Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Peng Peng

Date of this Version


Document Type



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate college at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Special Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Peng Peng. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Xin Lin.


The purpose of the study was to explore the domain-general and domain-specific profile of two important mathematics difficulties. Three domain-general measures (working memory, processing speed, reasoning), and three domain-specific measures (language comprehension, mathematics vocabulary, math fluency) were completed among 125 Chinese 4th grade students. Of these 125 students, 28 were classified as students with only calculation difficulties (CD), 34 were classified as having problem-solving difficulties (PD), 20 were classified as students with calculation and problem-solving difficulties (CPD), and 43 were typically developing (TD) peers. Multivariate analysis showed that, compared to TD, CD was associated with weakness in working memory and mathematics vocabulary. PD was associated with deficit in language comprehension as well as mathematics vocabulary. These findings, taken together, suggest that CD and PD represent distinct MD deficit. CD was associated with weakness in numerical working memory, whereas PD was associated with weakness in language comprehension. Both CD and PD were experiencing mathematics vocabulary deficit. Implications for understanding mathematics competence and identification of mathematics difficulties are discussed.