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Volume 39, Issue 2 (2010)

Determining Early Mathematical Risk: Ideas for Extending the Research

pp. 196—202

The National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008) specifies that children should be able to fluently add and subtract whole numbers by the end of third grade. Mathematical understanding of addition and subtraction emerges well before formal mathematic instruction begins, and when it emerges it reflects competence in a number of prerequisite skills and concepts. By the time children begin to formally learn the procedures associated with addition and subtraction, they will already understand that numbers have a fixed sequence, that numbers appearing earlier in the sequence represent lower magnitudes or quantities than do numbers appearing higher in the sequence, that objects can be counted, and that quantities can be compared and shifted by moving objects between sets and so on. There is agreement about which early mathematics skills are thought to be essential to longer term success (e.g., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001; National Council for Teachers of Mathematics, 2008) and, in fact, there has been relatively strong correspondence in the skills assessed by researchers in this area (Hojnoski, Silberglitt, & Floyd, 2009).

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