The Relationship Between Accuracy of Numerical Magnitude Comparisons and Children’s Arithmetic Ability: A Study in Iranian Primary School Children

Hamdollah Manzari Tavakoli


The relationship between children’s accuracy during numerical magnitude comparisons and arithmetic ability has been investigated by many researchers. Contradictory results have been reported from these studies due to the use of many different tasks and indices to determine the accuracy of numerical magnitude comparisons. In the light of this inconsistency among measurement techniques, the present study aimed to investigate this relationship among Iranian second grade children (n = 113) using a pre-established test (known as the Numeracy Screener) to measure numerical magnitude comparison accuracy. The results revealed that both the symbolic and non-symbolic items of the Numeracy Screener significantly correlated with arithmetic ability. However, after controlling for the effect of working memory, processing speed, and long-term memory, only performance on symbolic items accounted for the unique variances in children’s arithmetic ability. Furthermore, while working memory uniquely contributed to arithmetic ability in one-and two-digit arithmetic problem solving, processing speed uniquely explained only the variance in single-digit arithmetic skills and long-term memory did not contribute to any significant additional variance for one-digit or two-digit arithmetic problem solving.


symbolic and non-symbolic numerical magnitude comparison; arithmetic ability; working memory; processing speed; long-term memory

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