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#1MillionMaths: some insights

In this - the third year of running our #1MillionMaths challenge - we look back to assess how the changes we’ve made to the competition have impacted on learning this year.

By Deborah Torrington
on November 18 2019
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Celebrating as we reach our #1MillionMaths goals
Celebrating as we reach our #1MillionMaths goals

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

While our annual #1MillionMaths challenge encourages learners to practise maths questions in a fun way, what we’re really wanting to see is learners improving their confidence and mastery levels.

From a simple to a more targeted competition ...

In our first year, the competition was simple - we asked learners to do as many questions as possible, and we awarded prizes based on this. Learners responded well, and we reached our one million maths target well within the month. Last year, we made it a little trickier, awarding prizes not on the number of questions they’d done, but on the number of atoms they’d achieved. Again, we reached our targeted number of questions easily!

This year, however, our focus changed. While the goal was still to reach #1MillionMaths questions, we wanted to concentrate on helping learners learn and revise in preparation for their end-of-year exams. To do this, we made things a whole lot more Interesting!

  • When learners opted in to the challenge, they had to confirm their grade, so they were competing only with learners in the same grade.
  • Learners had to work within their own grades - so we weren’t rewarding Grade 12s for doing Grade 8 questions!
  • We created four leagues (bronze, silver, gold and platinum), and learners were placed in the league corresponding to their mastery level. The aim was to help them move to a higher level of mastery, and to reward learners who’d mastered more of the curriculum.

What impact did this have?

There’s no doubt that our Siyavula learners love the #1MillionMaths challenge - the possibility of winning some great prizes is a good incentive to work hard during October!

More specifically, however, this year’s more focused competition revealed the following:

  • There was a marked increase (54%) in median responses among all active learners during October.
  • Learners did an average of 95 questions each during October.
  • Those learners in the Platinum League (i.e. learners who had more than 75% mastery) did an average of 27 questions each day
  • At the beginning of October, 79% of the learners were in the Bronze League (i.e. 0-24% mastery), but by the end of the month, this figure was down to 61%, as learners moved into the higher leagues.
  • In contrast, only 4% of the learners began the month in the Gold and Platinum Leagues, but by the end of October, 12% had reached these levels of mastery.
  • On average, learners’ mastery levels improved by 4,49%.

Our #1MillionMaths 2019 challenge attracted a higher number of users to our platform, and increased engagement among a broad base of learners. What was most important for us, however, was seeing the promising improvements in mastery. Watch this space for #1MillionMaths 2020!

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