Revisiting the Influence of Numerical Language Characteristics on Mathematics Achievement: Comparison among China, Romania, and U.S.
Jian Wang, Emily Lin, Madalina Tanase, Midena Sas
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Abstract

Eastern Asian students repeatedly outperform U.S. students in mathematics. Some suggest that number-naming languages consistent with the base-10 number system found in many Eastern Asian countries presumably contribute to their students’ better understanding of the base-10 system and consequential performance. Such language features do not exist in English or other Western languages. The current study tests this assumption by comparing base-10 knowledge of students in kindergarten and first-grade from China, Romania, and U.S. who have developed number-naming language abilities but received relatively little formal school instruction. It is expected that since Chinese number-naming is linguistically more transparent and consistent with the base-10 system, Chinese students should outperform both their Romanian and U.S. peers. Romanians should show intermediate performance between Chinese and U.S. students since Romanian language is somewhat transparent and consistent with a base-10 system while English numbernaming language is least consistent. However, the analysis of this study revealed that although Chinese children outperformed both Romanian and U.S. counterparts in accomplishing base-10 tasks, there were no significant differences between Romanian and U.S. children. This finding suggests that the extent to which number-naming language is linguistically transparent and consistent with the base-10 system may not necessarily align with the level of children’s understanding of the base-10 system and relevant mathematics performances.

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INT ELECT J MATH ED, 2008, Volume 3, Issue 1, 24-46

https://doi.org/10.29333/iejme/216

Publication date: 04 Apr 2008

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Article Downloads: 1591

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