Date: Mar 27, 1995 10:39 AM
Subject: Benchmarks

A group of teachers is working in Albuquerque to develop appropriate
benchmarks for assessing children's mathematical understandings. We are
looking specifically at grade 2. In writing a developmental continuum we
have reached a small but significant disagreement. One of our colleagues
feels uncomformtable with the inclusion of benchmarks on oral counting
under numbers and numeration. (Specifically: in the "developing" category
counts orally to 100 by ones and tens, to 50 by fives, to twenty by 2s.
In the "independent" category : counts to 100 by 2s, 5s, and 10s.) Our
collegue feels oral counting is too rote.

and therefore shouldn't be included as a benchmark.

The Standards say: "Counting skills, which are essential for ordering and com
paring numbers, are an important component of the development of number
ideas. Counting on, counting back, and skip counting mark advances in
children's development of number ideas. However, counting is only one
indicator of children's understanding of numbers"

The developmental continuum being written contains many, many more
indicators of understanding of numbers.

I have also seen research findings that show that children build their
number sense from counting. Frankly, I can't think of any other way
to learn to count than by rote and there are clear developmental aspects
to how children learn to count.

What do you think? Do the Standards say that anything that must be done
by rote should not be considered a benchmark? (Remember, as I said, these
rote counting benchmarks are only a small part of the benchmarks being
written, but some of our colleagues consider them very important.)
Clearly, oral counting is part of the "decreased attention" category--
as that pretty much WAS the curriculum for primary children if you added
writing numerals--but is oral counting passe????

If this seems too dull for the list, please respond to me personally at THANKS! Cindy