Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Examining how children’s use of math elicitations supports their own math learning

McNeil, Kalina M (2023) Examining how children’s use of math elicitations supports their own math learning. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF
Restricted to University of Pittsburgh users only until 24 April 2025.

Download (586kB) | Request a Copy


Math abilities are related to outcomes including better health, greater chance of full-time employment, and higher income (Agarwal & Mazumder, 2013; Currie & Thomas, 2001; Reyna & Brainerd, 2007), with individual differences in math skills present as early as the beginning of kindergarten (Jordan et al., 2006). Previous work has found that parents’ encouragement of math conversation supports children’s math learning (Levine et al., 2010; Elliott et al., 2017). However, no work has looked at how children spontaneously discuss math, which may be an information-seeking technique used to shape their own learning. We examined children's math elicitations (questions or prompts used to encourage a response from the other person) during free play in both lab and home settings in parent-child dyads (RQ1: n = 113, 51% boys, M age = 3.9 years; RQ2: n = 84, 50% boys, M age = 3.9 years) in cases where parents were not previously discussing math, but children elicited math relevant to the conversation. RQ1: Children who used more of these spontaneous math elicitations had larger gains in math skills over 6 months, even controlling for a variety of covariates including children’s overall elicitations and baseline math performance, β=0.318, p=.004, suggesting that children who take what their parents are discussing and make it math-related may promote their own math learning. Given the robust association between children’s spontaneous math elicitations and their math performance, we were interested to explore predictors of children’s use of spontaneous math elicitations. RQ2: We assessed children’s spontaneous focusing on number (SFON) tendency (children’s tendency to focus their attention on the number of objects in a set on their own, without any outside guidance or prompting) and found that children’s SFON did not significantly predict their later use of spontaneous math elicitations, β=.088, p=.403. This work stresses the importance of considering how children may directly shape the home environment and their opportunities to learn in addition to thinking about parents' influences on children's math learning. Future work should continue exploring factors that influence children’s tendency to spontaneously seek out math information.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
McNeil, Kalina Mkmm335@pitt.edukmm335
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorLibertus,
Committee MemberLeyva,
Committee MemberMorgante,
Committee MemberDarko,
Date: 24 April 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 April 2023
Approval Date: 24 April 2023
Submission Date: 19 April 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 63
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: math learning, elicitations, information-seeking
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2023 17:51
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2023 17:51


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item