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10-04-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 7/2019

Psychological Research 7/2019

Spatial transformation abilities and their relation to later mathematics performance

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 7/2019
Auteur:
Andrea Frick
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Data of this project have been presented at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) biennial meeting, as well as at the ‘Space and Mathematics’ conference in Chicago in 2015. Some of the data of the first waves of this longitudinal project have been published in two prior publications focusing on the relation between perspective taking and executive functioning in kindergarten (2016; https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-016-0785-y), and between balance skills, spatial, and proportional reasoning (2016; https://​doi.​org/​10.​3389/​fpsyg.​2015.​02049).

Abstract

Using a longitudinal approach, this study investigated the relational structure of different spatial transformation skills at kindergarten age, and how these spatial skills relate to children’s later mathematics performance. Children were tested at three time points, in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade (N = 119). Exploratory factor analyses revealed two subcomponents of spatial transformation skills: one representing egocentric transformations (mental rotation and spatial scaling), and one representing allocentric transformations (e.g., cross-sectioning, perspective taking). Structural equation modeling suggested that egocentric transformation skills showed their strongest relation to the part of the mathematics test tapping arithmetic operations, whereas allocentric transformations were strongly related to Numeric-Logical and Spatial Functions as well as geometry. The present findings point to a tight connection between early mental transformation skills, particularly the ones requiring a high level of spatial flexibility and a strong sense for spatial magnitudes, and children’s mathematics performance at the beginning of their school career.

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