Evidence of Partial Number Word Knowledge on the Give-N Task

AbstractThe most common measure of number word development is the give-N task. Traditionally, to receive credit for understanding a number, N, children must understand that N does not apply to other set sizes (e.g., a child who provides three when asked for “three” but also when asked for “four” would not be credited with knowing “three”). We hypothesized that such performance may reveal a transitional knowledge state that marks children who are ready to progress to the next knower level. An analysis of six previous studies (N = 200) revealed that two, three, and four knowers flagged as having partial knowledge of N+1 at pretest outperformed those with no such knowledge on the give-N task at posttest. Results support the idea of graded representations (Munakata, 2001) in number word development and suggest the traditional approach to coding the give-N task may not completely capture children’s knowledge.

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