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 a training course which includes all relevant resources.

    By attending the course, you will:

    Gain a greater understanding of how to intervene effectively in mathematics based on research

    Understand how the provided diagnostic assessment can be used to identify gaps and misconceptions

    Learn how to administer and interpret the results of the diagnostic assessment

    Explore the teacher guidance and related activities to feel more confident in how to use these to put together a personalised plan and teaching sequence

    The next course will take place on Wednesday 5th February 2020 in Stevenage:

    Intervening effectively – a place value diagnostic assessment and intervention teaching programme resource. Book online with course code: MAT/19/5/P

    In addition to this training we are going to be running a funded action research project for the Matrix Essex and Herts Math Hub that looks at a range of ways to intervening effectively in mathematicss, including diagnostic assessment. This project will run throughout the spring and summer terms 2020 both in Hertfordshire and Essex.

    If you would be interested in more information about how to be part of this funded action research group please contact Gillian Shearsby-Fox, at

    Blogs to read

    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

    Contact details

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