Beginning Math Assessment

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Assessment is a word that many educators have come to dislike, but we all know that assessment drives instruction. It is important to know where your learners are at in order to teach them effectively.  My beginning literacy skills assessment is great way to see what your young learners know for alphabet knowledge, and phonological and phonemic awareness.  Now it’s time to focus on getting your learners math instruction ready with this free beginning math assessment.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS

At the beginning of the school year, it’s important to know where to start your math instruction. Assessing your learners is the best place to start.  From numbers to sorting and patterns to positional words, this assessment has it all. It will provide you with the information your need to plan your whole group, small group and math centers instruction.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS


The first portion of the assessment focuses on the numbers your learners know.  Have your learners identify and write the numerals from 1-20 using the Number Identification pages and assessment sheet.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS


Next, using the dot circles to determine whether your learners are able to subitize, instantly know the number, or if they have to count the dots to tell you how many are in each circle.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS


Now it is time to count with your learners.  Ask you learners to rote count as high as they can and document what number they counted to without any mistakes or any guidance.  Next, assess your learners one-to-one correspondence by having them count a set of objects (start with 10, 12 or 20 depending on the age of your learner).

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS

Colors and Shapes

Then, use the Color and Shape Identification sheets to assess your learners recognition of their colors and shapes.  Most of your learners will know the basic colors and shapes they see, but some may not know all the colors or shapes included.  That is why it is so important to know what your learners are capable of when planning your instruction.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS


Classifying or sorting objects is next on the assessment.  Provide your learners with foam shapes (like the ones pictured), sorting bears or sorting circles and have your learners sort them.  Document how they chose to sort the objects and if they were able to verbalize how they sorting them to you.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS

Positional Words

Next up, are positional words.  Use a chair and object from your classroom or dollhouse furniture to have your learner place the object around the chair or furniture according to your commands.  If your learners puts the object in the wrong place note where they put the object.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS


Making, completing and creating patterns are essential for beginning math.  Have your learners complete a pattern you make and create their own new pattern.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS

Exploring  Numbers

The final portion of the assessment is exploring numbers.  I try to get an idea of how comfortable my learners are with their numbers and at times add additional questions like, “Which number is worth more?” or “Point to the smaller number.” and make a note on the assessment page.

But, for starters I have the learners place the numbers 1-12 in order for least to greatest and if they are able to do this skill I continue by having them order the numbers from greatest to least.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS

Then, I have the learners help me to compose and decompose numbers.  I prompt them with “Donut Stories” by giving a simple problem.  For example, “If John had 5 chocolate donuts and Sam had 4 strawberry donuts, how many donuts did they have total?”.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS

Another story may sound like, “I need 5 donuts for my friends.  Can you show me a way a can make 5 donuts?”  If the learner is able to make 5 donuts I ask them how they made 5 donuts and write down how they solved the problem.  (Example: 5= 3 + 2)

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS
That’s it…ALL DONE!  Now it is time to look over the results and determine how to instruct my learners.  If less that 25% of my learners are unable to identify their colors and shapes, I will create a small group to work with during our math block focusing on those skills.  If more than 50% are unable to subitize then I will plan a lot of dice and domino games during our whole group mini-lessons to focus on this skill and reassess.

Assessment should drive instruction in your classroom and I want to help make that possible by providing you with the materials used in this post.  You can download the Beginning Math Assessment resources by clicking the download button at the bottom of this post.

Beginning Math Skills Assessment - MJCS

Need a way to assess you learners for literacy instruction, be sure to check out my Beginning Literacy Assessment post.

FREE Beginning Literacy Assessment for Pre-K and Kindergarten

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progress monitoring in the early elementary classroom for math, literacy and reading

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