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New SATs test on times tables

(217 Posts)
BatmanLovesBaubles Sun 03-Jan-16 10:20:03

TES link

First three paragraphs:

All children will be tested on their times tables as part of their KS2 Sats, under new plans unveiled by education secretary Nicky Morgan this morning.

The tests will examine multiplication skills in every 11-year-old as part of ministers' "war on innumeracy and illiteracy", the Department for Education said.

Pupils will expected to know all tables up to 12x12, with the skill measured using an "on-screen check" examination to be piloted by 3,000 students in 80 schools this summer before being rolled out across English primaries in 2017.

I am so cross about this.

1) Why remove the Mental Maths test (which did test times tables)
2) More timed tests are NOT what we should be doing at primary where many children already feel under pressure
3) Maths is an area where children often panic and their minds become blank - this is really not going to help
4) What happened to Nicky Morgan's promise that nothing new would be introduced?

I am so, so angry right now angry

ReallyTired Sun 03-Jan-16 10:57:40

The mental maths test made sure children understood what to do with number facts. Mindless regurgitation is not mathematics.

timestables999 Sun 03-Jan-16 12:28:45

actually I thought this was a good idea
the value of the SAT tests have become corrupted
do we know what they mean?
do the secondary schools take any notice of them?
my dcs spend their last year being coached how to pass SATs tests

surely we want most primary school, kids to know their tables by the end of year 5, let alone year 6

I think it is a very good real life measure and something they all need to know

perhaps it will make primary schools accountable
how can primary schools justify teaching kids for 6 years and then turn out not knowing their tables
it is a huge injustice to those kids

how many kids enter secondary education not knowing their tables
and that is a huge disadvantage for secondary maths if not a complete blocker

mrz Sun 03-Jan-16 12:38:26

There seems to be quite a negative reaction from secondary maths teachers on Twitter ...

Timestables999 there are new tests in May with scale scores rather than levels ..

areyoubeingserviced Sun 03-Jan-16 12:39:42

I don't usually agree with anything this goverment do with regards to education.
However, I think that it is a good idea.
My friend is a Secondary maths teacher and says that she is often shocked by the fact that children don't know their timetables.
This means that that they often find it difficult to access the curriculum.
Maths becomes difficult if the basics are not known,

timestables999 Sun 03-Jan-16 12:45:00

well I am not a teacher, just a parent

it seems to me that SATs are for the primary school box ticking
they are of little or no use to prospective parents
they are no use to secondary schools because the secondary schools take the results with a huge pinch of salt and conduct their own tests on which they base their own assessments on

where as times tables are actually a direct benefit to the kids

are we content that kids are coming out of 6 years primary school education not knowing their tables?

how can tackle algebra without your times tables?

timestables999 Sun 03-Jan-16 12:51:46

my last post was in response to mrz

mrz Sun 03-Jan-16 12:53:32

I'm not sure how SATs are for the primary school.

timestables999 Sun 03-Jan-16 12:59:14

I thought that the primary schools used it as a measure of their excellence/accomplishments in the primary school league tables much the same as secondary schools use their GCSEs results
but I might be wrong again

timestables999 Sun 03-Jan-16 13:20:06


I totally agree, I have heard very similar
how can you teach secondary school maths if the primary schools don't deliver a reasonable starting point?

BatmanLovesBaubles Sun 03-Jan-16 13:58:02

No, primary schools (in general) dislike SATs being used as a measure when comparing against others. Mainly because we see the children, not the statistics.

I can tell you one child in my class is unlikely to do well in his Maths SATs this year as he has dyscalculia (although his progress will hopefully counter that). The SATs results he will get will not reflect the sheer hard work he has put in, the stress he puts himself under when he knows he has learned something successfully before but just hasn't retained that knowledge when he comes back to it.

The SATs don't reflect how kind he was to a friend who suffered a bereavement, how superb he is at dance, how he has developed resilience in the last two years. How can they?

Parents like league tables, like data for comparison, like the illusion of choice. SATs are not for primary schools, or secondary schools. SATs are for parents, for Ofsted, for the Government.

Introduce a times tables test by all means, but not as an add-on. 4 Maths tests now, plus Reading, Spelling and PAG (including a return to a written piece), for 11 year olds. In the space of 4 days. Poor kids sad

teacherwith2kids Sun 03-Jan-16 14:29:21

I have mixed feelings about this.

Mostly, I don't think that end of Y6 is the time to do this. The new NC expects tables to be known by the end of Y4, and so it would make sense for this test to be administered at that point.

Rather than an accountability measure for schools, it should be more like the phonics check in Y1 - a check that individual children have mastered the skills needed for the next stage, and an expectation that teaching (and a retest) will continue for those who do not meet the benchmark required.

The Y6 arithmetic paper (and the reasoning ones, in a different form) would then test the application of these key skills, in the same way as y2 and Y6 comprehension-type assessments look at the 'further pplication' of decoding / phonics knowledge.

Lurkedforever1 Sun 03-Jan-16 14:42:08

I agree with teacher and reallytired. My other concern is that when a child is having difficulty reaching the required standard, it will be another thing for good teachers/ schools to try and juggle between ticking boxes and the childs best interests. And of course where schools/ teachers aren't up to scratch it will be another way of covering up failings if they can show good results in what is basically a memory test, not a maths one.

BatmanLovesBaubles Sun 03-Jan-16 14:45:27

That sounds like an eminently sensible plan, teacherwith2kids. I could definitely get behind it.

Year 6 is already a very, very stressful teaching post to take (the results tend to fall on you as a Y6 teacher, rather than taking into account the preceding years too!) and I do worry that recruitment and retention of Y6 teachers is going to become more and more problematic.

spanieleyes Sun 03-Jan-16 15:13:39

I'm trying to work out how this could be done logistically! Our internet system crashes if more than around a dozen children try to access the same site at once, how on earth would
a) schools have enough computer equipment to go round
b) the system be able to cope with over half a million year 6 children all trying to log on at the same time!
c) if testing were spread over several days, would we have to keep all the yr 6 children apart so they can't pass on clues!

I can see organisational nightmares ahead!

teacherwith2kids Sun 03-Jan-16 15:19:51

Spaniel, yes, there is that! We are an oversubscribed 3 form entry. The system will NOT cope with nearly 100 log-ons simultaneously.,..

Washediris Sun 03-Jan-16 15:23:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NewLife4Me Sun 03-Jan-16 15:27:33

I think this is really good as a dyslexic who knew all mine at aged 8.
We had to learn them daily.
Chanting was the only way to get them through to me, although I don't think we should go back to the humiliation of making individual children say them out loud.
Just taking one a week and making it the first part of school for 5 mins daily would be enough.
Then repeating them throughout primary, the slowest of children would know them by 11 then.

mrz Sun 03-Jan-16 15:27:38

Timestable999 our Y6 teacher has had 9 new children start since September and in the class as a whole less than half were with us in KS1 yet their progress since Y2 will be used to measure our teaching - yes tests really are for the school!

mrz Sun 03-Jan-16 15:31:02

One of the Ed experts on Twitter said they can't introduce tests in Y4 without it being passed by parliament ... Not sure if that's true can't remember Y1 phonics check going through parliament
Perhaps introducing a times table screening check in Y4 would be a better option.

teacherwith2kids Sun 03-Jan-16 15:31:20


The thing is, secondaries are typically much larger, and classrooms are more specialised so e.g. they may have a number of ICT rooms (and often many others) with computers set up permanently on all desks.

Primary classrooms are much more multipurpose, and permanently-installed computers don't e.g. mix well with messy art! The usual models are therefore either laptop trolleys, often 1 class set even for a 2-class intake as ICT is not often taught more than once per week in primary, or a single class size ICT suite (the latter is rarer). So saying 'it works in a 1,000 pupil secondary which has 5 rooms equipped with ICT equipment fully installed' does not predict that it will work in a 210 pupil primary with 1 set of 30 laptops, not all of which access the network reliably first time every time...

Pipbin Sun 03-Jan-16 15:34:52

The mental maths test made sure children understood what to do with number facts. Mindless regurgitation is not mathematics.

I couldn't have put it better.
Learning tables is like reciting Shakespeare without understanding the meaning.

It is very helpful to know them but not essential.

Pipbin Sun 03-Jan-16 15:39:02

How many teaching hours are now going to be wasted on making sure that every single child knows their times tables rather than teaching them the actual workings of maths.

starry0ne Sun 03-Jan-16 15:47:28

My DS 8 does know his..I read and article which said with action against teachers who don't come up to scratch. Which as my Ds has been taught them for a couple of years who is the action going to be taken against if his peers haven't got them... I would far rather extra support for the children struggling than "action been taken against the teacher"

SisterViktorine Sun 03-Jan-16 16:02:04

Learning tables is like reciting Shakespeare without understanding the meaning.

Well, they would like us to do this too. What does the objective say.. knows an increasing range of poetry off by heart?

Next will be recital tests.

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