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

PI: Susanne Jaeggi

CO-PI: Geetha Ramani, University of Maryland at College Park

Funder: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Duration: 2016-2019


Among the most serious educational challenges facing the United States is the large discrepancy in mathematical achievement between children from different economic backgrounds. For example, in 2015, 42% of U.S. 8th graders from low-income backgrounds performed below the basic level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Mathematics, compared to 16% of students from mid- and high-income backgrounds. The gap in mathematical proficiency between children from different socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds is present before children enter elementary school, and it progressively widens over the course of schooling. Importantly, these early differences have long-term consequences: Early mathematical knowledge predicts the rate of growth in mathematics learning and achievement as late as high school. Thus, ensuring that children from low-income backgrounds acquire basic numerical knowledge prior to the start of formal schooling is critically important for reducing the achievement gap, which is the main purpose of the current project. Specifically, the project will test the benefits of training activities for improving the mathematical achievement of kindergartners from low-income backgrounds using newly-developed tablet computer games.