USNS Project

Universal Screeners for Number Sense

Interview-based K-5 math screeners designed by teachers to assess for elementary school students' number sense. This open-source project provides free, high-quality assessment tools to over 3,600 schools in the US and internationally.

The screeners are quick assessments that help to identify skills and concepts that indicate readiness for grade level content, as well as identify students who would benefit from additional supports.

The fall screeners are interview-based. The midyear and spring screeners have both an interview component and written tasks. A select number of tasks may be administered online rather than as written tasks.

The USNS assessments are intended for elementary school students in kindergarten through fifth grade. They may also be used to assess older students that may struggle with K-5 grade-level math concepts.
Each interview is intended to take 5 minutes. Written tasks in the midyear and spring screeners can take an additional 10-12 minutes per student. Note that completion times can vary.

Sample USNS Tasks

Focus on Number Sense

Teacher-created assessments

David Woodward, lead author on the USNS project, was a math coach in Boulder Valley School District in Colorado when he founded Forefront Education. Although Forefront Education hosts the USNS project, the screener assessments and related resources are free, with the purpose of making high-quality assessment tools affordable and accessible to educators everywhere.


Meaningful measures of student learning

The screeners are valid, reliable, and criterion-references measures of student learning.

Predictive validity

Wilkins, Woodward and Norton 2020 confirmed the predictive validity of the USNS. Prior to this research, the BVSD assessment editions demonstrated strong correlations with the Colorado Measures of Academic Progress for predicting results of both the fall Screener to the spring state test and the spring state test to the fall Screeners.


The USNS tasks include detailed rubrics with task descriptions, including examples and other clarifications. These detailed rubrics and descriptions contribute significantly to the assessments’ inter-rater reliability and provide guidance for local experts to assist with training and scoring.


The USNS puts teachers, rather than computers, at the center of work to understand and support student learning. Through the USNS interview process, teachers build relationships with students and gain valuable insights into student learning.

Forefront®, by Forefront Education, helps educators collect, aggregate, and visualize assessment results. The software allows educators to isolate student performance and growth, as well as aggregate results across classes, schools, districts, and the Global Cohort for the USNS project. Demo the software here.

The USNS task criteria are tied to the expectations defined by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. The detailed assessment rubric section includes descriptions of the target skills of each task. Task performance is indicative of each of the skills and concepts as defined by Common Core.

English and Spanish

The USNS assessments are available in both English and Spanish to support quality assessment of Spanish-speaking learners.

See the USNS Project in Action

Watch a Sample Interview - Coming Soon

Need resources to support your USNS implementation?

Explore our USNS Project resource page for virtual slides, sample interviews, and documentation. If you are looking to discuss best practices and next steps with teachers and interventionists that use the USNS assessments, join the community of teachers and interventionists using the USNS assessments in the Number Sense Screener Facebook group linked below.