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Beyond BDI-3® : Using the BEAS to Screen for Dyscalculia

Riverside Insights
Written By Riverside Insights
On Apr 21, 2022
7 minute read
Go beyond BDI-3 and discover how the BEAS addition can support dyscalculia screening and intervention initiatives.   

From academic intervention screening to student growth monitoring, we recently explored the ways the Battelle Early Academic Survey (BEAS) can support early childhood education practices in our introductory BEAS blog. The newest addition to the BDI-3 Suite, offering an assessment of foundational math skills for those aged 3.6-7.11 years, can be a good indicator of dyscalculia, a deficit in mathematical skills. 


Under the IDEA, students can be eligible for special education services due to a disorder in the processes involved in mathematical calculations and/or mathematical reasoning. In turn, the DSM-5 recognizes dyscalculia as a disorder, “characterized by academic achievement that is substantially below age expectations in the areas of understanding number concepts, number facts or calculation,; and/or mathematical reasoning” 


The BEAS can be used to screen for dyscalculia under both the IDEA’s and DSM-5’s conceptualization of the condition via its four subdomains: 

 Four Subdomains of BEAS

The four subdomains of the BEAS MATHEMATICS DOMAIN assess a host of areas necessary for mathematical achievement. These areas include both primary areas related to mathematical achievement, in addition to pertinent cognitive functions (e.g., visual processing, spatial/temporal reasoning, memory and retrieval).  


Numbers, Counting, and Sets assesses skills that, when mastered, allow children to understand the foundation of computation. Performance in this subdomain reflects the development of a child’s number sense. This domain taps number concept knowledge, memory, and retrieval, in addition to visual processing and spatial/temporal reasoning.  

      • Number concept knowledge is assessed by items testing knowledge of one-to-one correspondence and comparing values.  
      • An examinee’s memory and retrieval functions are measured by items asking them to identify numbers based on a visual prompt. 
      • Visual processing and spatial/temporal reasoning skills are tapped by items demanding the analysis and completion of patterns. 

Geometry tests foundational skills related to identifying, describing, classifying, and composing shapes. These skills underlie more advanced functions such as understanding factional portions of shapes, comparing shape attributes, reasoning with and comparing shapes, and during later stages of development, working with lines, angles, and their properties. This subdomain taps the following areas of cognitive functioning and early achievement: 

      • Items that require the examinee to combine shapes to match a visual model assess visual processing, spatial reasoning, and math problem-solving skills.  
      • Within this subdomain, the examinee is also asked to label and identify shapes, which tests memory and retrieval.  

Measurement and Data is a subdomain centering on the foundational skills that precede higher-order functions related to data representation and data analysis. Skills in this subdomain also serve as a precursor for the measure and estimation of time, mass, length, and volume. This subdomain demands:  

      • Math reasoning, problem-solving, and visual processing through the analysis of data presented in simple picture graphs. These skills are also measured via items that ask the examinee to determine measurable attributes when analyzing pictures and tell time using clocks.  

The Operations and Algebraic Thinking subdomain serves as the foundation for computation with larger numbers, more advanced problem solving, and connecting real-world applications to mathematical concepts. Items in this subdomain demand the following early achievement and cognitive abilities:  

      • Math reasoning, calculation, and quantitative reasoning by requiring the examinee to solve simple addition and subtraction equations with and without the aid of illustrations. 


Looking for more ways the BEAS can diversify and strengthen your assessment toolkit? Read our other BEAS blogs, "Beyond BDI-3: Introducing the Battelle Early Academic Survey (BEAS)" and "Beyond BDI-3: Using the BEAS to Screen for Dyslexia," for more information on this BDI-3 addition.


Introducing BEAS    The BEAS and Dyslexia

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