Bilingualism positively predicts mathematical competence: Evidence from two large-scale studies

Andree Hartanto, Hwajin Yang, Sujin Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-227
Number of pages12
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Volume61
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Bilingualism
  • Emergent numeracy
  • Math achievement
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Standardized mathematical assessment

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Bilingualism positively predicts mathematical competence: Evidence from two large-scale studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this