Multiplication Tables Check in England

14th February 2018

Today the UK government updated us on the plans for the Multiplication Tables Check that will become compulsory for year 4 students in 2020.

As a general rule, I don't comment at all in the public domain on political times tables matters so the video below may be the last time you hear me saying much on the subject!

In a nutshell, my points are that...

Knowing the tables AND learning the underlying structures are both important because all the interesting maths is based on multiplicative relationships.

Schools focus on what their pupils are tested on, therefore they'll invest in these tables tests. That should be a positive for maths learners.

There are concerns over the tests:

  • The anxiety they may cause.
    (Disclaimer: I've seen them and they should be a walk in the park for our Headliners.)
  • The admin burden.
  • The threat of external accountability (see text below video).
  • Whether they're right for every learner.

Then some awkward chat stemming from how uncomfortable I feel as a business owner who would benefit if more schools adopted TT Rock Stars as a result of this announcement, when really all I wanna do is teach maths.

Oh, and use of the word 'fart'.

Download Parent Letter

On the matter of accountability, Ofsted, league tables

According to the DfE at the time of the announcement, the data from the MTC will be used in exactly the same way as the phonics screening check. Individual school results will not be published. Local and national figures will be published. The DfE and Ofsted will have access to the data but, as ever, they will consider this data in the round – they definitely won’t base judgements just on these figures (as with the PSC).

These lines are all in the primary assessment consultation response:

It is important to note the way that we intend to use data arising from the check. Whilst we will collect assessment data from the check, this will be published at national and local authority level only, and not at school level. We will make clear to relevant parties, including regional school commissioners and governing bodies, that data from the check should be used only as a starting point for a discussion on how best to help and support schools to raise standards in numeracy. As we said in the consultation, the data will not be used to trigger inspection or intervention. (Page 28)


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