Here's some interesting news on the research front that has tremendous implications for teachers of young children.
Psychologists at the University of Missouri monitoring a group of 177 elementary students from 12 different elementary schools since kindergarten have identified the math skills students should have in the first grade to have success by the fifth grade. After factoring out intelligence, working memory and other abilities, researchers were able to determine the most critical beginning-of-school math skills.Researchers found that beginning first-graders that understand numbers, the quantities those numbers represent, and low-level arithmetic will have better success in learning mathematics through the end of fifth-grade. They also found that first-graders who understood the number line, how to place numbers on the line, and those with some knowledge of basic facts showed faster growth in math skills than their peers during the next five years.
The results of the study will be published later this year in the journal Developmental Psychology. Look for the paper entitled “Cognitive Predictors of Achievement Growth in Mathematics: A Five Year Longitudinal Study.”