As I looked through the current research on early childhood education, I looked further into a study entitled, What Specific Preschool Math Skills Predict Later Math Achievement? (Nguyen, 2015). This caught my attention because it is a recent discussion in our district. What are the most critical areas to focus on in early mathematical discovery? I found this study very interesting and a great example of the positive effect research can have on children and families with the use of minimal risk research.
This study expanded on previous research that found math achievement levels at school entry are strong indicators of later academic success (Nguyen, 2015) and research that concluded children of low SES families have less mathematical knowledge than families of higher SES(Nguyen, 2015). The goal of this research was to determine specific mathematical competencies in low-income and minority families that predicted later mathematical academic achievement (Nguyen, 2015). The study concluded counting and cardinality are the strongest predictors of later success, then operations and algebraic thinking, and finally geometry skills. The study also concluded measurement and data skills were not predictors of later success by did not discount their importance (Nguyen, 2015).
This study can have a positive impact on children and families. Knowing what areas of early mathematics are predictors of latter success can help narrow standard and curriculum focus in early childhood, allowing professionals to teach more deeply. I feel this study will help schools narrow down early mathematic focus and better support all children and especially low SES and minority children.
More studies and data should continue to be compiled on this topic to qualify the data further and expand the research to a national level. The next important step is to determine how best to teach these critical areas of mathematical development in a developmentally appropriate way to young children.
Nguyen, T., Watts, T.W., Duncan, G. J., Clements, D. H., Sarama, J., Wolfe, C. B., Spitler, E. (2015). What Specific Preschool Math Skills Predict Later Math Achievement?. Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness.