Tests to check whether eight- and nine-year-olds know their times tables will be trialled in some primary schools in England next month before being rolled out nationally.
The test, which ministers hope will improve pupils’ numeracy, will become mandatory in 2020 for all year 4 students.
Of course, all teachers know where there children are up to on their times tables – so another test that does not in any way benefit the teachers or children whatsoever.
The government says the on-screen test, which assesses knowledge of the times tables up to 12, will last no longer than five minutes and has been designed to avoid causing additional stress for children and teachers.
The Department for Education sought to reassure teachers that the results would not be published and would not be used by the schools watchdog Ofsted to enforce any changes.
So what is the point then?
I sometime wonder if the DofE sit around and have a discussion that goes something like this.
‘We need to do something to help improve these children’s education’
‘How about some tests’
It seems that way because whilst cutting millions of pounds from schools budgets they just keep on testing, testing and testing. Same old, same old.
Nick Brook, the deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “We’re working constructively with the government on primary assessment generally so it’s hugely disappointing that they are still intent on the introduction of a multiplication tables test, which the NAHT opposes.”
Of course they will go ahead with this because they know best. They are not heads or teachers, have no or little understanding of education but are ministers…so they must know best!
The numeracy skills of students in England lag behind those of their peers in east and south-east Asia so that is why it is happening.
Educations arch enemy Nick Gibb, the school standards minister, said: “Just as the phonics screening check helps children who are learning to read, the multiplication tables check will help teachers identify those pupils who require extra support.
Clearly he is unaware of the difference.
“This will ensure that all pupils leave primary school knowing their times tables by heart and able to start secondary school with a secure grasp of fundamental arithmetic as a foundation for mathematics.”
And does he not think schools are trying to do this already. We have already seen the mess they have made of ‘each child leaving school with a qualification in Maths and English’…how will that happen??
So these test won’t tell teachers and parents anything they don’t already know about their children. Results won’t be published but will end up on Ofsteds desk, just what every school needs.