Undertaking the Dyscalculia Test
You should read this page before taking the test, or working with someone else who is taking the test.
1: Taking the test
This test can be taken by anyone over the age of 8. However we do suggest that all children aged 11 and under should have a supportive adult sitting with them while taking the test, and indeed, unless it causes difficulty or resentment, everyone under 16 should have a supportive adult at hand.
It should also be noted that some people who have dyscalculia also have dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and both conditions can make it difficult for these people to take the test.
For an individual taking the test but who has reading difficulties for any reason, there is no harm at all in having another person read out the questions - providing that is all that individual does. Clearly, reading the question and then offering support or help will invalidate the test.
There is also no harm in doing the test in stages if the individual taking the test loses focus or concentration after a while.
Finally, if you, or the person you are working with, finds that you go through three or four questions to which the answers are not known, it is much better to move on to the next question quickly than the spend a while trying to work out answers to questions that you cause you problems.
2: What is in the test
Part one of the test (questions 1 to 30) deals with your attitude towards maths, how you feel about maths, and how you experience maths. You do need to complete this whole part of the test.
Part two of the test (questions 31 to 97) deals with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, shapes, fractions, decimals and time. It should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
3: Using Calculators, Pen and Paper
Calculators and other devices that can work out mathematical answers are not permitted at all in the test. You can work out answers on paper or using your fingers, but you must not look answers up or get help.
If you are working with a child you should stop the child continuing if at any time the child is distressed or losing a willingness to continue with the test. The test can be paused and you can return at any time.
4: The age of the child: a note to parents
It is possible that a child might not be able to answer certain questions because the child has not studied that element of maths in class.
The questions here cover addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, percentages, fractions, shapes, and time. If, for example, the child has not covered percentages, fractions and shapes, then the test should be delayed until these topics have been covered at a rudimentary level.
The Reports Page
This page of the Dyscalculia Centre website provides information on the Report that is sent to those people who undertake the Dyscalculia Centre’s Test.
The Dyscalculia Centre test starts by asking the person taking the test to give their own opinion on their abilities within and reaction to maths in the area of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, shapes, and time.
The test then asks the individual to answer a range of questions in those same areas. The questions not only ask for an answer to a standard question such as 8 x 7 = but also seeks to explore the essence of number through more unusual questions.
We compare the results of the two parts of the test and also note the individual's age and time taken to do the test. From this we draw conclusions as to whether the individual is...
a) probably suffering from short term memory issues and thus unable to deal with many maths problems as they are not able to hold numbers in their head for long enough to complete a calculation
b) lacking in a fundamental understanding of what numbers mean and how the basics of maths work
c) solving maths issues through their own strategies which get around their own problems caused by dyscalculia - this can be revealed, for example, through the time taken to do the test
d) lacking an understanding of a specific area of maths-related work. For example, an individual may have managed, through hard work and the development of their own strategies, to cope with basic division, but becomes completely lost with fractions, due to a lack of understanding of the nature of maths at this point. Some are able to calculate issues such as "what is 25% of 95?" without having the slightest notion of what the question means.
From all of this we draw a conclusion as to whether the individual is dyscalculic, and we give our view on this in the report.
The report, which generally runs to five or six pages of A4 also includes recommendations of activities that the individual might do with a friend, assistant teacher, parent, etc, to help develop the STM/LTM interface. We then also forward a set of activities which can take a month or two, which again can be undertaken with a parent or assistant teacher or friend. These are based around the work that we believe that the individual needs in order to make progress.
The activities we provide are multi-sensory and do not reflect the classic methods of teaching maths, but are geared around the particular approach we believe is needed by the individual to help overcome the problem.
As the above makes clear, we are not so much measuring the individual’s ability in maths, but rather looking for clear indications of the genetic disability dyscalculia. A dyscalculic person may well be able to undertake maths calculations, just as a dyslexic person can learn how to spell complex words which may be spelled wrongly by a non-dyslexic person - because they have been supported in this, or because they have evolved their own approaches. We seek to understand exactly what is going on, and then provide suitable materials to help the individual progress further.
Thus the results should not be seen in the context of a set of maths tests based against the national average and hence normed against these averages, for such an analysis does not indicate dyscalculia (given that an individual might be poor at maths for all sorts of reasons). We aim to find the areas of difficulty that the individual has, and to supply materials that help them overcome these problems.
A typical report might note (in extract) for example that in the first part of the test the individual reported a large number of worries and concerns that he/he has with maths. We present these by area, with specific examples. The areas include focus issues, finding specific elements with maths very difficult (eg problems with times tables, not understanding "odd" and "even", sequencing issues, the use of strategies, anxiety over maths, trouble working with time. We then examine how this relates to the actual answers given, and how in turn this relates to the deeper knowledge of maths. This helps us find if there are patches of knowledge where maths has successfully be learned mechanically, rather than in regards to the underlying logic of maths.
For example (and this is just one example - we don't draw deep conclusions on just one example of course) we have the question
¼ + ¼ + ¼ + ¼ =
The answer 1 is obviously correct. 4/4 as an answer tells us that the individual knows the mechanism of adding fractions but is not translating this into meaning in the real world. 1/16 suggests that there is some grasp that not everything is added in fractions, but a complete confusion as to what is going on. And so on.
This leads back to the most fundamental point. A person might be very poor at maths because of dyscalculia or because of poor teaching, missed schooling, parental attitude ("I was never any good at maths and it never did me any harm") etc etc. We are looking to differentiate the cause of the problem, rather than simply say, "this person is in the bottom quartile for his/her age". Having done that, we then offer materials and methods for putting the matter right. In doing this we do, as you mention, highlight the strengths and weaknesses, and offer materials relevant to the weaknesses.
Tony Attwood C.Ed., B.A., M.Phil (Lond), F.Inst.A.M.
The Dyscalculia Test -16+
The Dyscalculia Test on this website, run by the Dyscalculia Centre, is suitable for adults, and since its inception in 2010 has been used by many adults.
This page describes what dyscalculia is and the test for dyscalculia. It also contains information that you may find helpful if you are contemplating taking the test because you are having difficulty with a maths exam needed for your job (for example, if you wish to be a teacher or a prescribing nurse).
People who have difficulty in remembering numbers and working with numbers (for example, with adding up, multiplying, fractions) have a significant disadvantage in life.
For such people not only have problems in passing maths exams at school, but they also often have difficulty with handling money, telling the time, using a calculator, and checking their online banking.
This is a genetic disorder - and because it is in the genes it cannot be cured. But once diagnosed it is possible to overcome your problems by working with a teacher, or indeed any adult who has average ability in maths.
Below there is a link that takes you to the on-line test for dyscalculia, but before you go to it there are a couple of things you need to know.
First, the only way to be absolutely certain about whether a person has dyscalculia or not, is to have a one-to-one session with a psychologist who specialises in dyscalculia. The cost is normally around £350 - seven times as much as the cost of our on-line test. Therefore you must realise that our test - because it is at a distance - is not one that everyone will accept as absolute proof of dyscalculia.
But, our test does come with a unique benefit. For if we find that you have dyscalculia, then we will not only send you a detailed report, but will also provide a wide range of materials that can be used to help you progress in maths. And if we find you are not dyscalculic, we will refund half of the fee you have paid. You will also receive a detailed report on exactly what we have found.
Preparing for a job (such as teaching or being a prescribing nurse) that requires a set ability in maths.
Each institution that trains teachers and nurses tends to consider dyscalculia in slightly different ways, and many have their own assessment programme, so it is not possible for us to answer enquiries specifically but the following points should be helpful.
The notion of getting extra time and support in examinations centres around helping a student whose ability to pass the exam is inhibited by a factor outside of the subject matter itself. In the classic case, a person studying history might have difficulty taking an exam in history if he/she has dyslexia. This is deemed unfair because the problems with English mean that the individual’s ability to grasp the essence of history and reveal a knowledge of historical facts cannot be properly tested. So support in terms of having a reader or extra time is often made available.
However most GCSE, A level, and degree courses in English do not give extra time or support to dyslexic students because they argue that reading and writing English is the essence of taking a course in English.
Likewise, when a nurse wishes to become a prescribing nurse she/he has to take a maths test, and no allowance for dyscalculia is made, because being able to prescribe and administer the correct dose of a drug is considered to be the essence of the work. It seems that some exam boards now take the same position with GCSE maths – no extra time is allowed for dyscalculia.
With teaching it appears that the government is arguing, or has argued, that an ability to grasp maths at a specified level is inherent in being able to do the job of a teacher, and thus some universities will give no allowance for anyone who is dyscalculic.
If, however, the university with which you are dealing suggests that they will consider making an allowance, it is important to establish exactly what they require for this to be the case. Some universities will be able to help you directly but if not it is vital to ascertain both whether they will consider dyscalculia to be a condition that allows for extra time or support in undertaking the maths test, and if so, the level of evidence they require.
In these circumstances it is common for universities to ask for a report by an educational psychologist which will involve a one-to-one session with the psychologist and is likely to cost around £300. (It is worth getting a price before entering into a contract with the psychologist, as prices can vary, and we are now seeing prices of £400.)
However, in our view it is vital to get the university’s position on such matters expressed clearly in writing.
Preparing to take the test
Below there are details of what to do when you are ready to take the test. Please note you will need a debit or credit card to pay for the test before you start. You should also have a pen or pencil and paper ready in case you want to work things out as you proceed.
Please read on when you are ready to take the test
You can pause the test at any time to give you a break, especially if you feel worried about facing mathematical questions. You can start again later.
Calculators and other devices that can work out mathematical answers are not permitted at all in the test. You can, however, work out answers on paper or using fingers, but must not look answers up or get help.
The test costs £49.95 and this price includes the delivery to you of the resources that we feel will help you work with a friend or colleague to overcome your dyscalculia.
To proceed with the test please send a cheque payable to Websites and Blogs for £49.95 to 1 Oathill Close, Brixworth, Northants NN6 9BE
Please include your email address and we will reply, directing you to a page which will provide instructions for the test, and this will then allow you to move onto the test itself.
The Dyscalculia Test - parents
I’m worried about my child’s maths. How can I find out what’s wrong?
People who have difficulty in remembering numbers or with adding up, multiplying, fractions, etc, have a significant disadvantage in life.
Such people not only have problems in passing maths exams at school, but they also often have difficulty with handling money, telling the time, using a calculator, and checking their online banking.
These people may have dyscalculia - a genetic disorder. It cannot be cured but once diagnosed it is possible to help children with dyscalculia by teaching them maths in a different way.
There are two types of tests for dyscalculia: screening tests and a diagnostic tests.
Screening tests can tell you that it is possible that your child has dyscalculia but they don’t tell you where the problem is, so they don’t help in finding a solution.
Diagnostic tests include the “screening” but go much further - they tell you if it is very likely that your child is dyscalculic, and where the exact problem lies. A good diagnostic test will also tell you if there are any associated issues or problems, and how you can help your child.
On this page what we talk about is a diagnostic test. After a child has taken it, we review the results, and consider not only dyscalculia but also whether there are any related problems, and then we provide the materials to help your child overcome the problem.
Do I need my child to see an educational psychologist?
The only way to be absolutely certain about whether a person has dyscalculia or not, is to have a one-to-one session with a psychologist who specialises in dyscalculia. The cost is normally around £350 - seven times as much as the cost of our on-line test.
If you need an educational psychologist who specialises in dyscalculia you will be able to find your nearest one via Google. However please do note that educational psychologists do not normally provide teaching materials to help your child overcome his/her dyscalculia.
Who the test is for
The test is designed for children aged eight upwards.
Below there are details of what to do when you are ready to take the test. Please note you will need a debit or credit card to pay for the test before your son or daughter starts. You should also have a pen or pencil and paper ready for your child in case he/she wants to work things out as we go along.
When you are ready for your child to take the test…
We suggest that you stay with your child while the test is being taken. If your child has reading difficulties there is no harm at all in you reading the questions to your child - but please don’t provide any mathematical help.
You can also pause the test at any time to give your child a break, and then come back to it later. And do tell your child that there is nothing to worry about if some of the questions can’t be answered. The test is here to find out how we can help your child - not to pass judgement.
If your child becomes distressed or loses a willingness to continue with the test, pause the test. You can return at any time. If your child does not wish to continue, even after a pause, send the test to us as far as it has been completed.
Calculators and other devices that can work out mathematical answers are not permitted at all in the test. Your child can, however, work out answers on paper or using fingers, but must not look answers up or get help.
The test costs £49.95 when undertaken by a parent and this price includes the delivery to you of the resources that we feel will help your child overcome his/her dyscalculia.
Starting the diagnostic test
To proceed with the test please forward a cheque made payable to Websites and Blogs Ltd for £49.95 to 1 Oathill Close, Brixworth NorthamptonNN6 9BE. Please enclose your email address and we will email you back with instructions for the test, and this will then allow you to move onto the test itself.
If you would like to know more about dyscalculia before having your child take the diagnostic test, please click here for further information about dyscalculia.
We do however recommend that you email as we do not always have people available who can help with specific issues on the phone.
A recent unsolicited testimonial
Here is one of the testimonials that we receive from time to time.
"I would like to say I am really impressed with the report and activities and think the procedure is very good value. Thank you so much, I am so pleased we did the test with you and have something to discuss at school where for two years they have been shouting at him for not being able to do 'simple sums' or making him feel frustrated for having to keep 'going back to basics'. We are both very grateful."
The Dyscalculia Test - teachers
The Dyscalculia Test prepared by the Dyscalculia Centre
The Dyscalculia Test is available on-line. Once you (or a child with whom you are working) has taken the test you will receive a report from one of the Centre’s educationalists on that person’s understanding of maths and whether it is likely that that person has dyscalculia. This report will come by email and will be with you in approximately 48 hours.
You will also receive a free copy of a set of materials that is appropriate to the individual’s needs and which can be used to help the individual overcome his/her mathematical problems.
If we find that the individual has no specific mathematical problems at the level at which the test is constructed you will still get a brief report, but no support materials. We will refund half the fee you have paid.
Before you take the test we strongly advise you to read the following two articles.
The test is conducted on-line, and you will be sent a link to the test so that you may undertake it in your own time once you have signed in.
The fee is £59.95 for a single test or £49.95 for a test if three are booked in at one time. Where three tests are booked together there is no time limit on when the tests are taken, and thus you might use the test at once for one student and then use a second test for another student a term or two later.