This study examined how four domain-specific skills (arithmetic procedural skills, number fact retrieval, place value concept, and number sense) and two domain-general processing skills (working memory and processing speed) may account for Chinese children's mathematics learning difficulties. Children with mathematics difficulties (MD) of two age groups (7-8 and 9-11. years) were compared with age-matched typically achieving children. For both age groups, children with MD performed significantly worse than their age-matched controls on all of the domain-specific and domain-general measures. Further analyses revealed that the MD children with literacy difficulties (MD/RD group) performed the worst on all of the measures, whereas the MD-only group was significantly outperformed by the controls on the four domain-specific measures and verbal working memory. Stepwise discriminant analyses showed that both number fact retrieval and place value concept were significant factors differentiating the MD and non-MD children. To conclude, deficits in domain-specific skills, especially those of number fact retrieval and place value understanding, characterize the profile of Chinese children with MD. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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