Mathematics Support Materials

Mathematics snapshot: Evaluation of data from an on-entry assessment

Mathematics/Number and Algebra and Measurement and Geometry

Content Description Relevant aspects of the Achievement Standards

Establish understanding of the language and processes of counting by naming numbers in sequences, initially to and from 20, moving from  any starting point (ACMNA001)

Connect number names, numerals and quantities, including zero, initially up to 10 and then beyond (ACMNA002)

Subitise small collections of objects (ACMNA003)

Compare, order and make correspondences between collections, initially to 20, and explain reasoning (ACMNA289)

Use direct and indirect comparisons to decide which is longer, heavier or holds more, and explain reasoning in everyday language (ACMMG006)

Compare and order the duration of events using the everyday language of time (ACMMG007)

Sort, describe and name familiar two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional objects in the environment (ACMMG009)

By the end of the Foundation year, students make connections between number names, numerals and quantities up to 10. They compare objects using mass, length and capacity. Students connect events and the days of the week. They explain the order and duration of events. They use appropriate language to describe location.

Students count to and from 20 and order small collections. They group objects based on common characteristics and sort shapes and objects. Students answer simple questions to collect information.

Nature of the assessment

The Pre-primary teachers used an on-entry numeracy assessment to gather baseline data on students’ numeracy understandings and skills. The assessment was a one-to-one interview and included oral questions that students could respond to verbally or by demonstrating their level of understanding using materials and equipment. The teachers recorded the students’ responses.

Purpose of the assessment

To assess students’ numeracy knowledge, skills and understandings to:

  • develop a profile of each student
  • inform focused teaching of students
  • provide baseline data to evaluate their teaching programs.

Analysing the data

The teachers reviewed individual student profiles and their class profiles in terms of students’ knowledge and understanding of:

  • principles of counting
  • number recognition
  • strategies for addition and subtraction
  • comparison of length, height and mass
  • time
  • shapes.

The teachers reviewed their students’ performance on each question. They considered what the students needed to know or understand to answer each question correctly and the percentage of students who answered the question correctly. They also looked at students misconceptions when they got an answer wrong.

Using the assessment information

The teachers identified a large spread of ability in the cohort from those students who struggled to count to 20 through to students who could, for example, match numbers to dots with relative ease, count in 10s and 5s, count on from 84. They used their evaluation of the data to inform their planning of whole class lessons and small group lessons and activities. They also used the information to evaluate their programs including class and cohort strengths and areas requiring additional focus. The data also helped them to reflect on their own curriculum and pedagogical knowledge.

Following their evaluation of the data they agreed end-of-year targets and planned future evaluation of their students’ growth in numeracy learning.