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Concepts that are hard to figure;Resarch update

Many Reception children don't develop an understanding of numbers that would help them meet the demands of formal numeracy, Dr Penny Munn concludes in a new study. She suggests this is partly the result of pre-school preparation for baseline assessment.

Too much time is spent on the number recognition skills emphasised in the tests, while key number concepts are being ignored.

Dr Munn's study of 72 children compared their performance on tasks showing their grasp of the logic of numbers with the school's scores on maths baseline assessment.

She found that almost all children made some progress, most by learning more number words and numerals. Few, however, made advances in more complex aspects of number logic. In other words, while numeral recognition was closely related to baseline scores, number logic scores were not.

Dr Penny Munn, Psychology Department, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancs. PR1 2HE

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