Adaptive Number Knowledge in Secondary School Students: Profiles and Antecedents


  • Jake McMullen Orcid
  • Kaisa Kanerva
  • Erno Lehtinen
  • Minna M. Hannula-Sormunen
  • Noona Kiuru


The present study aims to examine inter-individual differences in adaptive number knowledge in secondary school students. Adaptive number knowledge is defined as a well-connected network of knowledge of numerical characteristics and arithmetic relations. Substantial and relevant qualitative differences in the strategies and expression of adaptive number knowledge have been found in primary school students still in the process of learning arithmetic. We present a study involving 879 seventh-grade students that examines the structure of individual differences in adaptive number knowledge with students who have completed one year of algebra instruction. Results of a latent profile analysis reveal a model that is similar than was previously found in primary school students. As well, arithmetic fluency and the development of arithmetic fluency are strong predictors of adaptive number knowledge latent profile membership. These results suggest that adaptive number knowledge may be characteristic of high-level performance extending into secondary school, even after formal instruction with arithmetic concludes.