What Kind of Math is Most Predictive of Students’ Long-term Learning?

By Huntington Learning Center

A research study published in Psychological Science, the journal of Association for Psychological Science, shares that certain math knowledge at a younger age is a good indicator of a student’s success in high school math.

Here’s a summary of the study’s findings (titled, “Early Predictors of High School Mathematics Achievement”):

  • Elementary school students’ knowledge of fractions and whole-number division predicts their mathematics achievement in high school more than their knowledge of:
    • Whole-number addition, subtraction and multiplication
    • Verbal and nonverbal IQ
    • Working memory
    • Family education
    • Family income
  • Poor knowledge of both division and fractions might lead students to give up trying to make sense of math and rely on rote memorization.
  • Fractions and division are more difficult than addition, subtraction and multiplication, so it makes sense that this knowledge is more predictive of later math understanding. These concepts, like algebra, require more advanced thinking.

Give Your Students a Foundational Understanding of Fractions and Division

If you’re an elementary school teacher, keep these things in mind. The more your students understand the concepts of fractions and whole-number division now, the more likely they will succeed in high school algebra and other math subjects. And if you have a student who is struggling now with these math concepts, refer their parents to Huntington. We’ll identify where the child is having trouble and design a customized program of instruction to help them make big strides and prepare for more advanced mathematics later on.

Since my son’s time at Huntington, math makes logical sense to him, and his grades are very good as a high school freshman. Thank you, Huntington, for preparing my son to be successful in math.”

– Maryann T., Parent 

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