Cognitive Level of Development and Mathematical Fluency of First Grade Children
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This study was designed to investigate the cognitive level of development and mathematical fluency of first grade children. A total of (N=100) 6- and 7-year-olds from two low socioeconomic level elementary schools participated in this study. Piaget’s conservation-of-liquid task was administered to children to determine their cognitive level of development. The fixed factor was the between-subjects variable group, which included (n=50) conserving and (n=50) nonconserving children in the first grade. The research hypotheses were addressed by using a MANOVA with the two dependent variables addition fluency and subtraction fluency. A counterbalanced method was employed to administer two separate single-skill math fact probes for two minutes to measure addition and subtraction fluency. The results indicated a highly significant effect on addition fluency and subtraction fluency (both p’s < .001) as a factor of conservation ability with neither addition nor subtraction having a substantial advantage over the other. The covariate of age had a separate effect on mathematical fluency above and beyond cognitive level of development. The covariates race and gender had no effect on fluency. As indicated in this study, cognitive level of development was not a grade-level-based designation; levels of cognitive development were characterized by different abilities in mathematical fluency.