Count on Diversity: The Cognitive and Mathematical Profiles of Children in Early Elementary School


The present study investigated the diverse cognitive profiles of children learning mathematics in early elementary school. Unlike other types of learning difficulties, mathematics impairments are not characterized by a single underlying cognitive deficit, instead multiple general and numeracy-specific cognitive skills have been proposed to underlie mathematics ability. Combining theory- and data-driven approaches, the study investigated cognitive mathematics profiles. Participants for this study were 97 children tracked from senior kindergarten to grade two, as part of the Count Me In Study. Using numeracy, working memory, receptive language, and phonological awareness factors, a two-step cluster analysis revealed a three-cluster solution. The groups were characterized as (1) above average overall, (2) average overall with weak visuospatial working memory, (3) poor overall with strong visuospatial working memory. Cluster 1 demonstrated strengths in mathematics and reading, compared to clusters 2 and 3. Developmental trends and potential interventions are discussed.

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