Sandwell numeracy test becoming a national standard


A revised version of the Sandwell Early Numeracy Test, recommended by the Every Child Counts programme and by the DES, is proving hugely popular as schools try to lift their maths results in the light of tougher new Ofsted teaching quality requirements.

Chris Arnold, one of the authors and the head of the Sandwell Inclusion Support Services which developed the Test,  said: "We are delighted that the revised version of the test is winning acclaim from schools and official bodies alike.”

"Although there are many literacy assessments the same cannot be said for maths. We developed the SENT-R for our local schools and they loved it. It now appears that it's filling a large gap in schools nationally."

Under-pinning the need for the test are the research findings that numeracy is the most critical skill for employment and economic health, that the foundations of numeracy are laid down in the early years and that many children are failing to acquire these key skills.

When the government launched the Every Child Can Count programme the Sandwell Early Numeracy Test was the tool they chose to recommend to schools to analyse skills and to monitor progress. The new revised edition includes contributions from the Every Child Counts team at Edge Hill University, who also recommend its use for evaluation of their work. They are currently providing programmes in over half the local authorities nationally.

The new revised version – SENT-R enables practitioners to assess children’s ability with numbers. Designed for use with children from ages 4 years – 7 years 11 months, it explores five strands of basic numeracy skills: identification, oral counting, value, object counting and language, and provides a baseline of a pupil’s number skills. It is particularly useful in helping to identify targets for pupils with Special Educational Needs and it can also be used with Key Stage 2 pupils with numeracy difficulties.

Designed to be administered on a one-to-one basis, SENT-R comprises a total of 68 questions across nine different National Curriculum levels from P6 to 2A. The assessment has been designed to identify specific number skills that require targeted teaching and to monitor the impact of teaching interventions. For children with Special Educational Needs, it can also be used to identify targets for an individual education plan (IEP) and to provide information to support decision-making within the SEN Code of Practice.

Every Child Counts recommends the Sandwell Early Numeracy Test as an ‘Essential Teacher Resource’ to be used as a standardised baseline test to establish children’s levels of numeracy at the start and end of the programme, and to monitor their progress throughout. The assessment is now used in schools across 128 local authorities.

The test can be used by any member of school staff who has some basic training in test administration. Previous tests have been restricted to educational psychologists, who are in very short supply. The test has been written by two advisory teachers and an educational psychologist and is both easy to administer and enjoyable for the children.

Howard Sharron of Imaginative Minds, which is distributing the SENT-R said: “ We have been a little taken aback at how fast the SENT-R is going out of the door. It’s a strong acclamation of the quality and value of the Test and the fact that Ofsted is now putting such a huge emphasis on maths skills, assessment for learning and the quality of maths teaching.”

He added: " We also publish SALLEY – Structured Activities for Language and Literacy in the Early Years – also developed by Sandwell staff. SENT-R now shows that Sandwell is becoming a major force in early years education. "

To learn more about the Structured Activities for Language and Learning in the Early Years  (SALLEY) please click HERE!

Or order the Sandwell Early Years Numeracy Test-Revised HERE!

For more information, contact Imaginative Minds Ltd 0121 224 7599.
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