Original Research

Core knowledge and working memory as prerequisites of early school arithmetic

Dominique Arndt
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 3, No 1 | a29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v3i1.29 | © 2013 Dominique Arndt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2014 | Published: 01 June 2013

About the author(s)

Dominique Arndt, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

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Recent studies showed that kindergarten children solve addition, subtraction, doubling and halving problems using the core system for the approximate representation of numerical magnitude. In Study 1, 34 first-grade students in their first week of schooling solved approximate arithmetic problems in a number range up to 100 regarding all four basic operations. Children solved these problems significantly above chance.
In Study 2, 66 first graders were tested for their approximate arithmetic achievement, working memory capacity, groupitizing, phonological awareness, naming speed and early arithmetic concepts at the beginning of first grade and again at the beginning of second grade. It appears that approximate arithmetic achievement is independent from most other cognitive variables and correlates most with other variables of the mathematical domain. Furthermore, regression analyses revealed that school success was only predicted by groupitizing and central executive capacity, but not approximate arithmetic achievement, when controlling for other cognitive variables.


core systems of number, early math education, working memory


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