Children’s performance in arithmetic word problems (AWPs) predicts their academic success and their future employment and earnings in adulthood. Understanding the nature and difficulties of interpreting and solving AWPs is important for theoretical, educational, and social reasons. We investigated the relation between primary school children’s performance in different types of AWPs and their basic cognitive abilities (reading comprehension, fluid intelligence, inhibition, and updating processes). The study involved 182 fourth- and fifth-graders. Participants were administered an AWP-solving task and other tasks assessing fluid intelligence, reading comprehension, inhibition, and updating. The AWP-solving task included comparison problems incorporating either the adverb more than or the adverb less than, which demand consistent or inconsistent operations of addition or subtraction. The results showed that consistent problems were easier than inconsistent problems. Efficiency in solving inconsistent problems is related to inhibition and updating. Moreover, our results seem to indicate that the consistency effect is related to updating processes’ efficiency. Path analyses showed that reading comprehension was the most important predictor of AWP-solving accuracy.

The role of working memory updating, inhibition, fluid intelligence, and reading comprehension in explaining differences between consistent and inconsistent arithmetic word-problem-solving performance

Passolunghi, Maria Chiara
;
Doz, Eleonora;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Children’s performance in arithmetic word problems (AWPs) predicts their academic success and their future employment and earnings in adulthood. Understanding the nature and difficulties of interpreting and solving AWPs is important for theoretical, educational, and social reasons. We investigated the relation between primary school children’s performance in different types of AWPs and their basic cognitive abilities (reading comprehension, fluid intelligence, inhibition, and updating processes). The study involved 182 fourth- and fifth-graders. Participants were administered an AWP-solving task and other tasks assessing fluid intelligence, reading comprehension, inhibition, and updating. The AWP-solving task included comparison problems incorporating either the adverb more than or the adverb less than, which demand consistent or inconsistent operations of addition or subtraction. The results showed that consistent problems were easier than inconsistent problems. Efficiency in solving inconsistent problems is related to inhibition and updating. Moreover, our results seem to indicate that the consistency effect is related to updating processes’ efficiency. Path analyses showed that reading comprehension was the most important predictor of AWP-solving accuracy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3026813
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