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Multiplication tables check pilot announced

Government reveals a trial of multiplication tables check from next month

Published on 16th February 2018

A trial of multiplication tables check will start from next month, the government has announced.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb revealed that a select number of schools across the country will start trialling the multiplication tables check from next month.

The multiplication tables check is designed to help ensure children in primary school know their times tables up to 12 off by heart. As well as being critical for everyday life, knowledge of multiplication tables helps children to solve problems quickly and flexibly, and allows them to tackle more complex mathematics later on in school, the government said.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “Academic standards are rising in our schools thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, with 1.9 million more pupils in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010. It is important to have an assessment system that continues to drive this improvement.

“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. 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,” he added.

In the primary assessment consultation run by the government last year, the majority of the sector said that Year 4 would be the best point to run a check on progress being made. The check follows the introduction of the phonics screening check in 2012.

The new on-screen check will last no longer than five minutes and is similar to the checks many schools use already.

It will be sat by 8 and 9 year olds in Year 4, after teachers and schools told the government this was the best point for it to be introduced. Results from the check will not be published at school-level, and will not be used by Ofsted and others to force changes in schools.

The multiplication tables check was announced as part of the government’s response to its primary assessment consultation last year. This consultation proposed a number of other changes to make assessment in primary schools more accurate and reduce the burden of tests on teachers and children.

This trial comes ahead of the national voluntary roll out of the multiplication tables check for all Year 4 pupils from June 2019, before it becomes mandatory in June 2020. A national sample of schools has already been selected to participate in the trials and they will soon receive their invitation to participate.

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