Kerry Lee

Kerry Lee
The Education University of Hong Kong | ied · Department of Early Childhood Education (ECE)

B.A. (Hons.), Ph.D.

About

79
Publications
51,298
Reads
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2,372
Citations
Introduction
I am a professor at the Department of Early Childhood Education, The Education University of Hong Kong. My main interests are in the development of executive functioning and mathematics performance. I am familiar with and use a variety of observational, psychological, and neuroimaging techniques in my research.
Additional affiliations
July 2000 - November 2017
National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 1995 - June 2000
Bond University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (79)
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the effects of trait test anxiety versus state anxiety on children’s working memory task performance. Participants (N = 113; 11-year-olds) completed a mental arithmetic and memory recall task under high and low situational stress conditions. State anxiety was assessed using both subjective (i.e., self-reports) and physiological...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined whether individual differences in inhibitory abilities were related to word problem-solving performance. A sample of 10-11 year-old students (N = 134) were assessed on two types of inhibition: prepotent response inhibition and resistance to proactive interference. Word problems administered contained varying amounts of either nu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Although algebra is a prerequisite for higher mathematics, few studies have examined the mathematical and cognitive capabilities that contribute to the development of algebra word problems solving skills. We examined changes in these relations from 2nd to 9th grades. Using a cross-sequential design that spanned four years, children from three cohor...
Preprint
Full-text available
An important aspect of executive functioning is inhibition. It refers to a cognitive mechanism that blocks or suppresses irrelevant stimuli, memory, habitual responses, or automatized processes from interrupting the desired response. Bull and Lee (2014) found relations between inhibitory abilities and mathematics performance to be weak and inconsis...
Preprint
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of traditional versus guided inquiry (with problem solving process and cognitive function training) on high school chemistry knowledge, science process skills, scientific attitudes, and problem-solving competency. Two classes of students were recruited from three classes of Grade 11 student...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Good nutrition, regular physical activity, and adequate sleep are important for promoting health. However, it is not well characterized how these lifestyle behaviours are associated with mood at the start of school days. Aim: To identify the weekday health-related behaviours (breakfast intake, physical activity, and sleep) of Singapo...
Article
In this study (n = 1000, Mage at K1entry = 53.4 months, SD = 3.4; 53% females), we investigated the contributions of the family socioeconomic status (SES; maternal education and an income-related measure) and number and age of siblings to the development of children's math, reading, and working memory (WM) updating skills over the kindergarten year...
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1980s, Chinese children have consistently been found to perform well in mathematics in cross-national studies of academic achievement. This study is one of the first to systematically examine Chinese children’s early mathematics learning experiences through a content analysis of eight sets of preschool teacher’s teaching reference books t...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates the variety of factors that hinder the implementation of play (as defined by Western scholars) in Asian preschools. Drawing on theoretical frameworks of policy borrowing, enactment, and glocalisation, we analyse three jurisdictions that illustrate distinctive problematics: India, Mainland China, and Hong Kong. The methodolog...
Conference Paper
The multi-disciplinary project on the roles of Pedagogy and Parents in Children’s Development and Education (PACE) is a longitudinal study that aims to understand development outcomes, including the physical domain, in a sample of Hong Kong Chinese children. PACE also explores the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on children’s development outco...
Article
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Background: Decades of research, largely from associational studies, show that the relationships of movement proficiency with the cognitive and social aspects of development are particularly strong in early childhood. Children who move proficiently tend to have better cognitive skills and social behaviors. However, the mechanisms that underpin thes...
Article
Growing evidence suggests that parents’ practices contribute to their children's cognitive development and that such practices may reflect SES disparities. This study investigated longitudinal interrelations between home mathematics environment (HME), children's math achievement, and two facets of SES (mother's educational attainment and household...
Article
Full-text available
Research Findings: This study explored the moderating effect of child competence in independent learning in relations between the amount of learning assignment, length of online learning, and parent satisfaction with children’s online learning during COVID-19 imposed class suspension. The data came from an online survey conducted in Hong Kong in Fe...
Article
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With increasing attention on the role of parenting stress on family functioning and children’s development, one area that has been neglected is how such relations differ across cultures. Although sometimes viewed as homogeneous, Asian countries often have markedly different belief systems. Cross-cultural studies require instruments that have been v...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the combined effects of breakfast and exercise on short-term academic and cognitive performance in adolescents. Eighty-two adolescents (64 female), aged 14–19 years, were randomized to four groups over a 4-hour morning: (i) a group who fasted and were sedentary (F-S); (ii) a group who ate breakfast but were sedentary (B-S); (iii...
Article
This study explored parents’ views on kindergarten and primary school students’ distance learning experience and support needed as well as the amount of time children spend on screen media at home during COVID-19 class suspension. Between February 19 and 22, 2020, three weeks after classes were suspended in Hong Kong, responses from 6,702 parents (...
Article
Full-text available
As a result of globalization, kindergarten curriculum frameworks in Asia have been strongly influenced by Western theories, pedagogies, and values. In this paper, we argue that Singapore’s Nurturing Early Learners and Hong Kong’s Kindergarten Education Curriculum Guide present key notions that are inconsistent with cultural values that are deeply r...
Article
Full-text available
Performance on second language (L2) listening tests is influenced by individual differences in listener characteristics (e.g., executive functioning and vocabulary size) and characteristics of the listening measure (e.g., text length or skills measured). For listeners, the amount of linguistic knowledge is most important for comprehension outcomes....
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of traditional versus guided inquiry (with problem-solving process and cognitive function training) on high school chemistry knowledge, science process skills, scientific attitudes, and problem-solving competency. Two classes of students were recruited from three classes of Grade 11 student...
Chapter
Singapore is one of the most affluent countries in the world and is ranked by international-benchmarking examinations such as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) as one of the top-performing education systems in the world (Mourshed M, Chijioke C, Barber M. How the w...
Article
This study investigated the interaction between self-efficacy and implicit beliefs of ability in their association with maladaptive learning in mathematics. The analysis was based on a large sample of 2538 Singapore Secondary 2 students (Mage = 13.75), who took measures of entity beliefs of ability, self-efficacy, and three maladaptive learning var...
Article
Inhibition is an important aspect of executive functioning (EF) that refers to a cognitive mechanism that blocks or suppresses irrelevant stimuli, memory, habitual responses, or automatized processes from interrupting the desired response. Researchers have found weak and inconsistent relations between inhibitory abilities and mathematics performanc...
Article
Full-text available
Although algebra is a prerequisite for higher mathematics, few studies have examined the mathematical and cognitive capabilities that contribute to the development of algebra word problems solving skills. We examined changes in these relations from second to ninth grades. Using a cross-sequential design that spanned 4 years, children from 3 cohorts...
Presentation
Full-text available
An important aspect of executive functioning (EF) is inhibition. It refers to the efficiency with which we maintain focus on a task without being distracted by irrelevant information or prepotent patterns of behaviour. Although a large number of studies have found mathematical performance to be associated with aspects of EF, fewer studies have exam...
Article
Full-text available
From the control-value theory perspective, this study investigated the mediational role of students' math self-efficacy, value, and achievement emotions between parenting practices and homework behaviors. A large sample of 2648 Singapore Secondary 2 students first took measures of parental expectancy and involvement, and then measures of math self-...
Article
The Test of Early Mathematics Ability–Third Edition (TEMA-3) is a commonly used measure of early mathematics knowledge for children aged 3 years to 8 years 11 months. In spite of its wide use, research on the psychometric properties of TEMA-3 remains limited. This study applied the Rasch model to investigate the psychometric properties of TEMA-3 fr...
Article
Full-text available
In this commentary, I focus on the notion of competence and issues related to the distinction between knowing how mathematical problems are solved versus knowing how to teach mathematics. Although definitions of competence may necessarily be affected by value judgements and thus less amenable to factual answers, providing a defensible definition is...
Article
Full-text available
Children with higher working memory or updating (WMU) capacity perform better in math. What is less clear is whether and how this relation varies with grade. Children (N = 673, kindergarten to Grade 9) participated in a four-year cross-sequential study. Data from three WMU (Listening Recall, Mr. X, and an updating task) and a standardised math task...
Article
Background The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) assesses behavioural adjustment in children aged 3 to 16 years. To ascertain the appropriateness of the scale for a specific population, it is important to examine whether the distinctiveness of the scale dimensions can be verified empirically.AimsConfirmatory factor analysis was used to...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the effects of (a) trait test anxiety versus state anxiety and (b) working memory load on children's mental arithmetic task performance. Participants (N = 128; 11-year-olds) completed a mental arithmetic task at varying levels of working memory load under high and low situational stress conditions. Measures of task accuracy and...
Article
Full-text available
From a multiple goals perspective, this study examined the potential interaction between competitive performance goals and cooperative social goals characterized by social affiliation and concern in their relationship with math achievement. A group of 297 Singapore Primary 4 students participated in this study by completing a survey on achievement...
Article
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Despite the popularity of working memory (WM) and updating training, recent reviews have questioned their efficacy. We evaluated a computer-based training programme based on the Running Span and Keep Track paradigms. We assigned 111 7-year-olds with poor WM and mathematical performances to updating training, one of two control groups, or a fourth g...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the relationships of students’ incremental beliefs of math ability to their achievement emotions, classroom engagement and math achievement. A sample of 273 secondary students in Singapore were administered measures of incremental beliefs of math ability, math enjoyment, pride, boredom and anxiety, as well as math classroom...
Article
Full-text available
The Stroop and stop-signal tasks are commonly used to index prepotent response inhibition in studies of cognitive development and individual differences. Inhibitory measures from the two tasks have been derived using a variety of methods. Findings of low inter-correlations amongst these measures have been interpreted as evidence for different kinds...
Article
Although the effects of open inquiry vs. more didactic approaches have been studied extensively, the effects of different types of inquiry have not received as much attention. We examined the effects of guided vs. structured inquiry on secondary students' learning of science. Students from three schools in north-eastern Thailand participated (N = 2...
Article
Full-text available
The importance of executive functioning (EF) skills in mathematical achievement is well established, and researchers have moved from just measuring working memory or updating to an inclusion of other EF skills, namely, inhibition and shifting. In this article, we review studies that have taken different approaches to measuring EF (e.g., using singl...
Article
Full-text available
Although the effects of achievement goals and working memory on academic performance are well established, it is not clear whether they jointly affect academic performance. Children from Primary 4 and 6 (N = 608) were administered (a) measures of working memory and updating from the automated working memory battery and a running span task, (b) perf...
Article
Full-text available
In Singapore, primary school students are taught to use bar diagrams to represent known and unknown values in algebraic word problems. However, little is known about students' understanding of these graphical representations. We investigated whether students use and think of the bar diagrams in a concrete or a more abstract fashion. We also examine...
Article
Full-text available
Although early studies of executive functioning in children supported Miyake et al.'s (2000) three-factor model, more recent findings supported a variety of undifferentiated or two-factor structures. Using a cohort-sequential design, this study examined whether there were age-related differences in the structure of executive functioning among 6- to...
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to mathematical pattern tasks is often deemed important for developing children's algebraic thinking skills. Yet, there is a dearth of evidence on the cognitive underpinnings of pattern tasks and how early competencies on these tasks are related to later development. We examined the domain-specific and domain-general determinants of perfor...
Article
Full-text available
Although mathematical pattern tasks are often found in elementary school curricula and are deemed a building block for algebra, a recent report (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008) suggests the resources devoted to its teaching and assessment need to be rebalanced. We examined whether children's developing proficiency in solving algebraic wo...
Article
Full-text available
Much of the neuroimaging research has focused on how mathematical operations are performed. Although this body of research has provided insight for the refinement of pedagogy, there are very few neuroimaging studies on how mathematical operations should be taught. In this article, we describe the teaching of algebra in Singapore schools and the imp...
Article
Full-text available
The effects of test anxiety on children's task performance are not well understood. We examined this issue using the processing efficiency theory (PET; Eysenck & Calvo, 1992) as a theoretical framework. High and low trait test-anxious children (N=90) performed a mental-arithmetic task under high and low memory load conditions. Each child performed...
Article
Full-text available
To improve access to algebraic word problems, primary aged students in Singapore are taught to utilise schematic models. Symbolic algebra is not taught until the secondary school years. To examine whether the two methods drew on different cognitive processes and imposed different cognitive demands, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to e...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) enables non-invasive recording of cortical hemoglobin oxygenation in human subjects through the intact skull using light in the near-infrared range to determine. Recently, NIRS-based brain-computer interfaces are introduced for discriminating left and right-hand motor imagery. A neuroimaging study has also revealed...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) studies have revealed that performing mental arithmetic tasks have associated event-related hemodynamic responses that are detectable. Thus NIRS-based Brain Computer Interface (BCI) has the potential for investigating how to best teach mathematics in a classroom setting. This paper presents a novel computational in...
Article
Full-text available
Although visuospatial short-term memory tasks have been found to engage more executive resources than do their phonological counterparts, it remains unclear whether this is due to intrinsic differences between the tasks or differences in participants' experience with them. The authors found 11-year-olds' performances on both visual short-term and w...
Article
Full-text available
It is often asserted that working memory predicts more variance in academic proficiency than do measures of intelligence. We used data from three studies to show that the validity of this assertion is highly dependent on the method of analysis. Using the same measures of intelligence, but different measures of working memory and algebraic proficien...
Article
Full-text available
In Singapore, 6–12 year-old students are taught to solve algebra word problems with a mix of arithmetic and pre-algebraic strategies; 13–17 year-olds are typically encouraged to replace these strategies with letter-symbolic algebra. We examined whether algebra problem-solving proficiency amongst beginning learners of letter-symbolic algebra is corr...
Article
Full-text available
Solving arithmetic and algebraic word problems is a key component of the Singapore elementary mathematics curriculum. One heuristic taught, the model method, involves drawing a diagram to represent key information in the problem. We describe the model method and a three-phase theoretical framework supporting its use. We conducted 2 studies to exami...
Article
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[Correction Notice: An erratum for this article was reported in Vol 101(3) of Journal of Educational Psychology (see record 2009-11043-014). In this article, the URL published for the supplemental material was incorrect. The correct URL is http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0013843.supp.] Solving algebraic word problems involves multiple cognitive phases...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter sets out the research agenda of a series of funded studies with the specific focus to investigate how the model method is used to solve algebra word problems. The Perception study explored how 145 Secondary 2 students perceived the model method and its relationship with letter-symbolic algebra. Algebra I, Algebra 2, and Algebra 3 are r...
Chapter
Full-text available
Although students in Singapore compare favourably with their international peers in mathematical performance, like elsewhere, there are significant individual differences in performance. In this chapter, we describe findings from a programme of research that focused on the role of working memory and higher cognitive capabilities on mathematical per...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research with adults found that spatial short-term and working memory tasks impose similar demands on executive resources. We administered spatial short-term and working memory tasks to 8- and 11-year-olds in three separate experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2 an executive suppression task (random number generation) was found to impair perf...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies showed working memory span predicted mathematical performance. However, it was unclear whether working memory span differed amongst children with poorer performances in mathematics (PM), English literacy (PL), or in both areas (PML). 150 Primary 5 pupils participated in the study. Assignment to performance groups was based on two s...
Article
The use of letters as a variable is one of the obstacles faced by students as they make the transition from arithmetic to letter-symbolic algebra. Primary students in Singapore are in a unique position as they are presented with opportunities, right across their primary years, to work with less abstract representations of numbers. These students ar...
Article
In this study, we built on previous neuroimaging studies of mathematical cognition and examined whether the same cognitive processes are engaged by two strategies used in algebraic problem solving. We focused on symbolic algebra, which uses alphanumeric equations to represent problems, and the model method, which uses pictorial representation. Eigh...
Article
Full-text available
One hundred and fifty-one Primary 5 (average age 10.7 years, sd = 0.65) pupils were asked to use the model method to answer five word problems. Pupils used the model method most successfully with an arithmetic-word problem. With the algebraic-word problems, the rate of success decreased from word problems where the nature of relationships was homog...
Article
This study examined the relationship between age, neuropsychological performance (indexed by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, California Verbal Learning Test, the backward digit span and the verbal paired associates scale, VPA), social cognitive status (indexed by the Children's Social Desirability and the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale), and susc...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies on individual differences in mathematical abilities have shown that working memory contributes to early arithmetic performance. In this study, we extended the investigation to algebraic word problem solving. A total of 151 10-year-olds were administered algebraic word problems and measures of working memory, intelligence quotient (...
Article
Prior work has shown that when responses to incidentally encoded words are sorted, subsequently remembered words elicit greater left prefrontal BOLD signal change relative to forgotten words. Similarly, low-frequency words elicit greater activation than high-frequency words in the same left prefrontal regions, contributing to their better subsequen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Primary children in Singapore are taught to use the model method to solve word problems. With the model method children are required to interpret information presented in three modes – text, structural and procedural. This paper discusses how 151 eleven year old primary children used the model method to help them solve a series of increasingly comp...
Article
Full-text available
Recent findings on the anatomical, physiological, and functional properties of the brain have stimulated debates on whether such findings provide meaningful contribution to education. In this article, I examine one aspect of the interface between neuroscience and education: “brain‐compatible” strategies. Although some of these strategies such as pr...
Article
The effects of age and degree of learning on children's susceptibility to retroactive interference were examined. Children (4- and 7-year-olds) participated in a target game either once or three times. Each time, they learned the target stimuli to criterion. Two days later, the children either rested or participated in a second game containing inco...
Article
Similar experimental procedures are used in misinformation studies and in retroactive inhibition studies. Despite these similarities, the findings of these studies have suggested that misleading postevent information and inconsistent postevent information would have different effects on children's recollections. To examine this hypothesis, 28 seven...
Article
concentrate on the veracity of children's reporting of witnessed events and cognitive motivational factors that may influence their veracity / before addressing whether children might be more or less motivated to lie or tell the truth in certain situations, we review the research on children's knowledge of lying and truthfulness / examine whether y...

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