Times tables ‘to be tested by age 11’

Published: January 8, 2016

BBC News recently published an article regarding the new way of testing how well students know times tables. According to new government plans, students aged 11 will be expected to know their times tables up to 12×12 and they will be tested using an “on-screen check”. Students will be able to do this test by completing multiplication challenges against the clock, which will be scored instantly.
“Every pupil in England will be tested on their times tables before leaving primary school, under government plans”.
“The Department for Education says it is the first use of on-screen technology in National Curriculum tests”.

According to new plans, 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. The decision to test students was based on the opinion that maths was a non-negotiable aspect of a good education. What is more, it has been noticed that some students continue to struggle with the times table; this test is seen as an opportunity to deliver educational excellence.

In addition to other benefits, this test is expected to help teachers recognise students who might be falling behind and it should also help target those areas that require more attention.
However, 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. Similarly, in the article published on The Telegraph, it has been noted that testing at a young age, when pupils have not developed their resilience and coping strategies, should be kept to a minimum and for the very young it is best avoided. It has also been acknowledged that teachers should have the freedom to use time more productively rather than putting pupils through a times table test.
Therefore, it can be agreed that alongside expected benefits, it is important to acknowledge all the possible negative aspects that might be resulted by this new test. The learning of times tables is obviously very important – but is a special test necessary?