Measuring Early Math Skills

The Early Mathematics Assessment System (EMAS) measures a broad range of mathematical areas, including numeracy, computation, patterning, and geometry.

Assessment Overview

VKRP uses the Early Mathematics Assessment System (EMAS) to measure children’s mathematical skills. The EMAS is a reliable and valid assessment that draws on modern cognitive science, as well as developmental and educational research. The EMAS was originally created by Dr. Herb Ginsburg and colleagues at Teachers College, Columbia University. Researchers at the University of Virginia have expanded and adapted the original assessment to include a greater range in the difficulty and types of items.

Administered in the fall and spring, the EMAS provides a snapshot of children’s mathematics skills, giving teachers an opportunity to individualize instruction and assess growth across the kindergarten school year.


Get to Know the EMAS

This short video highlights the importance of early math and how the Early Mathematics Assessment System helps support these critical skills.

Young boy completing the Early Mathematics Assessment

The EMAS at a Glance

The Logistics

Takes approximately 20-25 minutes per student, and is administered in the fall and spring.

The Items

Contains items that are designed to capture a wide range and variety of early math skills across the areas of numeracy, computation, patterning, and geometry. Students are not expected to get all items correct.​

The Administration

Is administered to students individually by the teacher using a flip book and hands-on materials to engage students and help teachers observe student thinking.

EMAS Information Guide

This two-page guide provides more information about the assessment, its development, and its psychometric properties.

The domains assessed by the EMAS are aligned with Virginia's Foundation Blocks for Early Learning, Virginia Standards of Learning (2016), and Clements and Sarama's Mathematics Learning Trajectories (2009).