"Domain-Specific and Domain-General Training to Improve Kindergarten Children’s Mathematics"

Ramani, G.B., Jaeggi, S.M., Daubert, E., & Buschkuehl, M. (Accepted). Domain-specific and domain-general training to improve kindergarten children’s mathematics. Journal of Numerical Cognition.

Abstract

Ensuring that kindergarten children have a solid foundation in early numerical knowledge is of critical importance for later mathematical achievement. In this study, we targeted improving the numerical knowledge of kindergarteners (n = 81) from primarily low-income backgrounds using two approaches: one targeting their conceptual knowledge, specifically, their understanding of numerical magnitudes; and the other targeting their underlying cognitive system, specifically, their working memory. Both interventions involved playing game-like activities on tablet computers over the course of several sessions. As predicted, both interventions improved children’s numerical magnitude knowledge as compared to a no-contact control group, suggesting that both domain-specific and domain-general interventions facilitate mathematical learning. Individual differences in effort during the working memory game, but not the number knowledge training game predicted children’s improvements in number line estimation. The results demonstrate the potential of using a rapidly growing technology in early childhood classrooms to promote young children’s numerical knowledge.