USNS Project

Universal Screeners for Number Sense

Interview-based and pencil and paper K-6 math screeners designed by teachers to assess for students' number sense. This open-source project provides free, high-quality assessment tools to over 9,000 schools in the US and internationally.

elementary math screener


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. Learn more about these assessments and how to conduct them on the USNS Resources page.

Age range

The USNS assessments are intended for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. They may also be used to assess older students that may struggle with kindergarten through sixth grade-level math concepts.

Completion time

Interviews range from 3 - 5 minutes in kinder, to 7 - 12 minutes in 5th grade. Written tasks in midyear and spring can be administered whole class and take 30 - 50 minutes. 

See the USNS Project in Action

Watch Sample Interviews


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 tie to Common Core State Standards for Mathematics expectations. 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. USNS Family Letters, included with Forefront software plan subscriptions, are also available in both English and Spanish.

Alabama’s Elementary Mathematics Task Force Recommends the USNS as an Early Numeracy Screener for K-2

We are excited that Alabama recommends Forefront's Universal Screeners for Number Sense as a K-2 early numeracy screener. Learn more about the recommendations of the Elementary Mathematics Task Force and how Forefront can help Alabama educators improve student learning.


Bring your USNS implementation to the Forefront®

Turn USNS results into actionable insights and give teachers access to exclusive content with a Forefront subscription.

Actionable data tools

Make your USNS results come to life with powerful reports that allow you to access detailed profiles of student learning and identify trends across grade levels and over time. Watch a demo of our data tools today or request access to a sample Forefront sandbox account.

Improve Family Communication

Help parents understand and support their child's number sense development with the USNS Family Letters! Each letter includes information about performance on critical number sense concepts, areas for improvement, and ideas to support learning at home.

Instructional Activities

Forefront®'s exclusive USNS Next Steps documents help teachers turn Universal Screeners for Number Sense results into meaningful action. Included in Forefront software plan subscriptions, the USNS Next Steps documents provide instructional suggestions for all K-5 tasks.

Learning opportunities

Access discounted professional learning opportunities with your Forefront subscription. Work directly with the lead author of the USNS assessments, David Woodward, to ensure a high-quality implementation that will improve students' mathematical development across your district.

Need More Free Resources?

Visit the USNS Project resource page for additional sample interviews, on-demand presentations, virtual slides, FAQs, and other resources to help your USNS implementation be successful.