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Identifying the types of mathematics content knowledge that are most predictive of students' long-term learning is essential for improving both theories of mathematical development and mathematics education. To identify these types of knowledge, we examined long-term predictors of high school students' knowledge of algebra and overall mathematics achievement. Analyses of large, nationally representative, longitudinal data sets from the United States and the United Kingdom revealed that elementary school students' knowledge of fractions and of division uniquely predicts those students' knowledge of algebra and overall mathematics achievement in high school, 5 or 6 years later, even after statistically controlling for other types of mathematical knowledge, general intellectual ability, working memory, and family income and education. Implications of these findings for understanding and improving mathematics learning are discussed.


Robert S Siegler, Greg J Duncan, Pamela E Davis-Kean, Kathryn Duckworth, Amy Claessens, Mimi Engel, Maria Ines Susperreguy, Meichu Chen. Early predictors of high school mathematics achievement. Psychological science. 2012 Jul 1;23(7):691-7

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PMID: 22700332

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