Group TrackingUsing the LOMAS Test to measure Junior Numeracy Stage and Ability.

A really useful fast way to measure numeracy ability in Year 7 to 11 students. Aligned to the NZ Numeracy Project and NZC.


The LOMAS test is actually the work of two people mainly, Grigor Lomas and Peter Hughes both of who worked in the Education Faculty of Auckland University at the time. The Numeracy Interview was a slow but very informing and detailed insight into how a young learner understood and used number reasoning. It was slow so the two guys above responded to the need for a written test. The test can be read out, or done individually. My experience is that it is valid on an hourly, daily weekly basis. I have given the same test to a group of students in teh same period, on consecutive days and weeks. It gives the same measure every time.

There are 4 versions however so there is a new test for each term or different classes.

Preparation for a LOMAS Test
The test has Part A, B, C and D. These correspond to NZC Level 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively. The Instructions have more detail.

For most students, by far the majority, you use Test B or Test C in each group of tests.

I print
- a copy of the Test 1
- and from that  20 copies of Part B
- and 20 copies of Part C from Test 1,

- then 40 copies of the Student Response Sheet,

- and 1 copy of the Marking Sheet,

- and for reference one copy of the Instructions.

DO THE TEST B and C. Like all assessments this checks that everything is in order and will demonstrate just how clever the questions are. Writing good math questions is not an easy task so appreciate the hard work please.

Test 1
Student sheet 1
Marking sheet 1

Find a math class! Most of my classes were 28 or so Year 9 or Year 10. I have also used this with Year 7 and 8 students, and Year 11 or even 12 students. Certainly with new students, asap.

Have them decide, or you guess, their math ability. Simply ask, "Are you OK with your maths?" Yes, give them Test C. No, goive them Test B. It is not critical.

Instruct them to fill in the geneological data and to record their answers in the Test B or Test C column. Keep this sheet later for use a second time.

If you see them struggling with reading, help them out by reading the question. This is not a reading test.
If you see them struggling to record their answers, help them out. This is not a writing test.
If you see them struggling with the problems find out a little more and perhaps give them Test B or even Test A.

Most students take about 20minutes max to complete this test and they actually seem to enjoy it. It is multichoice and guessing is pretty obvious. NO CALCULATORS. This test is all about reasoning with numbers.

See Instructions. However, I fold fold the mark guide beside their answers. I simply look at the majority correct in each of the sections. Majority of Strategy and majority of knowledge. That is all you need. This is a measure not diagnostic. You can look in more detail later for diagnostic information but talking with the student will tell you same information as well.

This table is from the Instructions. The first table shows how the Test is related to the Numeracy Stage and the NZC Level. Know that the NZC was deeply informed by the NZ Numeracy Project and reading the AO's will clearly demonstrate this information.

Refer to the NZC or Numeracy Project Book 1 for deeper understanding of this table.


Test A

Test B

Test C

Test D








Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

Stage 7

Stage 8




Adv Adder




Student uses counting to solve problems

Student uses simple adding and place value

Student uses several adding strategies and derives mult.

Student uses mult factors, multiples, tables

Student works with fractions, decimals easily


Number testing becomes more about justifying.

NCEA L1 M and E

The second table is how to make a judgement of stage.  Teachers seem to have trouble with OTJ and usually dither about the correct decision. Be brave, kia kaha and make the call. It will not matter. Simply by doing this test the student probably changed. You are assessing a very dynamic event and if the decision is WRONG the student will soon let you know and you will probably notice as well.

A student will get one of the 4 following combinations in any test.












Student is 1 or more levels lower

Student is at the correct level

Student is at the correct level

Student is 1 or more levels higher

Student trackingMarking will take 20minutes per class. Pondering the results will and can take a lot longer depending on how deeply you consider and know about the data and the students. I use Excel to collate the data but you could use iNZIGHT or FATHOM. Deep insights into counting, additive, multiplicative and proportional thinking is available form . Or, you contact me at

Here are all the files. All tests are parallel copies of Part A, B, C and D.
Instructions (generic)
Test 1, Student Response Sheet 1, Marking Sheet 1
Test 2, Student Response Sheet 2, Marking Sheet 2
Test 3, Student Response Sheet 3, Marking Sheet 3
Test 4, Student Response Sheet 4, Marking Sheet 4

Please do not give a student the complete TEST 1 and have them do all Parts A, B, C and D. This would only show that you do not understand the design and use of this assessment. Most students can be assessed with one Part only.

You will get some interesting results and may well need to use PAT and/or ASTTLE and/or Contributing school data and/or your own knowledge and testing of a student to get a reliable estimate of current numeracy stage or use of number reasoning. This is normal.

Better is when you have over time data from Term 1,2,3,4 and perhaps even a previous year so that you can see progression. By knowing and having an emphasis on the next stage, usually multiplicative thinking, students will improve rapidy and be well prepared for Year 11 NCEA L1.

I have written a lot about being multiplicative (see previous newsletter 2009 T3 for declaration of war on addition and 2008 T4 for details on Multiplicative thinking.

Make "Every student in this school will become a multiplicative thinker during or by the end of Year 10" the key goal for junior mathematics. This will cause a surge in mathematics achievement in your school. Believe me, it works!