The JumpStart Schools

About Number Sense

“A strong sense of number is at the heart of being able to do mathematics”

- Aarnout Brombacher, Brombacher and Associates -


Number Sense targets the gaps in numeracy and mathematics for primary school learners with specific grade appropriate workbooks that incrementally introduce the foundational concepts of numeracy to the learners. There are over 800,000 of the workbooks in circulation currently.

The Number Sense Workbook Series have been developed to provide independent written activities for children. The series can be used by teachers working with small groups of children at a time to keep the other children productively engaged as well as in whole class settings. The workbooks allow for differentiated support with different children in a class working in different workbooks and hence on different activities that are well matched to their developmental state. The series can also be used by parents wanting to provide daily support to their children. The richly illustrated pages are engaging, challenging and developmental in nature. You can read more the Number Sense on the website here.

The problem of South Africa's frightening low mathematics levels is well documented. The latest Annual National Assessment (ANA) place grade 9's at an aproximate 10% numeracy competence. These results are echoed by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study  (TIMMS) whose latest report scores South Africa poorly in terms of international competitiveness and mathematics competence.

Key to improving on this is to address the problem at the beginning in Primary School. Too often interventions wish to "fix it" in Secondary school when it is too late. A child who has not conceptually grasped a sense of number by Grade 3 is generally “lost” having missed the developmental gap to grasp the essence of Number Sense or understanding how numbers work. At the root of our numeracy problem in South Africa is this foundational phase.

Number Sense is measured at three levels:-

  • In basic workbook progress. Quite simply, “Are the learners actually working their way through the Number Sense workbooks?". The unit of measure here is quite simple, viz. Pages per Book per Learner. The teacher and the JumpStart support staff validate this progress and the learner is incentivised using participation and end of year award certifications. 
  • Additionally every activity is marked in real-time using a Monitoring and Evaluation platform called JumpTark. A learners numerical competence is visible on a weekly basis with remedial needs identified early. This has been further enhanced by the introduction of the Number Sense App which automatically markes the activities as well as reporting the results to JumpTrak.
  • The Number Sense is also assessed using an Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) and involves oral and physical tests depending on the grade. It is an evaluation of Numeracy and Math levels and is performed every year. This EGMA enables us to address interrelated category competencies and determine a childs numeracy level and to thus remediate their progress accordingly. 

In 2016 the workbooks were  released as a mobile application with increasing workbooks being published to the digital platform. Ask us if your workbook is digitised and if you'd like to use this in your classroom. 

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