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A longitudinal analysis of estimation accuracy, counting skills and mathematical ability across the first school year

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Kevin Muldoon
  • John Towse
  • Victoria Simms
  • Oliver Perra
  • Victoria Menzies

Associated organisational unit

Journal publication date02/2013
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


In response to claims that the quality (and in particular linearity) of children’s mental representation of number acts as a constraint on number development, we carried out a longitudinal assessment of the relationships between number line estimation, counting, and mathematical abilities. Ninety-nine five-year-olds were tested on four occasions at three-monthly intervals. Correlations between the three types of ability were evident, but while the quality of children’s estimations changed over time, and performance on the mathematical tasks improved over the same period, changes in one were not associated with changes in the other. In contrast to the earlier claims that the linearity of number representation is potentially a unique contributor to children’s mathematical development, the data suggest that this variable is not significantly privileged in its impact over and above simple procedural number skills. We propose that both early arithmetic success and estimating skill are bound closely to developments in counting ability.

Bibliographic note

This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record