An Exploratory Study of a Story Problem Assessment: Understanding Children's Number Sense


  • Jessica F. Shumway Utah State University
  • Arla Westenskow Utah State University
  • Patricia S. Moyer-Packenham Utah State University



The purpose of this study was to identify and describe students' use of number sense as they solved story problem tasks. Three 8- and 9-year-old students participated in clinical interviews. Through a process of holistic and qualitative coding, researchers used the number sense view as a theoretical framework for exploring how students' number sense was reflected in their numerical reasoning and verbal explanations of strategies for solving story problems. The results suggest that students' coordination of number sense constructs affords flexibility in problem-solving and deeper understanding of place value. Implications for classroom practice and mathematics education research are discussed.