Article

The Development of Children's Rule Use on the Balance Scale Task

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.12). 05/2002; 81(4):383-416. DOI: 10.1006/jecp.2002.2664
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cognitive development can be characterized by a sequence of increasingly complex rules or strategies for solving problems. Our work focuses on the development of children's proportional reasoning, assessed by the balance scale task using Siegler's (1976, 1981) rule assessment methodology. We studied whether children use rules, whether children of different ages use qualitatively different rules, and whether rules are used consistently. Nonverbal balance scale problems were administered to 805 participants between 5 and 19 years of age. Latent class analyses indicate that children use rules, that children of different ages use different rules, and that both consistent and inconsistent use of rules occurs. A model for the development of reasoning about the balance scale task is proposed. The model is a restricted form of the overlapping waves model (Siegler, 1996) and predicts both discontinuous and gradual transitions between rules.

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Available from: Han L J van der Maas, Aug 16, 2015
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    • "A very suitable way of investigating such expectations is to apply latent class models. Latent class models have been previously applied in research areas such as alcohol research (Muthén & Muthén, 2000), studies on strategy use (Jansen & van der Maas, 2002), reasoning (Bouwmeester, Sijtsma, & Vermunt, 2004), and in longitudinal studies on developmental trajectories with large datasets (see Laursen & Hoff, 2006, for an overview). Unfortunately, such models have not been applied much in studies aimed at inferring the type of (unconsciously) preferred STM processes based on specific response patterns of children, thereby revealing individual differences in memory performance. "
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    ABSTRACT: In studies on the development of cognitive processes, children are often grouped based on their ages before analyzing the data. After the analysis, the differences between age groups are interpreted as developmental differences. We argue that this approach is problematic because the variance in cognitive performance within an age group is considered to be measurement error. However, if a part of this variance is systematic, it can provide very useful information about the cognitive processes used by some children of a certain age but not others. In the current study, we presented 210 children aged 5 to 12years with serial order short-term memory tasks. First we analyze our data according to the approach using age groups, and then we apply latent class analysis to form latent classes of children based on their performance instead of their ages. We display the results of the age groups and the latent classes in terms of serial position curves, and we discuss the differences in results. Our findings show that there are considerable differences in performance between the age groups and the latent classes. We interpret our findings as indicating that the latent class analysis yielded a much more meaningful way of grouping children in terms of cognitive processes than the a priori grouping of children based on their ages.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 06/2014; 126C:138-151. DOI:10.1016/j.jecp.2014.04.002 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    • "The last example is derived from the study by Hardy , Jonen , Möller , and Stern ( 2006 ) which distinguishes three levels : misconceptions , explanations of everyday life and scientific explanations , which is further divided into one or more than one scientific concept . The balance scale is another well‐studied task in the literature on scientific reasoning with most studies using the rules of Siegler ( 1976 ) as a performance measure ( Jansen & van der Maas , 2002 ; Philips & Tolmie , 2007 ; Siegler & Chen , 1998 ) . These rules are hierarchically ordered and task specific . "
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    ABSTRACT: Children are often referred to as stable performers, but in reality, children’s performance fluctuates, even from moment to moment in the same task setting. The aim of this dissertation (which is part of the nationwide program ‘Curious Minds’) is to gain insight into the short‐term processes of scientific understanding in young children between the ages of 4 to 6 years. The first part of this dissertation (chapters 2 and 3) focuses on the explanations of children regarding scientific phenomena. Skill theory proves to be a versatile and useful method for quantifying children’s explanations. A majority of children showed a high degree of intra‐individual variability and most children tended to stabilize in both complexity and content towards the end of a single task. The second part of the dissertation (chapters 4 through 6) consists of studies using both predictions and explanations as measures of scientific understanding. Both measures are often used almost interchangeable as rulers for scientific understanding. However, the results indicate that predictions and explanations should be regarded as distinct, emergent processes in young children. The results further emphasize the importance of the material and social context for children’s scientific understanding. The findings in this dissertation have demonstrated the importance of short-term processes in the development of young children’s scientific understanding. These findings have implications for teachers, researches and policymakers.
    03/2014, Degree: PhD
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    • "A very suitable way of investigating such expectations is to apply latent class models. Latent class models have been previously applied in research areas such as alcohol research (Muthén & Muthén, 2000), studies on strategy use (Jansen & van der Maas, 2002), reasoning (Bouwmeester, Sijtsma, & Vermunt, 2004), and in longitudinal studies on developmental trajectories with large datasets (see Laursen & Hoff, 2006, for an overview). Unfortunately, such models have not been applied much in studies aimed at inferring the type of (unconsciously) preferred STM processes based on specific response patterns of children, thereby revealing individual differences in memory performance. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In studies on the development of cognitive processes, children are often grouped based on their ages before analyzing the data. After the analysis, the differences between age groups are interpreted as developmental differences. We argue that this approach is problematic because the variance in cognitive performance within an age group is considered to be measurement error. However, if a part of this variance is systematic, it can provide very useful information about the cognitive processes used by some children of a certain age but not others. In the current study, we presented 210 children aged 5 to 12 years with serial order short-term memory tasks. First we analyze our data according to the approach using age groups, and then we apply latent class analysis to form latent classes of children based on their performance instead of their ages. We display the results of the age groups and the latent classes in terms of serial position curves, and we discuss the differences in results. Our findings show that there are considerable differences in performance between the age groups and the latent classes. We interpret our findings as indicating that the latent class analysis yielded a much more meaningful way of grouping children in terms of cognitive processes than the a priori grouping of children based on their ages.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 01/2014; 126:138–151. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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