The purpose of this study was to examine child-level pathways in development of prealgebraic knowledge versus word-problem solving, while evaluating the contribution of calculation accuracy and fluency as mediators of foundational skills/processes. Children (n = 962; mean 7.60 years) were assessed on general cognitive processes and early calculation, word-problem, and number knowledge at start of Grade 2; calculation accuracy and calculation fluency at end of Grade 2; and prealgebraic knowledge and word-problem solving at end of Grade 4. Important similarities in pathways were identified, but path analysis also indicated that language comprehension is more critical for later word-problem solving than prealgebraic knowledge. We conclude that pathways in development of these forms of 4th-grade mathematics performance are more alike than different, but demonstrate the need to fine-tune instruction for strands of the mathematics curriculum in ways that address individual students' foundational mathematics skills or cognitive processes
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