Riikka Mononen

5Riikka Mononen, PhD
Associate Professor

Department of Special Needs Education
University of Oslo, Norway





Mononen’s research focuses on the development of mathematical skills and factors related to mathematical learning difficulties, as well as assessment and intervention for children at risk for or having mathematical learning difficulties. She has been involved in developing mathematics assessment and intervention materials for Finnish and Norwegian children aged 6-8 years old. Currently, she takes part in two intervention studies in Norway: one focusing on using a small-group ThinkMath intervention with low-performing first graders, and another using an app called Vektor (cognitionmatters.org) to improve the basic mathematics skills of second graders. In addition, she takes part in a study, which focuses on the relations between mathematics performance and motivation in third graders in four different European countries.

Five references:

  • Aunio, P. & R. Mononen (2017). The effects of educational computer game on low-performing children’s early numeracy skills — An intervention study in a preschool setting.  European Journal of Special Needs Education, 1–15.
  • Mononen, R., & P. Aunio (2016). Counting skills intervention for low-performing first graders. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 6(1), a407.
  • Mononen, R., Aunio, P., Koponen, T., & M. Aro (2014). A review of early numeracy interventions for children at risk in mathematics. International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, 6(1), 25-54.
  • Mononen, R., Aunio, P., & T. Koponen (2014). A pilot study of the effects of RightStart instruction on early numeracy skills of children with specific language impairment. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(5), 999–1014.
  • Mononen, R. (2014). Early mathematics interventions: Supporting young children with low performance in mathematics. Research report 362. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.

Description of the plenary lecture

Evidence-based educational support for children at risk for mathematical learning difficulties

Early mathematical skills form the basis for learning mathematics at school. Research shows that early mathematical skills also strongly predict the later performance in mathematics. Thus, it is important to identify those children who perform poorly in their early mathematical skills, and provide them with adequate educational support early on. Around 15–20% of students struggle with their mathematics learning at school. The aim of using evidence-based interventions for those children who have been identified as being at risk of mathematics learning difficulties is to boost their mathematics performance near to the level of their age peers. This talk will focus on introducing and discussing the effective instructional methods for improving mathematics performance of children at risk of mathematical learning difficulties, within the age group of 6–8 year olds. In addition, the results of the intervention studies using the ThinkMath intervention program (thinkmathglobal.com) for the first graders in Finland and Norway will be presented.