Number Sense

    What it is
    • People who have number sense think of numbers in relationship to each other.
    • Math concepts are built from number relationships.
    • People who succeed in math have good number sense.
    What it is not



    Concept Reading
    Number Sense
    Skill Spelling Computation Rules
    • Number sense is different from computation skill (knowing how to add, multiply, subtract, and divide).
    • Computation skill is to number sense like spelling is to reading.
    • A person may be able to spell perfectly, yet be unable to understand the meaning of a sentence.
    How we get it
    • Math is physical.
    • Number sense develops from our physical experiences.
    • Number sense is a grasp of number relationships.
    • About 80% of children grow into true number sense.
    • About 20% of adults lack true number sense, according to research.

    Major studies reveal the state of number sense in adults in the United States.

    NAAL National Assessment of Adult Literacy 2003

    Baer, Justin D., Stéphane Baldi, and Andrea L. Cook. 2006. The Literacy of America’s college students. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research.

    Manly, Myrna (2008) “Numeracy Matters.” Focus on Basics, vol. 9a, May 2008, pp. 8-13

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