Academic achievement is a complex construct that involves coordination among many cognitive processes. Two dominant measures come to mind when discussing academic success: math and reading achievement. The roots of math and reading emerge early in life. For example, infants can perceptually discriminate between basic quantities (e.g., 8 vs. 16) and sounds (e.g., bad vs. sad). This discrimination process, although evolutionarily beneficial, does not appear to depend on the same representation system that is seen in educational practices.

A representational shift between infancy and early childhood is assumed to occur because simple perceptual discrimination is not as precise a process as complex cognitions associated with math and reading. Although infants can discriminate between the quantities of 8 and 16 with little difficulty, they fail to discriminate ...

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