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The development of symbolic and non-symbolic number line estimations: Three developmental accounts

By Koen Luwel, Delphine Sasanguie, Bert Reynvoet and Lieven Verschaffel


Three theoretical accounts have been put forward for explaining the development of children’s number line estimation patterns: the logarithmic-to-linear representational shift (e.g., Siegler& Opfer, 2003), the two-linear-to-linear transformation (e.g., Ebersbach et al. 2008) and the proportion judgment account (e.g., Barth & Paladino, 2011). Although several studies tried to determine which of these accounts explains the development of children’s estimation patterns best, the results they yielded are inconclusive. Moreover, none of them has ever compared the three accounts at once. The present study tried to resolve this issue by directly comparing these three accounts in a cross-sectional (Experiment 1) and a longitudinal design (Experiment 2). Furthermore, in both experiments we tested the extent to which children would exhibit a similar developmental pattern on symbolic and non-symbolic number lines. Results of both experiments revealed that, in case of symbolic estimations, the proportion judgment account increasingly fitted the data better over development compared to the other two accounts, suggesting that an increase in the use and variety of benchmark-based strategies might explain this development, rather than a change in the underlying mental number representations. On the other hand, the development of non-symbolic estimations could not be explained by a single developmental account, suggesting that the sources of change in non-symbolic number line estimation might be different from these in symbolic number line estimation.status: publishe

Topics: Experimental studies, Cognitive development, Developmental processes, Primary education
Year: 2015
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Provided by: Lirias
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