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What’s Past Is Prologue: Relations Between Early Mathematics Knowledge and High School Achievement

  • Author(s): Watts, TW
  • Duncan, GJ
  • Siegler, RS
  • Davis-Kean, PE
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2014 AERA. Although previous research has established the association between early-grade mathematics knowledge and later mathematics achievement, few studies have measured mathematical skills prior to school entry, and few have investigated the predictive power of early gains in mathematics ability. The current paper relates mathematical skills measured at 54 months to adolescent mathematics achievement using multisite longitudinal data. We find that preschool mathematics ability predicts mathematics achievement through age 15, even after accounting for early reading, cognitive skills, and family and child characteristics. Moreover, we find that growth in mathematical ability between age 54 months and first grade is an even stronger predictor of adolescent mathematics achievement. These results demonstrate the importance of prekindergarten mathematics knowledge and early math learning for later achievement.

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