Skip to main content
How feedback improves children’s numerical estimation
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2016)
  • Hilary Barth, Wesleyan University
  • Emily Slusser, San Jose State University
  • Shipra Kanjlia, Wesleyan University
  • Jennifer Garcia, Wesleyan University
  • Jessica Taggart, Wesleyan University
  • Elizabeth Chase, Wesleyan University
Developmental change in children’s number-line estimation has been thought to reveal a categorical logarithmic-to-linear shift in mental representations of number. Some have claimed that the broad and rapid change in estimation patterns that occurs with corrective feedback provides strong evidence for this shift. However, quantitative models of proportion judgment may provide a better account of children's estimation patterns while also predicting broad and rapid change following feedback. Here we test the hypothesis that local corrective feedback provides children with additional reference points, rather than catalyzing a shift to a different mental representation of number. We tested 117 children from several second-grade classrooms in a number-line feedback study. Data indicate that the proportion-judgment framework accounts for individual differences in estimation patterns, and that the effects of feedback are consistent with the unique quantitative predictions of the framework. They do not provide evidence supporting the representational shift hypothesis or, more broadly, for the proposal that cognitive change can occur rapidly at the level of entire mental representations.
  • Cognitive development,
  • Mathematical cognition
Publication Date
August, 2016
Publisher Statement
SJSU users: use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.
Citation Information
Hilary Barth, Emily Slusser, Shipra Kanjlia, Jennifer Garcia, et al.. "How feedback improves children’s numerical estimation" Psychonomic Bulletin & Review Vol. 23 Iss. 4 (2016) p. 1198 - 1205 ISSN: 1069-9384
Available at: