What Is a Dyscalculia Test?

C.B. Fox

A dyscalculia test is used to determine whether a person has a specific learning disability. There are a number of different types of tests to determine whether a person has dyscalculia, though the disorder can be relatively difficult to properly identify. Number comparisons, counting, and simple arithmetic are often features of a dyscalculia test.

Woman with a headache
Woman with a headache

One skill that is often tested on a dyscalculia test determines whether a person knows which numeral represents a larger number. In this type of test, the subject is presented with two simple numerals and asked to select the larger of the two. It is believed that the understanding of larger and smaller values is a skill that is innate rather than something that can be taught. Altering the size of one numeral or another may help determine whether a person has dyscalculia.

Another skill that is commonly assessed on a dyscalculia test is the ability to accurately recognize a certain number of dots, or other symbols, in a group. These tests often show a group of dots and a numeral next to them. The subject is asked to determine whether the number of dots and the numeral beside them have the same value. This skill, which is a form of visual estimation, is extremely important in order for a person to be able to solve difficult or complex mathematical problems. When testing this skill, the amount of time it takes a person to answer the question correctly is the main criterion as to whether that person may have dyscalculia.

Simple arithmetic may also be tested on a dyscalculia test. These questions can determine whether people have gaps in knowledge and whether they know how to perform simple mathematical functions. Skills that are lacking can be retaught, and if the subject still cannot learn the skill, dyscalculia may be diagnosed.

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Another type of dyscalculia test may be given to determine whether a person should be formally tested for this learning disability. This type of test asks a series of questions that indicate whether a person has trouble understanding numbers or whether the person has gaps in mathematical knowledge. Tests may also be given that eliminate other causes of difficulty in math, such as tests of specific math skills that can be retaught.

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Dyscalculia can be remedied with the help of games, especially with children. --Maggie

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