Journal article

What cognitive and numerical skills best define learning disabilities in mathematics?

Rodriguez C, Jimenez J ...see all

Estudios de Psicologia, vol. 37, issue 1 (2016)

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© 2016 Fundacion Infancia y Aprendizaje.Differentiating students with mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) from those with low achievement (LA) is still an unresolved issue. This study explored whether the specific combination of certain cognitive and numerical skills can classify students with MLD, with LA, and without MLD. In order to do this, an analysis was carried out of the performance of 756 Spanish students in grades two to six, on different numerical and cognitive tasks. Two factors were extracted using a principal component analysis of the tasks: a semantic-cognitive factor and a verbal-automation factor. The results obtained from comparing the groups showed that students with MLD and LA demonstrated significant differences in the semantic-cognitive factor, and that these differences were consistent across grade levels. In contrast, there were no differences between groups in the automatic-verbal factor. These results confirm that the groups are not only quantitatively different but also qualitatively different.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Learning disabilities
  • cognitiveprocesses
  • dyscalculia
  • low achievement in mathematics
  • number sense

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  • C. Rodriguez

  • J.E. Jimenez

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