Assessing preschool number sense: skills demonstrated by children prior to school entry

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Components of early number sense, as identified in two Delphi studies and in the number sense literature related to mathematics difficulties, were assessed for 176 children in preschools and childcare centres across one local government area in Sydney, Australia, using tasks or modifications of tasks reported in the number sense literature. In addition, the children's receptive vocabulary was measured using The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (third edition) and math reasoning was measured using Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Although the children demonstrated a broad range of skills, there were no significant differences between children attending childcare and preschools for any of the measures. However, boys performed significantly better than girls in quantitative concepts and girls performed better than boys in subitising. In discussing the data, a comparison is made of the skills demonstrated by children and skills that were highlighted in the two Delphi studies and in the early number sense literature as being essential components of number sense prior to school entry. Implications for kindergarten mathematics curricula and approaches to the teaching of early number skills are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-429
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • preschool
  • assessment
  • number sense


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