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Logo of behbrainBioMed CentralBiomed Central Web Sitesearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBehavioral and Brain Functions : BBFJournal Front Page
 
Behav Brain Funct. 2012; 8: 1.
Published online 2012 January 4. doi:  10.1186/1744-9081-8-1
PMCID: PMC3344704

Representational change and strategy use in children's number line estimation during the first years of primary school

Abstract

Background

The objective of this study was to scrutinize number line estimation behaviors displayed by children in mathematics classrooms during the first three years of schooling. We extend existing research by not only mapping potential logarithmic-linear shifts but also provide a new perspective by studying in detail the estimation strategies of individual target digits within a number range familiar to children.

Methods

Typically developing children (n = 67) from Years 1-3 completed a number-to-position numerical estimation task (0-20 number line). Estimation behaviors were first analyzed via logarithmic and linear regression modeling. Subsequently, using an analysis of variance we compared the estimation accuracy of each digit, thus identifying target digits that were estimated with the assistance of arithmetic strategy.

Results

Our results further confirm a developmental logarithmic-linear shift when utilizing regression modeling; however, uniquely we have identified that children employ variable strategies when completing numerical estimation, with levels of strategy advancing with development.

Conclusion

In terms of the existing cognitive research, this strategy factor highlights the limitations of any regression modeling approach, or alternatively, it could underpin the developmental time course of the logarithmic-linear shift. Future studies need to systematically investigate this relationship and also consider the implications for educational practice.


Articles from Behavioral and Brain Functions : BBF are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central