Performance on number line tasks, typically used as a measure of numerical representations, are reliably related to children’s mathematical achievement. However, recent debate has questioned what precisely performance on the number line estimation task measures. Specifically, there has been a suggestion that this task may not only measure numerical representations but also proportional judgement skills; if this is the case, then individual differences in visuo-spatial skills, not just the precision of numerical representations, may explain the relationship between number line estimation and mathematical achievement. The current study investigated the relationships among visuo-spatial skills, visuo-motor integration, number line estimation and mathematical achievement. Seventy-seven children were assessed using a number line estimation task, a standardised measure of mathematical achievement and tests of visuo-spatial skills and visuo-motor integration. The majority of measures were significantly correlated. Additionally, the relationship between one metric from the number line estimation task (R2LIN) and mathematical achievement was fully explained by visuo-motor integration and visuo-spatial skill competency. These results have important implications for understanding what the number line task measures as well as the choice of number line metric for research purposes.
Bibliographical notePublished Jan 2016
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