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KiKi - Kieler Kindergartentest

Prof. Dr. Aiso Heinze
Jun.-Prof. Simone Dunekacke (FU Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Meike Grüßing (University of Vechta)


Former team members:

Prof. Dr. Timo Ehmke
Dr. Eva Knopp
Dr. Irene Neumann
Dr. Christoph Duchhardt
Dr. Anne-Katrin Jordan


Theoretical Background:

The Kieler Kindergartentest Mathematik (KiKi) is a standardized instrument that measures the mathematical competence of preschool children between the age of four and six years. Unlike existing assessments that primarily focus on the domain “quantity and number”, KiKi has a significantly broader context regarding the construct “mathematical competence”. Inspired by the transnational education standards as well as the framework of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), KiKi also contains items from the domains “sizes and measurement”, “space and shape”; “data and chance”, and “change and relationship”.


Test Implementation:

KiKi is conducted in one-to-one-interviews by trained interviewers and lasts a maximum of 30 minutes. In addition to different materials such as pictures, toy blocks or nuggets, the use of a hand puppet helps facilitate the interview. The puppet is used as a third person to conduct items and it is an “ice breaker” to communicate feelings of certainty and familiarity. The children’s answers are documented in a protocol.


Pilot studies:

Within the frame of a first pilot study, data was collected from 469 preschool children from 37 preschools in Kiel and Lüneburg. A total of 122 items were distributed in a multimatrix design to different test versions so that each item was handled on average by 120 children.

Since there were still too few items in some content areas, additional items were developed and then piloted. The second pilot study took place in eight kindergartens with a total of 165 preschool children in Kiel and surrounding areas.


Test versions:

Three different test versions of KiKi could be compiled based on data of the pilot study:

1)     KiKi easy: 4;0 – 4;6 years

2)     KiKi medium: 4;7– 5;6 years

3)     KiKi difficult: 5;7 – 6;6 years


The three test versions are interlinked which means that there are a large number of shared linking-items. By using the Item-Response-Theory it is possible to apply item difficulties to a scale and trace children’s mathematical development in a longitudinal survey.


Further research with KiKi:

In addition to our previous analyses of the developed procedure’s validity (Knopp et al., 2014; Jordan et al., 2015), we are planning further  analyses of the convergent validity using the OTZ (Osnabrücker Test zur Zahlbegriffsentwicklung, van Luit, van de Rijt & Hasemann, 2001).

A comparable study has already been conducted with 168 children in Utrecht using a Dutch version of KiKi and the Utrechtse Getalbegrip Toets (UGT, van Luit, van de Rijt & Pennings, 1994, original Dutch version of the OTZ). All three versions of KiKi were used with children of the three age cohorts. Results showed a comparably high correlation of .87 between KiKi and UGT. A regression analysis showed a regression coefficient of .66 for the UGT by controlling for the children’s age and working memory capacities.



University of Rostock, Prof. Dr. Tanja Jungmann, Prof. Dr. Katja Koch (Project KOMPASS): Investigating KiKi in a longitudinal survey.

University of Utrecht, Dr. Anne van Hoogmoed, Dr. Evelyn Kroesbergen: Translating KiKi to Dutch, validation study.



Dunekacke, S., Grüßing, M., & Heinze, A. (2018). Is considering numerical competence sufficient? The structure of 6-year-old preschool children's mathematical competence. In Benz, C., Steinweg, A.S., Gasteiger, H., Schöner, P., Vollmuth, H., Zöllner, J. (Eds.), Mathematics Education in the Early Years - Results from the POEM 3 Conference, 2016 (pp. 145-157).Heidelberg: Springer.

Grüßing, M., Heinze, A., Duchhardt, C. , Ehmke, T., Knopp, E. & Neumann, I. (2013). KiKi – Kieler Kindergartentest Mathematik zur Erfassung mathematischer Kompetenz von vier- bis sechsjährigen Kindern im Vorschulalter. In M. Hasselhorn, A. Heinze, W. Schneider & U. Trautwein (Hrsg.), Diagnostik mathematischer Kompetenzen. (1. Ausgabe) (S. 67-80). (Jahrbuch der pädagogisch-psychologischen Diagnostik. Tests und Trends). Göttingen: Hogrefe Verlag.

Jordan, A.-K., Duchhardt, C., Heinze, A., Tresp, T., Grüßing, M. & Knopp, E. (2015). Mehr als numerische Basiskompetenzen? Zur Dimensionalität und Struktur mathematischer Kompetenz von Kindergartenkindern. Psychologie in Erziehung und Unterricht, 62, 205-217.

Knopp, E., Duchhardt, C., Ehmke, T., Grüßing, M., Heinze, A. & Neumann, I (2014). Von Mengen, Zahlen und Operationen bis hin zu Daten und Zufall – Erprobung eines Itempools zum Erfassen der mathematischen Kompetenz von Kindergartenkintern. Zeitschrift für Grundschulforschung, 7(1), 20-34.

Neumann, I., Duchardt, C., Grüßing, M., Heinze, A., Knopp, E. & Ehmke, T. (2013). Modeling and assessing mathematical competence over the lifespan. Journal for Educational Research Online, 5(2), 80-109.