Pathways of number line development in children: Predictors and risk for adverse mathematical outcome

Ilona Friso-van den Bos*, Johannes E H van Luit, Evelyn H. Kroesbergen, Iro Xenidou-Dervou, Ernest C D M van Lieshout, Menno van der Schoot, Lisa M. Jonkman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Dyscalculia, or mathematics learning disability, has received growing attention in recent years. Working memory and number sense are hypothesized to form important determinants of dyscalculia, but longitudinal assessments of number sense in children with or at-risk for dyscalculia are scarce. The current study investigated number line development in first and second grade, in addition to kindergarten predictors and mathematical proficiency as an outcome. Children (n = 396) could be divided into three latent growth classes: at-risk, catch-up, and typical, based on their number line development. Growth was predicted by kindergarten number sense and verbal working memory. According to the class to which they were assigned, children differed in mathematical proficiency at the end of grade 2. The current study makes an important contribution to the understanding of risk for dyscalculia, showing that children at-risk can be distinguished based on their number line development, and that kindergarten variables are predictive of subsequent development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalZeitschrift für Psychologie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Development
  • Dyscalculia
  • Mathematics
  • Number line
  • Working memory


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