Cognition in kindergarten : the role of children’s metamemory and teachers’ instructional language

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amber E. Westover (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jennifer Coffman

Abstract: Over the course of the early elementary school years, children evidence significant improvements in their emerging memory and mathematical skills (Geary, 2006; Ornstein et al., 2008). However, researchers have primarily documented age-related changes rather than explore the developmental forces responsible for growth in these domains (Ornstein & Haden, 2001). Results from studies on metacognition indicate that metamemory may contribute to these developing cognitive abilities (Bellon et al., 2019; Fabricius & Hagen, 1984). In addition, research on adult-child conversations in the home (Fivush et al., 2006) and classroom settings (Chapin et al., 2009) links adult language to children’s cognitive outcomes. Using data from the first cohort of children enrolled in an ongoing investigation, this study was designed to examine simultaneously the role of children’s metamemory and teachers’ instructional language on early cognitive skills. Children were assessed using a deliberate memory task and a standardized mathematics assessment at both the beginning and end of the Kindergarten year. Multiple regression models were used to assess whether children’s metamemory or teachers’ use of metacognitively rich language predicted strategic sorting behaviors or mathematical fluency at either time point. The analyses revealed that metamemory at school entry is predictive of mathematical fluency at the beginning of Kindergarten. However, metamemory was not a significant predictor of strategic sorting at either time point (beginning or end of the school year). Contrary to the hypothesized results, teachers’ language was not predictive of either strategic sorting or mathematical fluency in Kindergarten. The findings from this study offer support for the importance of examining child- and classroom-level factors that may be associated with growing memory and mathematical skills. Additionally, they provide a groundwork for future research. Specifically, the results suggest the need for understanding when exposure to metacognitively rich language is most beneficial for children, the role of child-level factors, and what other contextual influences may contribute to the development of these cognitive skills.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Cognitive Skills, Deliberate Memory, Kindergarten, Mathematical Fluency, Metamemory, Teacher Language
Metacognition in children
Kindergarten teachers $x Language
Mathematics $x Study and teaching (Elementary)

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