Summer School Insights: Week 1 Place value and order

Craig Barton
August 24, 2020

Hello everyone,

We are experimenting with Eedi Summer School - a 7 week online programme designed to help identify and resolve gaps in Year 6 students’ understanding that may have resulted from school closures. As the results from the quizzes come in (and this is before any intervention takes place), I thought it might be useful to share some insights from the students’ responses. My hope is that this may give you an indication of where our Year 7 students might struggle come September. We start with the subject of week 1, which is Place value and order.

Overall, this quiz was very well answered by our group of 10 and 11 year olds (at the time of writing, 500 students have completed the first quiz). On average, students scored 85% across the 10 questions.

Here are the proportion of students getting each question correct in reverse order from the most poorly answered to the best answered:

We can see that Question 10 is the one that caused our group the most problems. What is Question 10, I hear you ask? It is this…

Take a moment to consider where you predict students might go wrong with this question.

Here are the results from any child who has ever answered this question, alongside the results from the Summer School cohort:

We can see that it is Answer C, 1.7, that is proving the most alluring.

Why do students choose this answer? Well, in their own words from the explanations they give when answering the question:

Because after the number 1 it would go like 1.1 and 2 is like the number 20

C because it is after 2 so it will be 1 point something and if you count the lines up to the arrow it will equal 7

As with all these misconceptions, I find it useful to ask myself two questions:

  • Why are students going wrong?
  • What am I going to do about it?


We can see from the explanations the answer to the first question. The second question is much more difficult. We need to find ways to convince students not only that 1.4 is the correct answer, but also that 1.7 cannot be correct. Do we use an interactive number line? Another visualisation? Some manipulatives? Do we bring in fractions? It is worth taking a moment to consider how you would approach this misconception if you found a significant number of your students possessed it.

Let me show you the second and third worst answered questions from this quiz, together with the proportion of students opting for each answer:

Again, it might be useful to ask yourselves the questions:

  • Why are students going wrong?
  • What am I going to do about it?


Next week we have Integer Arithmetic, and I will be back with some more insights based on students’ responses.

Take care of yourselves, thanks for reading and stay safe
Craig and the Eedi Team

Written by
Craig Barton
Head of Education