Theses Doctoral

The Effect of the Math Application MathemAntics on Preschoolers’ Math Performance

Wu, Renqiuwen

The need to improve early mathematics education in the United States is very clear, given the importance of early mathematics learning and the consistently poor math performance of children from low-SES backgrounds. It is crucial to engage these disadvantaged children in meaningful math learning as early as possible. With the continuous infiltration of technology into our lives, the powerful affordances of tablet computers may enable the development of powerful math applications. Given the limited evidence of using well-designed math applications to enhance young children’s math learning, the primary goal of this dissertation was to examine the efficacy of a research-based math software application on low-income preschoolers’ number sense performance. Twenty-eight 4- to 5-year-old intervention participants completed MathemAntics (MA) training 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week for 4 weeks. The other 28 control participants stayed in their classroom and received general class instruction. All participants were given a pretest and a posttest to evaluate their number sense performance. Results indicated that the intervention group outperformed the control group on number sense assessment, and the intervention participants’ mean standardized Addition & Subtraction gain was the highest among the seven subtests, with the mean Standardized Compare Quantities gain being the lowest. Results also indicated that prior knowledge of identifying numerals predicted the overall post-assessment performance and the lack of knowledge on Addition & Subtraction predicted the standardized overall gain. The MA training analyses showed that the participants improved adequately on most of the MA activities during intervention. The use of MA tools was also discussed. The results provided direct evidence for demonstrating the efficacy of MA and added valuable information to the field of math software design. The results of this study also suggested that future studies can examine how the MA activities can be effectively integrated into the math curriculum and whether the MA activities are appropriate for home numeracy development.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Cognitive Studies in Education
Thesis Advisors
Ginsburg, Herbert P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 4, 2020