
Hannah E. Roome
Camilla Gilmore
author_sort Lucy Cragg (587404)
title Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement
title_short Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement
title_full Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement
title_fullStr Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement
title_full_unstemmed Direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement
title_sort direct and indirect influences of executive functions on mathematics achievement
publishDate 2017
url https://hdl.handle.net/2134/23963
_version_ 1802085585729355776