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Rolf Tarrach Prize rewards PhD thesis on early math training

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Published on Friday, 12 July 2019

Good numeracy has been identified as a significant factor influencing future success, good health and personal development – and developing numerical abilities gives children a strong advantage on their future path.

On 11 July, Dr. Véronique Cornu from the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education received the Rolf Tarrach Prize 2019 for her outstanding doctoral thesis in theoretical and cognitive psychology.

Cornu distinguished herself with her thesis “The spatial road to mathematics – from the relation between spatial skills and early mathematics towards interventions”, which she completed at the Faculty’s Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET). Her research was supervised by Prof. Romain Martin, former Vice-rector for academic affairs.

Her research focuses on early mathematical abilities, developed prior to the onset of formal instruction, that serve as strong predictors of later mathematical achievement and numeracy. Cornu identifies spatial skills as key predictors of mathematical development in young children. By fostering these key abilities, children’s mathematical development should be positively influenced.

With regards to the Luxembourgish school setting, which is characterised by its heterogeneous student population from diverse language backgrounds, she developed a language-neutral early mathematics training tool “MaGrid”. The tool encompasses a vast amount of number-specific and spatial training tasks and can be used as a measure of early intervention to address the challenges of a multilingual school setting.

In September 2018, Véronique Cornu started to work as psychologist at the “Centre pour le développement des apprentissages Grande-Duchesse Maria Teresa” at the Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth.

The Rolf Tarrach Prize

The award for the best doctoral thesis in Luxembourg is bestowed yearly by the association Les Amis de l’Université and recognises the author of a doctoral thesis that contributes to the University of Luxembourg’s influence through its scientific excellence and the innovative nature of its work. The award comes with a prize of 10,000 euros, which is funded by CBP QUILVEST and the Foundation Luis Portabella y Conte Lacoste. The laureate is chosen from the best theses of the University’s three faculties.

See the programme of the evening here.

See a selection of images on our Facebook page:

 

From left to right large photo: Prof. Romain Martin, Prof. Rolf Tarrach and Dr. Véronique Cornu.

©Esther Jansen