Dyscalculia-SMD Screening Test


Dyscalculia-SMD Screening Test Image

The D-SMD Screening Test is the first dyscalculia screener in Singapore.


  • The D-SMD Screening Test can identify students who are at risk for dyscalculia or severe mathematical difficulties. Suitable for students in K2, primary and secondary school (separate booklets). Includes implications for intervention program and further diagnostic assessment in domain of mathematics.
  • The screener can be conducted faster and at a lower cost compared to a full assessment as indicated by the DSM-V.
  • Very useful for students already diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD or other learning problems
  • Individual and group testing (private schools and tuition centres)
  • Format: pen and paper test
  • Time: 30-40 min.
  • Reports available separately and upon request

Dyscalculia is a specific learning disorder in mathematics and affects around 3-8% of the population based upon international research studies. A higher number of students have severe math difficulties, around 7-10% and more than 25% have difficulties in mathematics.

Based upon local data and reported by researchers from the NIE/NTU, at least 13% of all students may have dyscalculia or severe math difficulties in Singapore. More than half of the students who were selected in the Learning Support for Math (LSM) program, continued to encounter severe math difficulties from P1 until P6. As dyscalculia is not officially recognized in Singapore, the researchers use the term ‘low progress (LP) learners in math’.

The D-SMD Screening Test identifies students who may have dyscalculia or severe mathematical difficulties from students who are weak in math due to other causes such as language difficulties, anxiety, poor teaching etc. These struggling students require an early intervention and individual support, as each student has a different profile of strengths and weaknesses.

The screener can be conducted faster and at a lower cost compared to a full assessment as indicated by the DSM-V. The test is also useful for students who have dyslexia, ADHD, autism or any other learning or developmental disorder. It is beneficial for the student and parents, as school psychologists do not provide a diagnosis for dyscalculia. It is useful for schools along with tuition centres, in particular as some students fail to make sufficient progress.

The underlying theory of the D-SMD test is related to the the triple code model of numerical processing by Dr Deheane (1992), as well as research studies from dyscalculia experts such as Dr. Milikowski, Dr. von Aster, Dr. Desoete, Dr. van Luit, Dr. Ansari, Dr. Dowker and Dr. Mazzocco. All core elements related to identifying a deficit in number sense are included in the test. All subtests are timed as based upon studies and investigations, students with dyscalculia require more time for processing numerosity, basic arithmetic and number quantities. The test can be conducted for individuals as well as in a group setting. The screener is focused on detecting deficits that point towards dyscalculia. The test does not provide a diagnosis for dyscalculia.

Description of the Test

The test is suitable for students in P2 and above, including adolescents. The test comprises 9-10 subtests and measures various aspects of number sense, numerosity concepts, math fact retrieval and the approximate number system, as well as math achievement tests. The test duration is approximately 30-40 minutes. There is a separate booklet for students in K2/P1.


A Screening Report will be provided upon request and includes tests results, appropriate interventions, and recommendations.

Dr Daniel Ansari (2017) on Dyscalculia

“Dyscalculia is as common as dyslexia. There are differences in how the brain is structured and functions; individuals cán learn and enjoy math.

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