Insights and implications about the whole number knowledge of grade 1 to grade 4 children

Ann Gervasoni, Linda Parish

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


This paper provides a snapshot of the whole number knowledge of nearly 2000 Australian primary school children gained through a one-to-one assessment interview. The interview corresponds to a growth point framework that describes learning trajectories in counting, place value, addition and subtraction strategies, and multiplication and division strategies. The findings highlight the broad distribution of growth points in each domain for each grade level, and the wide distance between the lowest and highest growth points in each grade and domain. This demonstrates the complexity of classroom teaching and highlights the challenge of meeting each student’s learning needs. Three issues related to children’s Whole Number Arithmetic (WNA) emerged from the data. These suggest important themes for teacher professional learning and for refining mathematics curriculum and include: (1) interpreting 2-digit and 3-digit numbers; (2) using reasoning strategies as opposed to counting strategies in addition and subtraction; and (3) strategies for solving partially modelled and abstract problems in multiplication and division.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of ICMI Study 23
Subtitle of host publicationPrimary Mathematics Study on Whole Numbers
EditorsXuhua Sun, Berinderjeet Kaur, Jarmila Novotná
Place of PublicationMacau Macao
PublisherThe International Commission on Mathematical Instruction ICMI
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9789996510663
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • arithmetic strategies
  • assessment interviews
  • teaching strategies

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