'As teaching faces a recruitment crisis, Holly Welham meets those failing to join the ranks because of a ‘ludicrous’ math test Jodie Palmer has wanted to be a teacher since she was 13. But last year her dream came crashing down when she failed to pass the numeracy test. It meant the 22-year-old could no longer start her training, which she’d already secured through School Direct. “I was heartbroken,” says Palmer, an English literature and language graduate. “I cried and cried and cried.” She’d spent a year preparing for the exam – including taking practice tests and having one-to-one tuition – but the pressure of the mental arithmetic questions kept tripping her up. “I could do the maths, just not within the time they set,” she explains. The numeracy test, which all aspiring trainee teachers must pass, has two parts. In the first section candidates get 11 minutes to answer 12 mental arithmetic questions, then in the second, they have 36 minutes to answer 16 written questions that cover skills such as interpreting data. It is designed to ensure all teachers have a basic competency in numeracy (there’s also a literacy test), on top of the required minimum C grade at GCSE. Sample questions from the arthithmetic section include asking candidates to work out how much money a class would raise if all 30 students took part in a sponsored spell test,getting an average of 18 spellings correct – each worth 20p. Another question asks trainees to calculate six out of 25 as a percentage. Palmer is one of nearly 2,000 people who have been prevented from training to teach in recent years because of failing the numeracy skills test. When the exam was first introduced in 2000, people were given an unlimited number of tries and could begin a training course before passing the exam.' (TheGuardian.co.uk, 22 November 2015.) You can read the entire article here and take a quiz based on the mathematical skills test here. Math proficiency is of course not certain evidence of general intelligence, whatever that might be, but in your view are teaching candidates getting more stupid? If it's simply a case of mathematical inadequacy then what might we infer from this about the way mathematics has been taught for the last, oh, twenty years? Please complete the poll at the top of this page, thank you.