The Effects of Self-Regulation Skills and Gender Differences on Preschoolers' Math Performance
Jacobs, Allison S.
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This study examined the influences of self-regulation and gender differences in mathematics performance in a sample of preschool children (N = 288) during the fall of the school year. Proficiency in early math skills is crucial for success in math achievement as a child progresses through his or her schooling. Self-regulation skills, which involve the ability to regulate one's own behavior, have been shown to have a strong influence on mathematics achievement. Higher self-regulation ability often relates to higher mathematics scores, and vice versa. Additionally, boys and girls tend to show achievement differences in specific areas of math, such as spatial reasoning, as well as on standardized tests. Therefore, the present study explored whether self-regulation and gender differences predicted math scores at a young age. Self-regulation was assessed using the Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders Task, and the TEMA-3 assessment measured mathematics performance. Results demonstrated that self-regulation consistently predicted math scores. In contrast, gender differences were not associated with math performance. Discussion focuses on the· implications of self-regulation as an influence on math scores, in addition to conflicts regarding gender differences as a contributor to math achievement outcomes.