TY - JOUR

T1 - Bilingualism positively predicts mathematical competence

T2 - Evidence from two large-scale studies

AU - Hartanto, Andree

AU - Yang, Hwajin

AU - Yang, Sujin

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
© 2017

PY - 2018/1

Y1 - 2018/1

N2 - Although little is known about the link between bilingualism and mathematical achievement in children, the established link between executive functions (EFs) and mathematical achievement suggests that bilingualism—which has been shown to affect EFs—may positively predict math skills. Drawing on two large-scale datasets collected in the US—the Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten and the State-Wide Early Education Programs (Study 1) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (Study 2)—we examined the relation between bilingualism and mathematical achievement among preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first-grade students (ages 4–7), while controlling for key covariates of (a) demographic variables, such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status; and (b) language proficiency in the language used for instruction (English). In two studies, we found that bilingualism positively predicted teacher-rated mathematical reasoning, emergent numeracy skills, and test scores on either mathematical word problems or standardized mathematical assessments. Moreover, the positive relation between bilingualism and mathematical competence persisted through the transition period from kindergarten to first grade. Our results suggest that bilingualism is favorable for children's mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills.

AB - Although little is known about the link between bilingualism and mathematical achievement in children, the established link between executive functions (EFs) and mathematical achievement suggests that bilingualism—which has been shown to affect EFs—may positively predict math skills. Drawing on two large-scale datasets collected in the US—the Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten and the State-Wide Early Education Programs (Study 1) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (Study 2)—we examined the relation between bilingualism and mathematical achievement among preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first-grade students (ages 4–7), while controlling for key covariates of (a) demographic variables, such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status; and (b) language proficiency in the language used for instruction (English). In two studies, we found that bilingualism positively predicted teacher-rated mathematical reasoning, emergent numeracy skills, and test scores on either mathematical word problems or standardized mathematical assessments. Moreover, the positive relation between bilingualism and mathematical competence persisted through the transition period from kindergarten to first grade. Our results suggest that bilingualism is favorable for children's mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills.

KW - Bilingualism

KW - Emergent numeracy

KW - Math achievement

KW - Mathematical reasoning

KW - Standardized mathematical assessment

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85038822132&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.lindif.2017.12.007

DO - 10.1016/j.lindif.2017.12.007

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85038822132

SN - 1041-6080

VL - 61

SP - 216

EP - 227

JO - Learning and Individual Differences

JF - Learning and Individual Differences

ER -