Measuring categorisation in pre-school children: new toolkit, new insights
Keywords:Categorisation, preschool children, child development, measurement, sex differences, socio-economic status
Introduction: whilst recent years have witnessed considerable research into infant categorisation, its development during the pre-school period has garnered far less interest and innovation.
Objective: this paper documents the development of a valid and reliable new toolkit for measuring categorisation in children, designed to allow fine-grained differentiation through four short tasks.
Methods: the paper outlines how a pilot study with 55 children reduced confounding variables, ruled out several explanations for performance variations and enabled procedural refinements. It then documents a study conducted with 190 children aged 30-60 months.
Results: this more sophisticated testing mechanism challenges previously accepted developmental norms and suggests both sex and socio-economic status (and their interaction) influence categorisational abilities in pre-schoolers.
Conclusion: the results indicate that preschool children’s ability to categorise varies markedly, with implications for their capacity to access formal education.
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