National Numeracy has responded to the announcement of a new multiplication test to be trialled across primary schools.
The multiplication times tables check, will be trialled with Year 4 pupils (aged 8 and 9) primary schools from next month, and will eventually become mandatory for all children of this age in June 2020.
The Government has promised that the test has been “carefully designed to avoid causing additional stress for children and teachers”. National Numeracy has responded reiterating the need to increase efforts to promote positive attitudes towards using numbers in everyday life particularly among parents and carers.
Mike Ellicock, National Numeracy CEO said “While the introduction of this test is underpinned by good intentions, we need to be careful not to knock the joy out of children’s early mathematical experiences or distract schools from building children’s real understanding of numbers. Knowing your tables is valuable – we all use them in everyday life – but what is more important is having a real feel for numbers and understanding the patterns behind times tables so children can use the knowledge flexibly in the real world. The danger in putting so much emphasis on tables testing - effectively on rote learning - is that it becomes a box-ticking exercise and hinders the development of practical number sense”.