Strategic counting: A novel assessment of place-value understanding

Wai Lan Winnie CHAN, Kit Fong Terry AU, Joey TANG

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Children's counting strategies reflect how much they understand the place-value structure of numbers. In Study 1, a novel task, namely the strategic counting task, elicited strategies from kindergarteners and first graders that showed a trend of increasing place-value knowledge – from perceiving number as an undivided entity to seeing it as a collection of independent groups of powers of ten. In Study 2, first-graders' strategic counting task scores at the end of fall semester were better predictors of year-end mathematical achievement than the traditional place-value tasks. In Study 3, a five-item subset of strategic counting was the best among 15 various cognitive predictors of end of second-grade mathematical achievement. Growth curve modeling revealed that low-mathematics achievers at the end of second grade had been lagging behind their peers in strategic counting since early first grade. Implications for early support for children with difficulties in place-value knowledge are discussed. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-94
JournalLearning and Instruction
Early online dateSept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Chan, W. W. L., Au, T. K., & Tang, J. (2014). Strategic counting: A novel assessment of place-value understanding. Learning and Instruction, 29, 78-94.


  • Mathematical learning
  • Place-value understanding
  • Counting
  • Assessment


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