About Our Research

Current Project

The planning and funding efforts for our newest large project have been underway for two years. August 2022 we received funding from the National Institutes of Health and officially launched the MU Preschool Math Study. We will be working with 3- and 4-year-old children and their families using a multisystemic approach, examining numeracy in the home as well as in school.  We will follow the development of numeracy over the two years of preschool. Data collected in this study will be used to design multisystemic interventions for preschool children at risk for difficulties with learning math. Fostering early numerical learning prepares children to benefit from formal math instruction upon Kindergarten entry. This project is directed by Dr. David Geary, Curators’ Professor in the MU Department of Psychological Sciences, in collaboration with co-investigators Dr. Sara Gable, Director of the Institute of Public Policy  in the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs, Dr. Jordan Booker, Professor in the MU Department of Psychological Sciences, and Dr. Jessica Rodrigues, Department of Special Education.

In 2021, we completed a project designed to examine the critical skills for Algebra readiness and success. In a collaboration with Columbia Public Schools, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, we assessed pre-algebra skills at the end of 6th grade, and have followed these participants through the end of 9th grade. We determined which pre-algebra skills predict success or failure in High School Algebra, and basic fraction skills accounted for a large portion of the predictors. We developed a screening measure for use in 6th grade. This will allow for very fine-tuned individual instruction on the skills that need development, and better algebra readiness. The current project is directed by Dr. David Geary, MU Department of Psychological Sciences, in collaboration with Dr. John Lannin in the MU Department of Learning, Teaching, & Curriculum.

In 2017, we completed a 6-year study of early cognitive skills and their importance to math development.  It was funded by the National Science Foundation, and involved the study of preschool children.  A subset of subjects were enrolled in Title I, a program for children at risk for school failure. We followed about 225 children from age 3 to age 6. Our goal was to identify the early quantitative knowledge in three-year-olds that predicts their readiness to learn formal mathematics when they start elementary school. This study was in collaboration with Dr. Kristy vanMarle in the MU Department of Psychological Sciences. You can read more about the Preschool Math Study here.

In 2013, we completed a large, 10-year study in which we assessed over 300 children from their Kindergarten year through 9th grade.  This project was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and uniquely contributed to the body of research on mathematical development and learning disabilities.  You can read more about the 10-year adolescent Math Study here