USNS Predictive Validity

USNS predictive validity

3 Questions at the Beginning of Second Grade

Three questions from the fall Universal Screeners for Number Sense (USNS) reliably identify students who are very likely to struggle for years.

The study involving more than 5700 students revealed that students who are still working to learn their forward number word sequences, and who have not yet developed the ability to use a count on strategy to solve an addition problem, were very likely to not perform at the proficient level on their state assessment in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. (Wilkins, Woodward & Norton, 2020)

Students in the “prenumerical” category were unable to recite forward number sequences to 100 and were unable to mentally add 9 + 6 in the fall of 2nd grade.

Using USNS Results for Critical Interventions

The Universal Screeners for Number Sense focus on the skills and concepts researchers have identified for decades as being indicators of the development of mathematical cognition. Using these Screeners, which have a strong interview component, districts are identifying not only which students to pay more attention to, but where to focus their efforts. Empowered with this information schools can put prompt, proactive, preventative measures into place to support students before they fail.

Far too often schools are caught off guard when the results of 3rd grade state test results come in and the numbers are disappointing, or even alarming. Some schools have assessments in place that reliably flag those students in the early grades, but the teachers are not provided with enough information to target their efforts and instruction in a way that makes a difference. The fact is that most measures used to screen students are not focused on the most critical aspects of early numeracy. Even fewer provide information at the level of detail necessary for teachers to focus instructional responses. Early identification of students who are at risk is critical, but knowing where to target efforts and resources is just as important for schools to get ahead and support students during their early years in school.

“The fact is that most measures that are used to screen students are not focused on the most critical aspects of early numeracy, and fewer still provide information at the necessary level of detail.”

The Universal Screeners are unique: they focus exclusively on number sense indicators known to be highly predictive of later performance, they are child centered and asset-based, they are designed with the ideas of Universal Design for Learning and are accessible to all students. But perhaps most importantly, more than any other assessment, they pinpoint and highlight the central ideas necessary for engagement and success in the mathematics classroom.

Download your free copy of the USNS assessments today.



Wilkins, J. L., Woodward, D., & Norton, A. (2020). Children’s number sequences as predictors of later mathematical development. Mathematics Education Research Journal. 00317-y

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Webinar: Screeners in an RtI/MTSS System

Watch how number sense screening can strengthen your RtI/MTSS system with David Woodward, lead author of the Universal Screeners for Number Sense project. Access the webinar presented on February 23, 2022, at 12:30 pm EST below.

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