Project focus

    Diagnosing and intervening effectively – Place Value 

    The aim of the project was to establish how schools can be enabled to most effectively intervene to provide additional mathematics support.

    The research project was undertaken by Herts for Learning and nine Hertfordshire schools with Year 3 pupils, in order to develop a resource which allowed schools to use diagnostic questions to track back and identify gaps in mathematical knowledge, and to create teaching sequences for personalised mathematics interventions. 

    Outcomes of the initial project:

    • Schools’ abilities to precisely diagnose pupils’ gaps in place value are much improved.
    • As a result, interventions are more personalised to individuals.
    • Effective use of the teaching guidance provided systematic and structured instruction throughout the eight sessions of intervention (on average).
    • Accelerated progress of pupils has been evidenced by improved accuracy, when answering diagnostic questions after the 4-week intervention period, for 100% of pupils. In addition, an independent place value assessment has shown that 100% of pupils increased their understanding of place value.

    If you would like to read a further analysis and Impact Summary of this project, please see:

    If you are interested in reading more about the impact of the project from a school’s perspective, Ashleigh Calver, Assistant Head, mathematics subject leader and Year 3 teacher at Longlands Primary School, Broxbourne, has shared her reflections in the following guest HfL blog:

    Diagnosing and intervening effectively: a small scale study

    What next?

    The ‘Intervening Effectively Project’ has now been developed into an on-demand training course which includes all relevant resources.

    This training will support teachers to develop mathematics interventions within their school through five digital training modules.

    The training comes with a place value diagnostic assessment and teaching guidance resource which has been developed, piloted and impact evaluated by the Herts for Learning Mathematics Team. Effective use of the resource will be explained and modelled to support improved mathematics interventions.

    Throughout the training, support will be provided to identify and address common gaps in mathematical learning. In addition, advice and strategies are suggested to enable intervention learning to be secured.

    This training will be available until 21st July 2022. 

    Session 1: effective mathematics interventions

    Teachers are guided to reflect on what effective mathematics interventions look like based on research. 

    The rationale for mathematics interventions are considered.

    Teachers then reflect on their current situation to consider how to improve the impact of their interventions.

    Session 2: diagnostic assessment

    Teachers are guided to consider how assessment can be used to establish the intervention focus.

    The provided place value diagnostic assessment resources will be explored so that teachers know:

    what the diagnostic assessment looks like and how it works

    how to carry out the assessment effectively

    Session 3: personalised plan 

    Explanation and modelling is provided to enable teachers to interpret the results of the diagnostic assessment to develop a personalised intervention plan.

    Session 4: teaching guidance

    Teachers explore the provided teacher guidance and consider common gaps in learning, becoming more confident in using the resources to support effective mathematics interventions.

    Session 5: bringing learning back into the classroom

    Teachers are guided to consider how intervention learning can be brought back into the classroom so that learning can be secured and built on effectively.

    Please visit eLearning | Herts for Learning CPD Online, course code: HFL 21/123

    Blogs to read

    How do you meet the needs of all pupils in maths including those with gaps in learning or SEND?

    Closing gaps in maths - a teacher's view

    Supporting children with dyslexia in mathematics 

    More than a growth mindset

    Persistent difficulties in maths: Does labelling help?

    Intervening in maths: early, systematic and precise enough?

    Can't calculate? Could place value be the culprit?

    Detecting shaky learning and dealing with it


    Project contact

    Gill Shearsby-Fox,
    Primary Teaching and Learning Adviser - Mathematics
    Tel: 01438 544464

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