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What teacher shortage? The numeracy test stops trainees in their tracks

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Vince_Ulam, Nov 23, 2015.


Are teaching candidates getting more stupid?

  1. Yes, and I have no idea why.

  2. Yes, and I blame the national curriculum.

  3. Yes and I blame bad teaching.

  4. No. Just no.

  5. No, 21st Century teachers don't need to know that much.

  1. Skillsheets

    Skillsheets Occasional commenter

    Sometimes when I am exasperated by students I give my mum the question to work out. 81 years old, educated in a working class grammar school, trained as a nursery/infant teacher and worked mostly part time as a junior school teacher. She still has her times tables intact and very good problem solving abilities, far better than people who have just emerged from the sausage factory of education now with its overloaded curriculum. Very capable of teaching basic maths.
    wanet likes this.
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    With that factory now feeding directly into ITT I wonder what QTS may now be said to signify.
  3. Skillsheets

    Skillsheets Occasional commenter

    It means they might have heard of stem and leaf diagrams and box plots but aren't really sure what they are for.
  4. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I didn't say the examples came from the tests. I said teachers need confidence and the tests are an indicator of that. My examples were of when you might use maths in your everyday teaching life, even if you don't teach maths.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  5. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    That's very odd - did you not have 'traditional' qualifications in 1979, like 'O' Levels/A levels? I qualified around the same time and I can assure you that neither I nor any of my contemporaries had to take a 'Maths' (or any other) test. Of course we were secondary, and maybe that is the difference (and all my comments have been about subject specialist at secondary - not primary)

    The so-called 'skills' tests were introduced when Ralph Tabberer was in charge of Teacher Training at the TTA - I should know as (along with a large number of teachers involved in teacher training at that time c. 2001) we had a meeting with him where he found the opposition universal and impossible to argue against: it was clear he was just a 'yes' man for the government.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Looking at the details of the tests, it does appear that a lot more is needed than most teachers (especially many subject specialists) will use. How many French teachers will need (for example) to do mental calculations with areas? Outside the classroom, we can all use calculators anyway. I think that the tests are a blunt instrument, which fail to tackle the differing skills required in different roles.

    I wonder how many people complained about the numeracy skills of English teachers.
  7. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    It's not difficult maths though.
    wanet likes this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Some people find Maths harder than others, and some of them may not have been taught the subject well at school. You may not think it difficult; some would disagree. It is really about what is actually needed for the job.
    kent1 likes this.
  9. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    There is a particular kind of irony when teachers argue that they don't need to know any other knowledge to just do their own particular job.

    I wonder how many of them would say "I teach children" rather than any kind of subject, while at the same time thinking they only need to know their subject.

    I taught science and biology in particular, though I saw it as part of my wider remit as a teacher of children (not a phrase I would ever say myself) to be generally knowledgeable and able to be a role model. It also helps to know what's going on around you and be able to join in discussions on a personal and professional level.
    chloe_95, needabreak and Vince_Ulam like this.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

  11. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    And just how does passing the 'skills tests' help that? Better to make sure all teachers read serious newspapers and watch Panorama, TV documentaries on 'other subjects etc etc.....
  12. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    A step in the right direction.
  13. owltutors1

    owltutors1 Occasional commenter

    I personally agree with the numeracy testing for potential teachers and do not think that this is the reason why there is a shortage of teachers.

    Excessive paperwork, politics, observations and working hours appear to be the reasons why so many fantastic teachers are considering leaving the profession - not a lack of individuals who are unable to pass a numeracy test.
    Mangleworzle and kent1 like this.
  14. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    Really? How do you work that out? Be more useful to make trainee students watch 'Pointless'..Those that don't already watch it, of course.

    I'm still waiting to read any evidence that Skills tests have done any good, whatsoever... The fact that no-one can cite any just proves what a waste of time & money they are.
  15. owltutors1

    owltutors1 Occasional commenter

    Just from my own personal experience, I sat 5 numeracy tests at five different Universities and at the time, I did think it was a bit much!
    However, in hingsight I think they are beneficial as it is so, so important for our teachers to have a sound knowledge and understanding of the maths curriculum.
    It may be that a test is not the best way to ensure that teachers are equipped with the knowledge to teach Maths, but I do think it is important for our NQTs to feel confident and comfortable teaching both Numeracy and Literacy
  16. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The skills tests ensure, of course, that candidates are able to handle the genuinely necessary administration required by their hoped-for role as a classroom teacher.
    Mangleworzle likes this.
  17. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    It has weeded out the weakest in ability terms.

    How can anyone who is faced with "why do I have to learn this subject, I'll never use it" honestly answer it if they themselves don't see why they should pass a test (an easy test) in a subject that is in use everyday in order to do their job, much of which is about getting others to do exactly what they don't want to do?
    Vince_Ulam and owltutors1 like this.
  18. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    Has it? A lot of the worst teachers i knew were, on paper, the best qualified and often were very intelligent. But couldn't teach to save their lives.

    So, I repeat, EVIDENCE please that proves that skills tests have made a positive difference to the quality of teachers and teaching.

    Put up or shut up...
    emefelle likes this.
  19. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Speaking of evidence, am I the only one seeing this?
  20. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    Great minds think alike, clearly....

    Now, why not answer the question?

    Or ir it because you can't?

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