Conceptual Replication and Extension of the Relation Between the Number Line Estimation Task and Mathematical Competence Across Seven Studies


  • Alexa Ellis Orcid
  • María Inés Susperreguy Orcid
  • David J. Purpura Orcid
  • Pamela E. Davis-Kean Orcid


A recent meta-analysis demonstrated the overall correlation between the number line estimation (NLE) task and children’s mathematical competence was r = .44 (positively recoded), and this relation increased with age. The goal of the current study was to conceptually replicate and extend these results by further synthesizing this correlation utilizing studies not present in the meta-analysis. Across seven studies, 954 participants, ranging from 3 to 11 years old (Age M = 6.02 years, SD = 1.57), the overall estimation-competence correlations were similar to those of the meta-analysis and ranged from r = −.40 to −.35. The current conceptual replication demonstrated that the meta-analysis captured a stable overall relation between performance on the NLE task and mathematical competence. However, the current study failed to replicate the same moderation of age group presented in the meta-analysis. Furthermore, the current study extended results by assessing the stability and predictive validity of the NLE task while controlling for covariates. Results suggested that the NLE task demonstrated poor stability and predictive validity in the seven samples present in this study. Thus, although concurrent relations replicated, the differential age moderation, lack of stability, and lack of predictive validity in these studies require a more nuanced approach to understanding the utility of the NLE task. Future research should focus on understanding the connection between children’s developmental progression and NLE measurement before further investigating the predictive and diagnostic importance of the task for broader mathematical competence.