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Number Identification: A Unique Developmental Pathway in Mathematics?

Cramman, H.; Gott, S.; Little, J.; Merrell, C.; Tymms, P.; Copping, L.T.

Number Identification: A Unique Developmental Pathway in Mathematics? Thumbnail


S. Gott

J. Little

C. Merrell

L.T. Copping


We make a prima facie case for identifying a single pathway in the learning of Hindu-Arabic numerical symbols and discuss why this ability may be a critical gateway concept in developing mathematical competencies. A representative sample of English and Scottish children was assessed using a number symbol identification paradigm in the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) Baseline assessment at the beginning and end of their first school year. Through a Rasch analysis of real and simulated data, we show that: (1) there appears to be a single, unidimensional pathway in learning to identify number symbols with discrete difficulty stages, (2) on examination of differential item functioning, this pathway is invariant across gender, country, socio-economic background, first language and across the first year of schooling and (3) almost all children make progress along the pathway during the year. A number identification scale may thus be a universal ruler by which all pupils could be assessed.


Cramman, H., Gott, S., Little, J., Merrell, C., Tymms, P., & Copping, L. (2020). Number Identification: A Unique Developmental Pathway in Mathematics?. Research Papers in Education, 35(2), 117-143.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 11, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 1, 2018
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Oct 17, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 1, 2020
Journal Research Papers in Education
Print ISSN 0267-1522
Electronic ISSN 1470-1146
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 2
Pages 117-143


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