413.full - School Psychology International...

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http://spi.sagepub.com/ International School Psychology http://spi.sagepub.com/content/26/4/413 The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/0143034305059018 2005 26: 413 School Psychology International Zheng Zhou, Stephen T. Peverly and Jiasui Lin Children Understanding Early Mathematical Competencies in American and Chinese Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com On behalf of: International School Psychology Association can be found at: School Psychology International Additional services and information for http://spi.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://spi.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://spi.sagepub.com/content/26/4/413.refs.html Citations: at University of British Columbia Library on October 29, 2010 spi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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Understanding Early Mathematical Competencies in American and Chinese Children ZHENG ZHOU a , STEPHEN T. PEVERLY a and JIASUI LIN b a St. John’s University Teachers College, Columbia University, NY, USA and b Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China ABSTRACT Most cross-cultural research on Chinese and American children’s early mathematical competencies has focused on their understanding of number and number operations. The present study broadened the range of tasks assessed to include geometric shapes, problem solving and logical reasoning, as well as number and numeri- cal operations, in an effort to determine if: (a) there are within- and cross-culture differences in the development of mathematical know- ledge in all domains and (b) the rate/order of development of the four different mathematics skills are comparable across cultures? One- hundred-and-sixty Chinese and US first grade students participated in this study one month after they entered first grade. The results indicated that Chinese and US children’s mathematical knowledge in the domain of numbers and operations is better developed than their mathematical knowledge in the other three domains, Chinese children outperformed American children on almost all tasks in all of the domains and the level of difficulty of mathematics concepts, across culture, seems to be universal (e.g. children’s conceptual knowledge within each of these domains seems to develop in the same order across cultures). The theoretical and educational implications of these results are discussed. KEY WORDS: American; Chinese; cross-cultural; early mathematical competencies; logical reasoning; problem solving Investigations of differences in young children’s understanding of mathematics between the US and Asia have consistently found that Asian students (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Korean) outperform Ameri- can students (Geary et al., 1992; 1993; Stevenson et al., 1986; 1993; 413 Please address correspondence to: Dr Zheng Zhou, Department of Psychology, St John’s University, Marillac Hall SB36, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, NY 11439, USA. E-mail: zhouz@stjohns.edu School Psychology International Copyright © 2005 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi), Vol. 26(4): 413–427.
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