Primary Math Assessment: Screener and Diagnostic
The PMA is an assessment system designed for use in kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade classrooms to identify students at risk for poor math outcomes across six dimensions and to provide further diagnostic information to guide intervention decisions. The PMA is designed as a multi-tiered system of support in which students are first screened using the Primary Mathematics Assessment-Screener (PMA-S). Students who are identified as at risk on the screener are further assessed using the PMA-Diagnostic (PMA-D), a diagnostic assessment that provides a more complete evaluation of student performance to support intervention planning. The PMA assesses six dimensions of mathematical understanding that are predictive of later math success: number sequencing, facts, contextualized problems, relational thinking, measurement and spatial reasoning.
The Primary Mathematics Assessment-Screener (PMA-S) is a universal formative assessment or benchmark test that is administered at the beginning, middle and end of the year to Kindergarten, first and second grade students. It provides teachers with accurate information on how well their students are doing on 6 mathematical dimensions. The PMA-S is a short (less than 8 minutes) web-based one-on-one interview assessment that provides teachers with an immediate classroom report on how well their students are doing on these six different mathematical topics and whether further teaching or remediation is needed on one or more of these topics. Its main purpose is to inform teachers and administrators by providing timely feedback on where each student is struggling and then by suggesting recommendations and providing activities.
The PMA-S Reports
The class report (figure below) provides teachers with information on where their class was at the beginning of the year and what growth the students have made from fall to winter. Each class can be compared to the school and district.
Similar to the class report is the district report. Each district is provided a report for each elementary school on where the Kindergarten, first grade and second grade students started at the beginning of the year and where they were mid- and end-of-year.
Districts can also be provided reports that are disaggregated by sex, ethnicity, language, or other categories the district decides to collect.
The Primary Mathematics Assessment-Diagnostic (PMA-D) is a reliable, valid and efficient targeted measure of the sub-domains of each of the PMA-S dimensions. Once a student is screened, a teacher can diagnose this student on one or all of the six dimensions electronically by activating a cell in the above class report. The teacher is then provided with a report for this child on this sub-domain. For instance, measurement is composed of the follow sub-domains: iteration, partitioning, zero, and transitivity.
Math disability (MD) is a core deficit in processing number quantity and number sense. The PMA tools identify children at risk for math disabilities. Most other tools concentrate primarily on aspects of number. However, a recent review of cognitive theories and functional imaging studies suggest that a model of number deficits alone is an oversimplification. In addition to a deficit in number, MD has also been described as (a) a specific impairment in processing symbolic and visual-spatial reasoning; (b) a deficit in working memory; and (c) impairments representing and manipulating magnitude on an internal number line. Additionally, a majority of children with MD have math and reading disabilities that result in significant difficulties with word problems (context). Each of these subtypes of math disability may result in impaired performance across a variety of math topics and applications that are critical to identify in young children in order to develop and implement interventions that meet an individual student’s area of need.
Common Core State Standards Connection
The PMA focuses on math topics that predict later success in mathematics. There is a connection to the CCSS for mathematics (CCSS-M)’s major domains, which include number topics (PMA: sequencing and facts), algebraic thinking (PMA: relational thinking and context), and measurement and geometry (PMA: measurement and spatial reasoning).
To learn more about the PMA or to purchase the system, contact us.
If you are already a PMA user, click here to access the test.