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Failing QTS tests

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by lucyharg92, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    However, they are correct.

    When you're in front of those 30 impressionable people, if you can't write a grammatically correct sentence or quickly work out that 25 minutes after 10:45 is 11:10, then they're not getting what they deserve.

    If that means some adults who have a "life long dream" of "being a teacher" have to do some bl**dy work to get to that standard, then so be it.

    Teaching isn't the X-Factor.
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  2. Well said. I know under New Labour we got used to being given everything and "failure" being a prohibited word but at the end of the day, if you can't pass what I imagine to be (I'm about to start my PGCE) a fairly simple literacy and numeracy test after 3 attempts then tough, you shouldn't be teaching. Find another career. You shouldn't be teaching people with better literacy and numeracy skills than you, regardless of your subject.
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  3. I'm the exact same as this. I can do the maths, but it just takes me about 5-15 seconds longer than the time limit. Therefore I am really worried about the mental maths test. How does the marking work, if I drop marks in the mental maths section can I pick them up in the other section or do they both have a separate 'pass' mark. I'm certain I'll pass the English test so I'm going to get that one out of the way quickly so I can concentrate on maths.

    I don't have dyslexia but I do take medication which might effect my ability to process information quickly enough for this time limit. Does anybody know whether I might be able to apply for extra time?
  4. sez142

    sez142 New commenter

    I just did one of the practise tests with no revision or practise and on the mental part got 9 out of 12. So with a bit of practise on the other two practise ones the mental bit will be easy. I understand why I was wrong too. English will be easy least too!
  5. glenn_xp

    glenn_xp New commenter

    Anyone know what the pass mark is?
  6. sez142

    sez142 New commenter

    60% so it's not even that high!
  7. kazzmaniandevil

    kazzmaniandevil New commenter

    I think people panic about this test so much because so much rides on the result of it. However, Paul is correct in saying that the tests are easy but if you can, learn how to set aside the internal panic, practice your basic mathematical skills using the BBC skillswise website and keep practicing the online tests then I'm sure we can all pass! Im sure It's all about confidence with maths. I've been practicing at least 4 times a week since May and I'm slowly getting better!
  8. Omelet girl, are you some kind of educational guru? Who are you to judge that potential teachers should not teach if they can't do the numeracy test? In my 34 years teaching languages in a comprehensive, I was never faced with numeracy problems of the type in the qts tests, with a mere 20 seconds to answer them. Not that they would have given me problems. I have A level Mathis. I think the most important thing I had to do involving numeracy was counting children onto a coach in one of my many foreign trips. I hope pgce students who are worried about these tests don't read your comments, as they are not helpful.
  9. Sorry. First time I've used this site. My comments should have been directed at Paul, I think
  10. If you have confidence issues with maths, read the first chapter in 'Mathematics Explained for Primary School Teachers' by Haylock. It deals with insecurities in mathematics and it really helped me out.
  11. I took a couple of literacy tests the other day just to see how I'd fare and passed with no trouble (not entirely unexpected...I did do an English degree after all).

    The maths test on the other hand is worrying me slightly. Maths has never come naturally to me. I've brushed up on my mental maths skills and I'm getting better at that part of the test, but I'm running out of time on the second part.

    However I refuse to let this be anything more than a minor obstacle in the road. I haven't successfully gone through countless school exams, a degree and the interview process to let a 28-question maths test prevent me from doing what I want.

    Positive attitude- I don't plan on making use of any of those resists!
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  12. These tests aren't a surprise - it's been a condition for achieving NQT status for years. There is no excuse to fail. If maths isn't your forte, then you revise until you can pass the very basic test. The pass mark is something like 63%, it should be achievable for anyone remotely competent.
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  13. Honestly, this debate seems so daft. These tests are really, really simple. In the case of primary teaching students, If you can´t think quickly enough to answer the maths ones, how on earth could you have the mental agility to teach Upper KS2 maths?

    Such a basic level of intelligence/ability/skill doesn't seem much to ask teachers to have.
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  14. There's nothing hypothetical about this highly qualified graduate. I agree teachers should have well-rounded skills, as you put it. As I said in an earlier posting, I taught languages for 34 years. I have also taught other subjects. As a member of the school leadership team, I have analysed exam results. I have had to work out percentages, of course. But I have never had to do any of this in a matter of seconds, bang bang bang. This test seems utterly irrelevant and divorced from reality.

    Re your comment about determination and intelligence. This person has enough to do learning how to be an excellent teacher of languages, without the added trauma of having to prepare for a bizarre numeracy test, containing some very strange, and, as I said, contrived questions. And with a clock ticking....and the threat that failure means non-qualification as a teacher.
  15. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I've certainly dealt with random student maths questions in short order, but I do appreciate your point. I would say that any test of this nature is going to be somewhat artificial, and really this maths is quite straightforward. These are tests (before the recent changes) that were known to be part of the course before anyone even commenced it - learning prior to starting would have been perfectly feasible for a lot of people.
    I think trauma is overly emotive. It's a challenge that has to be dealt with like any other. Being a excellent teacher can wait a while, a good teacher with the maths/English skills is what most people need to be to start with.
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  16. mehmetdan

    mehmetdan New commenter

    I agree. I have slogged 7 years to get my degree part-time and jumped through every hoop the government has put my way. Then, at the final hour, they change the goal posts without warning.
    I am good at maths but not in artifical circumstances. Give me a harder test on paper and without any calculator and I will pass without a doubt. Give me some headphones and 18 seconds per question then forget it. It's just too stressful. As Stevewa says when would those circumstances ever happen in a teaching career?
    And anyway, people that find maths easy are usually the one's that can't explain how they got to the answer. My hubby and son can do the skills test at lightening speed but they can't tell me how they worked the questions out. What use would they be to a class of children?

  17. I'm not sure learning prior to starting the course is necessarily that feasible. I don't think many people are that focused and organised. They are probably doing other things, such as earning money. I also think a student might not actually consider the literacy and numeracy tests to be an obstacle when they are making the life-changing decision about teaching a subject they obviously love. I suspect for many students it is only after they have got on a PGCE course that they are ambushed by these tests, and the reality of possible failure of the whole course sinks in.
    In my years as a teacher, I worked with many excellent colleagues. I'm not sure that they would all have survived the 18-second question tests, if they had had to sit them. Maths teachers aside, of course.
    I agree with your comments re the trauma. Definitely a bit emotive, but if you are a teacher you will know there are two subjects which do seem to cause hysteria, trauma, feelings of failure.... call it what you like. One is maths, and the other is modern languages, my subject. I also agree with you that a teacher must have good english skills. I however do not agree that a prospective excellent teacher of, say, languages, geography, english etc should not be allowed to teach because under pressure s/he was unable to answer a series of random timed maths questions. I would like to meet the person who thought this up!

  18. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    How, then, would you ensure that all teachers can demonstrate some basic knowledge of Maths? For a lot of PGCE students, myself included, GCSEs were taken some time before application to the ITT course so there has to be a level playing field.
    To say that any teacher doesn't need these basic skills doesn't ring true. Are you telling me a Geography teacher never needs to produce graphs based on rainfall in a certain country? Are you saying an English teacher would never need to be able to calculate mock grades based on a series of written papers? Or that any teacher would never need to be able to use national statistics to help formulate a school improvement plan?
    I suppose I'm just trying to say that surely there have to be some standards? I am definitely not a mathematician, but I managed to pass.
    I do agree, though, that prospective student teachers should be made aware of them, perhaps even be able to take them at the time of applying for a PGCE. I've not personally known anyone have to leave a course because they failed, but it would be horrible if it did happen.
  19. Steady on. I did not say teachers don't need these basic skills. And don't preach to me a bout what Mathis skills different subject teachers need.
  20. Or Maths, for that matter......Though Johnny Mathis was a great musician....

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