Exploring the effects of an adaptive number ebook on parental attitudes toward mathematics

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Mary Fuhs


Mathematical knowledge is vitally important to young children's development, as research demonstrates that it is a strong predictor of their later academic achievement (Duncan et al., 2007). Developing these skills early in life is crucial, as it allows children the opportunity to develop the necessary foundational skills for early schooling instruction. As parents typically serve as the primary instructors for preschool-aged children, outside of child care or preschool programs, researchers must examine the role of parents in their children's emergent math skills in order to provide the best education to these young children. Parental attitudes toward a particular subject have been demonstrated to affect the amount of time they dedicate to teaching their children said subject (e.g., Missall et al., 2015). This thesis sought to examine if parental attitudes towards mathematics could be improved by the use of an adaptive number eBook. The use of technology has been demonstrated to aid young children's ability to learn literacy and math skills (e.g., Shamir, 2009), and the present thesis sought to test the role that parents may play in this context. The eBook provided an electronic space for children to learn math skills using adaptive features, meaning the stimuli increased or decreased in complexity based on children's prior performance. The study examined the effects of the adaptive qualities of the eBook on parental attitudes towards mathematics, and also explored if parents' perceptions of their child's global and specific math skills in numerical comparison increased after reading the number eBooks. Overall, significant differences between eBook types were found for parental perceptions of children's numerical comparison skills, but results indicated no significant differences for parental attitudes toward mathematics or parental perceptions of children's global math skills. Effect sizes indicated that use of the adaptive eBook may have positively impacted parental attitudes in a small way, and may have positively impacted parent perception of children's specific math skills on a large scale. These findings, their implications, and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Developmental Psychology, Early Childhood Education, preschool education, parental attitudes, mathematics, eBooks

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