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Title Page What’s in a question? Parents’ question use in dyadic interactions and the relation to preschool-aged children’s math abilities

Duong, Shirley (2021) Title Page What’s in a question? Parents’ question use in dyadic interactions and the relation to preschool-aged children’s math abilities. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The cognitive complexity of adults’ questions, particularly during shared book reading, supports children’s developing language skills. Questions can be described as having low cognitive demand (e.g., labeling, matching) or high cognitive demand (e.g., comparing, predicting). Little is known about the relation between different types of parental questioning and children’s math abilities. The present study examines the quantity of low- and high-cognitive demand (CD) and domain-specific math questions that parents pose to their 4-year-old children in three structured activities, and how the frequency of those questions relates to children’s concurrent math and language skills. Parent-child dyads (n=121) were observed interacting with a picture book, grocery store toys, and a puzzle for about 5 minutes each and children completed math and spatial assessments. Although the frequency with which parents asked questions did not relate to children’s outcomes, parents’ use of high-CD questions was associated with children’s spatial skills, standardized math scores, and vocabulary skills after controlling for parental utterances, child utterances, child age, and family socioeconomic status. However, domain-specific math questions were not related to any child outcomes above and beyond parents’ total questions. This study suggests that domain-general questions that vary in cognitive demand (low and high) are differentially related to children’s math and language abilities, which can inform the ways parents engage in early learning opportunities with their children.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLibertus,
Committee MemberBachman,
Committee MemberFraundorf,
Date: 3 May 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 January 2021
Approval Date: 3 May 2021
Submission Date: 3 March 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 51
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: parent-child interactions, parent language, question complexity, preschoolers, early math abilities
Date Deposited: 03 May 2021 15:40
Last Modified: 03 May 2021 15:40


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