1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Yet ANOTHER test for 11 y.o. 'Times tables 'to be tested by age 11'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by chelsea2, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Yes, tables are important - but testing EVERY pupil aged 11? Including those with SEN?

    And judging teachers on the results? Is it any wonder that filling Y6 teacher vacancies is so hard? I have a HT friend who will be teaching his Y6 class from next week, having been unable to fill the vacancy. And his is a 'good' school.

    And done on-line? Do all primary schools have the capacity to administer an on-line test to all their Y6s in identical, secure exam conditions? In some schools, there are no IT suites; in others, children still share computers.


    'Every pupil in England will be tested on their times tables before leaving primary school, under government plans.

    Pupils aged 11 will be expected to know their tables up to 12x12, and will be tested using an "on-screen check".

    The checks will be piloted to about 3,000 pupils in 80 primary schools this summer, before being rolled out across the country in 2017.

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said maths was a non-negotiable aspect of a good education.

    The "on-screen check" examination will involve children completing multiplication challenges against the clock, which will be scored instantly.

    The Department for Education says it is the first use of on-screen technology in National Curriculum tests.

    Teacher scrutiny
    Ms Morgan has also said teachers will be judged by the results of the tests: "Since 2010, we've seen record numbers of 11 year olds start secondary school with a good grasp of the three Rs. But some continue to struggle.

    "That is why, as part of our commitment to extend opportunity and deliver educational excellence everywhere we are introducing a new check to ensure that all pupils know their times tables by age 11.

    "They will help teachers recognise those pupils at risk of falling behind and allow us to target those areas where children aren't being given a fair shot to succeed."

    In 2015, 80% of Year 6 pupils achieved Level 4 in maths, reading and writing, up from 78% last year.

    But Labour says standards are being threatened by a shortage of teachers, and in the past some teaching unions have warned additional tests can place unwelcome pressure on teachers and pupils.'
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    If I have an immediate quibble then it's that this should happen in Year 5 giving Year 6 over to any necessary remedial learning in preparation for Year 7.

    SEN is a broad description but if such students are in mainstream and heading ultimately for GCSE then they will need to be held to the same standards as everyone else. It was always the case before the proliferation of SEN labels.
    Maths_Shed and nick909 like this.
  3. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    Another brick in the wall?
  4. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    "Ms Morgan has also said teachers will be judged by the results of the tests."

    The message to parents is clear: your child will be expected to know their times tables up to 12x12, but if they don't learn them, don't worry - it will be the teacher's fault.
    Qashquai, yodaami2, les25paul and 4 others like this.
  5. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Despite the best efforts of his teachers and me, my son never succeeded in learning his tables. He has an IQ of around 130 and is extremely articulate. Some people just can't do it, even if Nicky Morgan slaps them and their teachers on the wrist.
  6. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    misterhall likes this.
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    'It's all a conspiracy, I tell ya!'

    fineliner likes this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It's a fine ideal and expectation.
    However 35 years of working with people has led me to realise that some folk have brains that work differently, they take longer to or can't remember the number bonds and need to count on or to use other ways to work out the table.
    Punishing the teachers of these people is not the way forwards. The consequence will be high stress for the teacher, communicated despite best intentions to the pupils who will probably then have the rewarding bits of the curriculum stolen from them to make way for tables booster sessions.
  9. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    12 x 12 shows that Morgan has simply looked to the past, with no understanding of why this was so. As she certainly looks old enough, she should be able to recall LSD (no, not what you're on when you get most of your ideas, Nicky) currency, and feet and inches. These days, unless you are an American crashing probes into Mars, we use the metric system, so if one is going to set any sort of upper limit it should be 10 x 10.

    In any case, teaching times table is a job that any good parent can do. To the best of my knowledge my mother's formal education finished at the Irish equivalent of O-levels, and she certainly wasn't exceptional at maths. Yet she managed to teach me my times tables. All it takes is a little patience, encouragement and maybe some bribery. Then, of course, she actually enjoyed spending time with her children. She certainly wouldn't have been one of those mothers I see almost pushing their kid's pram under a car, or into somebody, because they have constantly got their nose to a mobile phone or MP3 player. Parents are not teachers, but at the primary level there's a lot they can do for their children's education, if they are prepared to take some responsibility for it, and sacrifice some me (me, me) time.
    dewin62 and lardylady like this.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Solid arithmetic facts and skills are truly rewarding compared with some things which are momentarily gratifying. Primary teachers are not employed as children's entertainers.
    snowyhead likes this.
  11. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Not knowing your tables isn't a barrier to success in the world of education

    Which is a pity.
    chelsea2 likes this.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    No - they are employed to teach a broad & balanced curriculum. That curriculum currently has 12 compulsory subjects plus PHSCE. If only there were time to 'entertain'!!! In fact, I'm not sure where you get the idea from that this is what happens in primary. Have you ever taught primary? Or been in one recently?

    Many Y6 children (and increasingly Y5) do not receive anything like a broad & balanced curriculum, as it is skewed so heavily towards the KS2 SATs. In many schools, the mornings are devoted solely to aspects of English & maths, leaving perhaps 10 hours to cover 11 other subjects. 2 hours for science, 2 hours for PE....6 hours for 9 subjects means subjects like art, geography, DT cannot be taught properly. And quite often, children who are deemed to be 'falling behind' in English & maths are removed from the afternoon lessons in order to do more English & maths. Who'd be a child in a primary school these days?

    Don't get me wrong, knowing tables is important, but singling tables out for a separate test really does seem a narrow-minded interpretation of what the primary curriculum should be about. For most of my 35 years of teaching, tables were taught and children tested regularly. Some children could get 100/100 (we only covered up to 10 x 10) in just over 2 minutes; others were still on tables up to 6x (70 questions) and making errors. I sent the appropriate tables home to be learnt & practised. Some parents helped, others probably didn't. I do not know what else I, as a teacher, could do. As other posters have said, some children find it almost impossible to retain such information. Would more time have helped? Should their education be restricted purely to accruing such knowledge?

    And that I, as a teacher, should be judged on these results, is the final straw!!
    dewin62 likes this.
  13. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Sadly, though I may be wrong, I think that the others form a substantial majority.
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    More terrifying than Morgan not being able instantly to recall the answer is that she apparently doesn't even know how to calculate it quickly in her head...
  15. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I was responding to the suggestion that arithmetic is not rewarding, presumably because the learning of tables does not lend itself easily to lessons which children and their teachers find immediately gratifying.

    I recognise that in some cases it is unfair for teachers, Primary and Secondary, to be held responsible for the active learning of their students but this measure only tests what is required by the National Curriculum as early as the end of Year 4, knowledge that is increasingly absent in Year 7 students.
  16. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Given that the expectation is for children to know their times tables up to 12x12 by the end of Year 4, it makes no sense whatsoever to take the test two years later; if it has to be done, far better to do it at the end of Year 4.
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    According to the National Curriculum, tables are to be taught from Year 2 onward. Everyone needs to pull their weight and it will be unfair if the testing Year's teaching is judged inadequate because of badly performing teachers in prior Years. Taking the tests in Year 6 allows two Years for consolidation and remedial work but the buck for poor teaching cannot be passed down to Year 6 in the way that the consequences are currently passed down to Year 7.
  18. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    It's not exactly asking 11 year old children to climb Mount Everest, is it? Like it or not, everyone should have some mental agility when it comes to numbers, however a brain is wired. Learning these very simple tables, and learning the number tricks around them, will reduce the number of children and adults (including a significant number of teachers) who embarrassingly reach for the calculator to multiply 5 times 5, or who cannot work out a simple percentage, or know how much change they should be getting from a purchase with a five pound note.

    No wonder teachers have a reputation for moaning when they have a pop about learning the twelve times tables! Pick you battles if you want to be taken seriously!

    XY (Retired)
  19. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    I am relieved as, working as a primary TA, I've noticed times tables are not being taught or practised much in some classes. When learning written multiplication or division methods children who need them are simply provided with multiplication squares to look up tables facts.
    Memorising tables is set as part of weekly homework instead (but not tested or checked in class) and parents are told to practise with their children. Parents expect them to be learnt at school and teachers expect them to be learnt at home. Often they simply don't get learnt. To cut down on year 6 stress (teachers and children) I'd say the times tables test should take place at the point at which the NC requires them to be known, i.e. at the end of year 4.
    misterhall likes this.
  20. drhazelmaths

    drhazelmaths New commenter

    As a secondary maths teacher, I have to agree with those querying the need for 11 and 12 times tables. Has Nicky Morgan explained why we need to go beyond the metric 10?

    Of course, it does no harm to learn beyond 10, but for many children who will already struggle with those up to 10, it adds an extra burden, when their energy would probably be better applied to mastering other aspects of maths.
    yodaami2, palmtree100 and misterhall like this.

Share This Page