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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of Mediators in the Development of Longitudinal Mathematics Achievement Associations

  • Author(s): Watts, TW
  • Duncan, GJ
  • Chen, M
  • Claessens, A
  • Davis-Kean, PE
  • Duckworth, K
  • Engel, M
  • Siegler, R
  • Susperreguy, MI
  • et al.

© 2015 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. Despite research demonstrating a strong association between early and later mathematics achievement, few studies have investigated mediators of this association. Using longitudinal data (n = 1,362), this study tested the extent to which mathematics self-concepts, school placement, executive functioning, and proficiency in fractions and division account for the association between mathematics achievement in first grade and at age 15. As hypothesized, a strong longitudinal association between first-grade and adolescent mathematics achievement was present (β = .36) even after controlling for a host of background characteristics, including cognitive skills and reading ability. The mediators accounted for 39% of this association, with mathematics self-concept, gifted and talented placement, and knowledge of fractions and division serving as significant mediators.

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