Early Number Competencies of Children at the Start of Formal Education

  • J Eshun-Famiyeh


In Ghana, like many other countries, mathematics is compulsory throughout the preuniversity period of education. However, a good proportion of pupils and students at basic secondary levels of education find the subject very difficult, while at the same time, those who profess not to be good in it take pleasure in doing so. The teaching and learning of mathematics have therefore been the concern of mathematics educators, teachers, parents and indeed all those who manage education. Addition and subtraction occupy a central position in the Primary Mathematics Curriculum in Ghana. The question then is: do pupils come to formal school without sufficient knowledge in counting and strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems? The focus of this study was to investigate pupils' counting strategies and how these influenced their procedures for solving addition and subtraction tasks at the start of formal school. A qualitative case study approach was adopted for the collection of data form BS1 pupils of two primary schools in Winneba. These pupils were just beginning their formal basic education in September. Findings from the two-site case study evidence were analysed for their significance. The results of the study suggest that pupils possess varied abilities and competencies in counting when they start formal school. The findings also revealed that pupils have and demonstrate a fair knowledge of addition and subtraction concepts. Another issue that came to light was the impact the socio-economic background of the home has on pupils' early number competence. Summary and conclusions of the study were based on the evidence of these findings.

African Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences Vol. 3 2005: pp. 21-29

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2508-1128