Exploring Growth Trajectories of Informal and Formal Mathematics Skills Among Prekindergarten Children Struggling With Mathematics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Growth in two subscales, Informal and Formal Mathematics Skills, of the Test of Early Mathematics Abilitity–3 (TEMA-3) was explored in a sample of 281 children. Children were identified as either typically developing (TYP; n = 205) or having mathematics difficulties (MD; n = 76) based on their total TEMA-3 score at the end of prekindergarten. Their average level of informal and formal mathematics skills, growth rate over time, and rate of acceleration of growth were estimated using conventional growth modeling while controlling for the effects of gender. Results indicated that children with MD had significantly lower informal and formal mathematics knowledge than did TYP children at the end of kindergarten. However, for informal mathematics skills, children with MD grew at a significantly faster rate than did TYP children, and the rate of acceleration was also significantly faster for children with MD. In contrast, both the rate of growth and acceleration of growth in formal mathematics skills were significantly faster for TYP children than they were for children with MD. Implications for early MD identification and interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-91
Number of pages12
JournalLearning Disability Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2019



  • formal mathematics skills
  • informal mathematics skills
  • mathematics difficulties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this