Links to Learning: Adaptive Math Assessment (LLAMA)

Who are we?

We are researchers from Lehigh University, Purdue University, the University of Washington, and the University of California-Davis. We are interested in creating resources that teachers can use in the classroom to support early math learning. We are currently developing an early math app for preschoolers called LLAMA through a four-year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences of the US Department of Education.

What is LLAMA?

LLAMA is a computerized adaptive assessment for early mathematics developed in collaboration with early childhood educators, parents, and children. LLAMA uses a tablet format to engage children in fun tasks related to numbers and counting, shape and spatial knowledge, measurement, and patterns.

Why early math?

Differences in what children know and can do with math begin even before preschool. Without early learning support, some children may not develop the math skills they need, and these skills are important to long- term learning. Providing teachers with ways to identify where children need support can help to ensure that all children enter kindergarten with the skills they need for learning success.

What have we done so far?

In our first year, we wanted to know if LLAMA assesses important early math skills in numbers and operations, shape and space, measurement, and pre-algebraic thinking. We also wanted to know if preschoolers liked learning with LLAMA. A group of preschool teachers and early math researchers provided feedback on the skills LLAMA includes. Children also used LLAMA with a researcher who took notes on how they used the app and comments they shared.

What did we learn?

We are on the right track with developing LLAMA. Preschool teachers and early math researchers gave us positive feedback about the skills in LLAMA and children enjoyed using the app.

What’s next?

We have revised LLAMA and added more activities, using the feedback from preschool teachers, early math researchers, and children. We are looking to partner with more community sites to get additional feedback from teachers, parents, and preschoolers to make sure LLAMA is meaningful, engaging, and useful in supporting early math skills. If you are interested in hearing more about LLAMA, please reach out to Robin Hojnoski at