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The development of Arabic digit knowledge in 4-to-7-year-old children

Knudsen, B., Fischer, M., & Aschersleben, G. (2015). The development of Arabic digit knowledge in 4-to-7-year-old children. Journal of numerical cognition, 1(1), 21-37. doi:10.5964/jnc.v1i1.4.
Recent studies indicate that Arabic digit knowledge rather than non-symbolic number knowledge is a key foundation for arithmetic proficiency at the start of a child’s mathematical career. We document the developmental trajectory of 4- to 7-year-olds’ proficiency in accessing magnitude information from Arabic digits in five tasks differing in magnitude manipulation requirements. Results showed that children from 5 years onwards accessed magnitude information implicitly and explicitly, but that 5-year-olds failed to access magnitude information explicitly when numerical magnitude was contrasted with physical magnitude. Performance across tasks revealed a clear developmental trajectory: children traverse from first knowing the cardinal values of number words to recognizing Arabic digits to knowing their cardinal values and, concurrently, their ordinal position. Correlational analyses showed a strong within-child consistency, demonstrating that this pattern is not only reflected in group differences but also in individual performance.
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