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Implications of Overlapping Difficulties in Mathematics and Reading on Self-Concept and Academic Achievement

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  • University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu campus
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Abstract

In this study, the relationship between adolescents’ difficulty in mathematics and reading and the influence on academic self-concept and school grades was examined. The participants (N = 585; 299 girls, 286 boys) were one age group of ninth-graders whose mathematics and reading skills were assessed at the end of comprehensive school at age 16 years. Five student profile groups were found using cluster analysis: best achievers, normal achievers (NA), the reading difficulty (RD) group, the mathematical difficulty (MD) group, and the learning difficulty (LD) group. Post-hoc tests revealed that the RD group and the LD group had a higher academic self-concept than the MD group. In school grades history, surprisingly, the NA group and the RD group performed equally well across all school grades. Students in the MD group performed as poorly as the LD group. The results emphasise the prolonged and generalised effects of especially MD on students’ academic careers.

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... Schoolwork difficulties can be temporary and depend on learning environments, mental or social difficulties, and injuries or sickness. They often overlap (Holopainen et al., 2017) and may cause a lack of adequate progress in school (Westwood, 2004). Also, one's grade point average (GPA) is a strong predictor for school dropout and less success in educational pathways (e.g. ...
... Kun verrattiin oppilaita, joilla oli matematiikan vaikeuksia, ja oppilaita, joilla oli lukivaikeuksia, kävi ilmi, että he menestyivät samantasoisesti vielä neljännellä luokalla, mutta ne, joilla oli lukivaikeuksia, menestyivät sekä matematiikassa että äidinkielessä paremmin aina viidenneltä yhdeksännelle luokalle asti. Sen sijaan, jos oppilaalla oli vaikeuksia vain matematiikan osaamisessa tai sekä matematiikan että lukemisen ja kirjoittamisen osaamisessa, hän menestyi heikosti läpi peruskouluvuosien (Holopainen, Taipale & Savolainen, 2016). ...
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New academic self-concept instruments were used to measure self-concepts in 13 (Grades 5–6) or 16 (Grades 7–10) school subjects and to test the structure of academic self-concept posited in the Marsh/Shavelson model. First-order factor analyses identified the scales each instrument was designed to measure, demonstrating that academic self-concept is remarkably subject-specific. As posited, 2 higher order factors were sufficient to explain relations among core academic subjects, but additional higher order factors were needed to explain other school subjects (e.g., physical education, art, and music). The hierarchy, however, was weak, and much of the variance in specific subject self-concepts was unexplained by the higher order factors. Researchers interested in self-concepts in particular subjects are advised to use self-concept scales specific to those subject areas in addition, perhaps, to other measures of academic self-concept. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Examined the relationships between arithmetical calculation, arithmetical reasoning, and some psychometric test performance in 213 5.2–9.8 yr olds. In order to evaluate the Ss' competence in addition calculations, a mental calculation task was given to each S. The Ss were then given an arithmetical reasoning test. Results show strong associations between calculation and estimation; between calculation and derived fact strategy use; and most of all, between estimation and derived fact strategy use. The 2nd part of the study includes brief descriptions of the arithmetical performance of 10 6.5–9.7 yr olds, which may shed some further light on the componential nature of individual differences in arithmetic. It can be concluded from both parts of the study that (1) individual differences in arithmetic are marked; (2) that arithmetic is indeed not unitary and that it is relatively easy to find children with marked discrepancies between different components; and that (3) in particular it is risky to assume that a child "does not understand maths" because he or she performs poorly in some calculation tasks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Cross-sectional and incremental age effects on cognitive processes that underlie individual differences in components of working memory (WM; phonological loop, visual-spatial sketchpad, executive processing) and mathematical problem-solving accuracy were examined in elementary schoolchildren. A battery of tests was administered that assessed problem solving, achievement, memory, and cognitive processing (inhibition, speed, phonological coding) in children in Grades 1, 2, and 3 (Wave 1) and 1 year later (Wave 2). The results showed that (a) 31% of the explainable within-person changes across testing waves and 42% of the age-related differences in word problem-solving accuracy were related to executive processing and (b) executive processing and reading performance in Year 1 were the only variables that contributed unique variance to Year 2 problem-solving performance. The results support the notion that growth in the executive system is an important predictor of children's problem solving abilities beyond the contribution of reading and calculation skills and that growth in executive processing can operate independently of individual differences in phonological processing, inhibition, and processing speed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The main aim of this study was to find out what kind of factor model of written language skills could be created on the basis of tests of reading accuracy and fluency, spelling and reading comprehension, and how the written language skills factor and school achievement predict choice of secondary education and what effects gender, special education support and socio-economic background have on this prediction. Altogether 1700 students were assessed with two word-level reading tests and word- and pseudo-word-spelling tests and by a reading comprehension test. Remaining data were elicited with a questionnaire. The findings showed that a latent written language skills factor could be formed, separately for boys and girls, and that the level of difficulties in reading and spelling predicted powerfully school achievement and choice of secondary education. The effect of reading and spelling skills on secondary education choice was much stronger and direct for boys. Parents' occupation and special education support did not play a major role as predictors.
Article
Postsecondary education bas become an option for increasing numbers of individuals with learning disabilities. College personnel must be prepared to provide academic adjustments and accommodations for the members of this growing population.
Article
This paper elaborates on the components of a working definition of developmental dyslexia. It follows the general format of a paper by Lyon published in Annals of Dyslexia in 1995, which elaborated on a working definition proposed in 1994 (Lyon, 1995). The current definition agreed on by the work group updates and expands on the working definition from 1994.
Article
It is now well established that learning disabilities (LD) persist into the adult years, yet despite a developing literature base in this area, there is a paucity of evidence-based research to guide research and practice. Consistent with the demands of the adult stage of development, autonomy and self-determination are crucial to quality-of-life issues to adults in general, and specifically to adults with LD. There are many areas of functioning in which adults need to adapt successfully, such as employment, family, social and emotional, daily living routines, community, and recreation and leisure. In essence, there are a myriad of challenges and outcomes as adults navigate the trials and tribulations of LD as it manifests itself into adulthood. This review of the extant evidence-based literature seeks to discover relevant knowledge that can be shared with practitioners who serve adults with LD in a variety of professional and volunteer roles, particularly in adult education settings.
Article
Until recently, many thought developmental dyslexia was a behavioral disorder that primarily affected reading. In fact, it is a partly heritable condition, the clinical manifestations of which are extremely complex including deficits in reading, working memory, sensorimotor coordination, and early sensory processing. Even though extensive research has characterized these behavioral abnormalities carefully, the biological mechanisms of the clinical manifestations still are poorly understood. Recent research into both the nature of the structural and functional abnormalities in developmental dyslexia and the functional neuroanatomy of reading have rapidly advanced our understanding of the localization of the processes responsible for the signs and symptoms of dyslexia. This paper reviews recent evidence supporting a biological basis for developmental dyslexia.