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Diagnostic Assessment of Numeracy Skills

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The Diagnostic Assessment of Numeracy Skills (DANS) was launched last week (21 March 2019) at the BDA Dyslexia & Dyscalculia Conference where it was very well received.

The DANS is a set of multi-sensory, diagnostic tests for teachers to determine the essential number concepts that their students have fully grasped, and those concepts that they have only partly understood.

One of the main difficulties that we have as specialist teachers is the limited time that we are given with our pupils. Therefore we need to find out in as few lessons as possible what our students really know and where any gaps are, whilst at the same time establishing a positive relationship and starting to rebuild their confidence and enjoyment of maths.

Any student who needs a specialist assessment is performing poorly at maths and if they are finding the subject hard they will generally know that they are not good at it. This can make them anxious or stressed and unlikely to show their true ability in a formal, written assessment. For this reason the DANS is more activity based, using games and concrete resources rather than just pen and paper exercises. This allows the teacher to gain insights into the student’s knowledge, thinking, language and underlying skills, and starts the student’s journey towards a more positive view of maths.

The Key Stage One tests cover: visual spatial skills, finger numbers, motor screen, non-numerical sequencing, number patterns to 10, conservation of number, counting, sequencing numbers, reading & writing numbers, number lines, bonds of 10, addition & subtraction, doubles & halves, coins, time and problem solving.

The Key Stage Two tests cover: visual spatial skills, motor screen, numbers to 1000, rounding numbers, multiplication tables, mathematical operations, addition & subtraction, multiplication & division, mental maths, fractions, decimals and time.

There is a manual with clear instructions on the tests and pointers on what to watch for during the Assessment, as well as easels to stand on the desk and guide the teacher through the tests.

The DANS includes all the resources that are needed for the tests including Numicon shapes, Multi-link cubes, dominoes, Base Ten, dice, counters and clocks.  Card games and activities include What’s My Time, Dinoscore, Multiplication Football, Which Operation,  doubles & halves, mental maths and seven sets of sequencing cards. There is also a USB drive of printable worksheets with an excel file for recording observations and an Assessment Map that teachers can print out for each student.

Please come back to me if you have any questions.

Have a great Easter holiday. 


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