The issue may not be so much whether to include such an item (counting and skip counting) as a benchmark as it is the interpretation one makes of the outcome.
A child who counts fluently may or may not have constructed certain accompanying mathematical understandings; the verbal fluency may not be an indicator of much else other than an ability to memorize or imitate. That is not to say that experience with counting is not worthwhile. I am only suggesting that teachers who use this activity as a benchmark must be aware of how they use the outcome in their decision making for further teaching.
============================================================ Hannah Slovin 1776 University Ave. University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI 96822 Curriculum R & D Group (808)956-4985; FAX (808)956-4984