A stronger maths foundation in first grade


  • First grade academics can discover out who’s on monitor with math and who’s lagging, utilizing an correct diagnostic check that they will administer within the classroom.
  • After Covid-19 faculty reopening, or throughout catch-up periods within the holidays, that is instrument will also be helpful, particularly in massive, multilingual lecture rooms.
  • The check is supplemented by a 15-week 1-hour-a week “maths enhance” invention program for first graders.
  • This system supplies academics good educational materials to help kids in an environment friendly means.
  • Uniquely, the check measures numeracy abilities together with listening comprehension and government features, pinpointing extra the explanation why college students enhance after intervention.

Six-year-olds cannot actually speak to adults in regards to the issues they might expertise with arithmetic. It’s laborious for academics to know for sure who’s maintaining and who’s lagging, says Prof Elizabeth Henning from the College of Johannesburg.

The trainer could possibly be going through 45 and even 60 little faces within the classroom, she says.

Some kids might seem to manage after a couple of weeks’ faculty vacation or closures as a result of Covid-19. However early childhood academics want to grasp what kids keep in mind and what might have been forgotten. Faculty reopening is an efficient time to search out out the place everyone seems to be with math and studying, she continues.

Henning is a South Africa Analysis Chair of the nation’s Nationwide Analysis Basis.

“When children come to highschool, even for first grade, you do not know what they already know. At residence they might have realized to recite quantity phrases and use them as if to state ‘what number of’, however that doesn’t imply that they perceive quantity but,” says Henning.

“They see their care-givers bake and prepare dinner and clear. Some kids are despatched to the retailers earlier than they will learn. They study some maths at residence – however each house is totally different,” she says.

Many children study this fundamental math of their residence languages.

“Then they arrive to elementary faculty and ‘parallel monitor’ if this faculty teaches via medium of English. They begin studying the identical ideas in a brand new language, which in South Africa is usually English.

“When the primary grade trainer would not know the house languages of the younger learners, they cannot translate or code change after they see the children struggling,” says Henning.

Prof Henning is among the researchers within the examine who tailored a Finnish evidence-based check for first graders in South Africa.

In South Africa many children study in English at college, however most converse quite a lot of African languages at residence.

The check itself will not be distinctive, however measuring numeracy and different related management measures in school-based intervention is, says Prof Pirjo Aunio. Aunio is from the Division of Schooling on the College of Helsinki.

She is corresponding writer of the examine, and one of many lead designers of the unique Finnish check and the 15-week 1-hour-a week maths enhance programme for first graders. The examine has been printed within the Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

“An important lead to our examine was that the intervention group, these kids who had further observe in early numeracy abilities with the 15-week program, had an even bigger and sustained enhance of their numerical relational abilities, in comparison with kids who adopted enterprise as normal instruction,” continues Aunio.

“The impact was not a results of higher language or government features abilities, nor kindergarten attendance, however due to our intervention program,” she says.

“What made me extraordinarily completely satisfied is that this program’s supplies are low cost and simple to make use of. So this system is probably very helpful on a big scale as nicely,” says Aunio.

The examine supplies an uncommon follow-up view of first graders’ progress in fundamental numeracy, says Henning.

“We came upon how dependable the check is as a result of we examined the primary graders at the start of their faculty yr, once more after the 15-week maths enhance program and once more a couple of months after they accomplished the maths enhance. Youngsters studying in English as a second language are particularly conscious of the check,” she says.

“Many children get misplaced to arithmetic and science in center faculty. However it would not should be that means,” says Henning.

“Way more college students can arrive at center faculty with the inspiration wanted to graduate from highschool with good math scores”, she says. Which means extra college students can go onto faculty for technical, enterprise and engineering careers.

The muse begins in first grade, when the trainer digs deep to discover out what’s on the backside of the children’ math data, in order that she will educate with totally different people’ math competence in thoughts. A technique of doing so is to check the children at the start of the varsity yr with a dependable check, such because the one within the examine.

Says Henning: “We like this check and 15-week intervention program as a result of they’re simple to make use of they usually work. With a sturdy basis in first grade, academics in different grades can construct on it in a scientific development. But when the early constructing blocks are lacking, it is extremely laborious to catch upon maths misplaced early on.”


PHOTOS: Excessive decision and internet dimension pictures in 16×9 facet ratio appropriate for video, obtainable for obtain from Google Drive at

Photograph captions and credit in a separate file within the folder.

INTERVIEWS: For electronic mail interviews or questions, contact Prof Elizabeth Henning at and Prof Pirjo Aunio at

For radio/TV interviews by way of cell phone / Skype / Zoom with Prof Henning, contact Ms Therese van Wyk at or +27 71 139 8407 (cellular) in Johannesburg, UTC + 2

EXTENDED VERSION OF RELEASE: An extended model of the discharge with extra dialogue from Prof Henning and Prof Pirjo is out there for obtain at

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! aren’t accountable for the accuracy of reports releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing establishments or for using any info via the EurekAlert system.


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