In this study, we analyzed the development and effects of gender on basic number skills from third to ninth grade in Finland. Because the international comparison studies have shown slightly different developmental trends in mathematical attainment for different language groups in Finland, we added the language of education as a variable in our analysis. Participants were 4,265 students from third to ninth grade in Finland, representing students in two national languages (Finnish, n = 2,833, and Swedish, n = 1,432). Confirmatory factor analyses showed that the subtasks in the dyscalculia screener formed two separate factors, namely, number-processing skills and arithmetic fluency. We found a linear development trend across age cohorts in both the factors. Reliability and validity evidence of the measures supported the use of these tasks in the whole age group from 9 to15 years. In this sample, there was an increasing gender difference in favor of girls and Swedish-speaking students by grade levels in number-processing skills. At the same time, boys showed a better performance and a larger variance in tasks measuring arithmetic fluency. The results indicate that the gender ratio within the group with mathematical learning disabilities depends directly on tasks used to measure their basic number skills.
Fields of Science
- 516 Educational sciences