A structural equation modeling of executive functions, IQ and mathematical skills in primary students: Differential effects on number production, mental calculus and arithmetical problems.

Abstract

Though the relationship between executive functions (EFs) and mathematical skills has been well documented, little is known about how both EFs and IQ differentially support diverse math domains in primary students. Inconsistency of results may be due to the statistical techniques employed, specifically, if the analysis is conducted with observed variables, i.e., regression analysis, or at the latent level, i.e., structural equation modeling (SEM). The current study explores the contribution of both EFs and IQ in mathematics through an SEM approach. A total of 118 8- to 12-year-olds were administered measures of EFs, crystallized (Gc) and fluid (Gf) intelligence, and math abilities (i.e., number production, mental calculus and arithmetical problem-solving). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) offered support for the three-factor solution of EFs: (1) working memory (WM), (2) shifting, and (3) inhibition. Regarding the relationship among EFs, IQ and math abilities, the results of the SEM analysis showed that (i) WM and age predict number production and mental calculus, and (ii) shifting and sex predict arithmetical problem-solving. In all of the SEM models, EFs partially or totally mediated the relationship between IQ, age and math achievement. These results suggest that EFs differentially supports math abilities in primary-school children and is a more significant predictor of math achievement than IQ level.

DOI: 10.1080/09297049.2016.1199665

Cite this paper

@article{Filippetti2017ASE, title={A structural equation modeling of executive functions, IQ and mathematical skills in primary students: Differential effects on number production, mental calculus and arithmetical problems.}, author={Vanessa Ar{\'a}n Filippetti and Mar{\'i}a Cristina Richaud}, journal={Child neuropsychology : a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence}, year={2017}, volume={23 7}, pages={864-888} }