The Development of Academic Achievement and Cognitive Abilities: A Bidirectional Perspective.
Developing academic skills and cognitive abilities is critical for children's development. In this article, we review evidence from recent research on the bidirectional relations between academic achievement and cognitive abilities. Our findings suggest that (a) reading/mathematics and cognitive abilities (i.e., working memory, reasoning, and executive function) predict each other in development, (b) direct academic instruction positively affects the development of reasoning, and (c) such bidirectional relations between cognitive abilities and academic achievement seem weaker among children with disadvantages (e.g., those with special needs or low socioeconomic status). Together, these findings are in line with the theory of mutualism and the transactional model. They suggest that sustained and high-quality schooling and education directly foster children's academic and cognitive development, and may indirectly affect academic and cognitive development by triggering cognitive-academic bidirectionality.
Online Publication Date
Medical Research Council (MC_UP_1401/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00005/9)