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Assessing Children's Early Mathematics Skills and Concepts

Bleach, Margaret, J., Kinsella, William and Lalor, Terri (2015) Assessing Children's Early Mathematics Skills and Concepts. In: British Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference (BECERA), 17th-18th February 2015, mac Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Research aims and questions:
The aim was to design a test that assesses the early Mathematical skills and concepts (AEMSC) of pre-school children (aged 3-4 years).

Relationship to previous studies by others and self:
Research findings consistently highlight the importance of early numeracy, in particular, as an indicator of future academic success. However, it is difficult to find an assessment instrument that measures children's numeracy outcomes in a child-friendly, play based and culturally appropriate way. As part of the Dublin Docklands Early Numeracy Programme, the AEMSC, which is a non-parametric criterion-referenced test, was developed to measure children's early math language, skills and concepts.

Theoretical and conceptual framework of research:
The design was based on the two approaches to Assessment in Ireland: Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Learning (NCCA 2007, 2009).

Paradigm, methodology and methods:
The action research cycle (McNiff and Whitehead 2006) informed the development and use of the AEMSC, which can be used in a pre and post-test situation.

Ethical considerations:
University College Dublin and the National College of Ireland's ethical guidelines were observed. Good practice in relation to assessment and action research was followed. As the participants were within a vulnerable category (under 18 years of age) explicit consent was obtained from parents / guardians. Through the administration of the assessment anonymity was strictly controlled. Specific consideration was given to participants who exhibited learning and behavioural difficulties which may have been construed as presenting an ethical dilemma. The risk assessment was categorised as minimal due to the participants being in their own natural environment and appropriately trained test administrators. Confidentiality and data protection standards were strictly adhered to.

Main findings or discussion:
The AEMSC provides early years services with regular, reliable and comprehensive data on children's Mathematical development, which can be shared with parents and other professionals. It also provides evidence of programme impact and enables the developers to monitor progress and address programme weakness.

Implications, practice or policy:
The AEMSC provides a working framework in which pre-school children's abilities in Mathematics are recognised, learning needs are identified and action plans devised to support their learning. The data for individual pupils, programmes and services can then be used to improve children's Mathematical outcomes.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Early childhood education
Divisions: Early Learning Initiative Publications
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 15:08
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2015 15:08
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/1949

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