An examination of developmentally sequenced mathematical prerequisites for teaching coin summation to mentally retarded adults

Larry Steven Borakove, Fordham University


This study explored the feasibility of teaching a monetary subskill, coin summation, to severely and moderately mentally retarded adults naive with respect to mathematical skills and concepts generally presumed to be necessary prerequisites. It investigated whether coin summation skill acquisition would result in positive transfer to these mathematical prerequisites. Finally, it examined if there was a comparative savings in coin summation training time for prerequisite-proficient and prerequisite-naive students. Forty adult subjects residing in a suburban developmental center who attended a community-based day treatment program were randomly selected from a group of 71 students by administering a preliminary screening test. The study utilized a pretest-posttest control group design with a follow-up measure. Four groups, each consisting of 10 subjects were formed: an experimental group of arithmetic prerequisite-proficient subjects, an experimental group consisting of prerequisite-naive subjects, two control groups consisting of subjects corresponding with each experimental group. The experimental groups received coin summation training sessions using a prosthetic coin displacement procedure. Control groups concurrently participating in sessions were provided with unrelated tasks. This study suggested that some severely and moderately mentally retarded adult individuals acquired proficiency in coin summation without a priori possession of developmentally sequenced arithmetic skills. Students competent in these prerequisite skills generally seemed to acquire coin summation skills more proficiently. Some evidence of positive transfer to prerequisite arithmetic skills as a result of teaching this higher-order monetary subskill appeared to occur. Initial proficiency in prerequisite skills did not seem to produce a savings in coin summation training time. Prerequisite-proficient students required fewer trials to attain a correct response criterion during the modeling with subject imitation and independent counting training phases. An aptitude/treatment interaction and individual learning differences provided support for the utilization of an integrated cognitive-developmental and behavioral-remedial approach for teaching mathematics and coin summation skills to this mentally retarded population.

Subject Area

Special education|Mathematics education

Recommended Citation

Borakove, Larry Steven, "An examination of developmentally sequenced mathematical prerequisites for teaching coin summation to mentally retarded adults" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8821951.