Screening pre-school children's numeracy skills in Singaporean context

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Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
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A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that math skills are as important as reading skills in predicting a child' academic success (Duncan, Dowsett, Claessens, Magnuson, Huston, Klebanov, ... & Sexton, 2007)). Low numeracy skills are usually associated with illness, worse health care (Parsons & Bynner, 2005). Therefore, early identification of children at risk for poor math skills becomes critical for education system and teachers in classroom. Currently, tests mostly focus on math skills taught in school, which does not address the foundational processes that allow children to acquire educationally-relevant skills, such as arithmetic fluency. Numerical magnitude and its association with numerical symbols are regarded as one of foundational competencies for children early mathematical learning. Therefore, tests should include measures of numerical magnitude processing.<br> The Numeracy Screener developed by Dr. Nadia Nosworthy and Dr. Daniel Ansari (who was a Visiting Professor at NIE and is the Visiting Investigator on the NRF VIP Grant housed at NIE) in Canada has been used to measure individual differences in early numerical magnitude processing. The test includes two section: section A consists of symbolic items (56 digit pairs); section B is comprised non-symbolic items (56 pairs of dot arrays). Children are required to cross out the larger number in for symbolic pairs and cross out the dot arrays containing more dots for non-symbolic items. This paper-and-pen test only requires 2-4 minutes. Current research, conducted in Canada, has indicated that both symbolic and non-symbolic number comparison accuracy were related to individual differences in arithmetic achievement. However, only symbolic number comparison performance accounted for unique variance in arithmetic achievement (Nosworthy et al., 2013). Also, Matejko and Ansari (2016) found that children exhibited greater gains in symbolic compared to non-symbolic numerical magnitude processing over the course of the 1st grade of formal school. To the best of our knowledge, this Numeracy Screener has only been tested in Canada. The aim of this project is to investigate whether the Numeracy Screener can by utilized to better understand individual differences in foundational numerical abilities among preschool children in Singapore.
Note: Restricted to NIE staff.
Numeracy screener, Singapore pre-school, Numeracy skills
Chen, O., Tan, D., Tay, M. L., & Ansari, D. (2020). Screening pre-school children's numeracy skills in Singaporean context (Report No. SUG 02/18 COH). National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.