Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Assisting Children to Acquire Number Sense in Primary Mathematics: Development of an Assessment Instrument

Zurida Ismail, Munirah Ghazali.

This paper will discuss the process of developing instruments for assessing children's number sense in the following components: counting, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division and place value. Elementary problems requiring the applications of the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) for their solution constitute the core of what is commonly thought of as number sense. However, recent findings have strongly indicated that most Malaysian school children do not display good number sense and predictably have an average standing in mathematics achievement compared to other nations. It is our belief that the study and development of such abilities in students should be an integral part of the mathematics curriculum and that the early years of schooling are deemed crucial in providing the kind of positive start to students' number sense learning. When highlighting number sense, teachers should focus on the solution strategies used by students rather than on a "right answer", on thinking rather than on the mechanical application of rules, and on student-generated solutions rather than on teacher-supplied answers. The interview-based assessment instrument that was developed is seen to have the potential to assist teachers in diagnosing children's understanding of number sense in terms of the knowledge of strategies used and their relative sophistication, as well as indications of hesitancy and the exact nature of errors and misunderstandings revealed by the students


Zurida Ismail  (Malaysia)
Associate Professor in Science Education
School of Educational Studies
Universiti Sains Malaysia

Munirah Ghazali  (Malaysia)

  • Number sense
  • Assessment
  • Primary mathematics
  • Place-value
Person as Subject
  • Primary school students

(Virtual Presentation, English)