All primary school-aged children are expected to know their times tables up to 12 x 12 by heart. In fact, they are expected to have mastered their times tables by the end of Year 4.
Until now, there had been no formal measure to judge whether children in England had learnt their times tables or not – with a formal judgement only somewhat made from a child’s Year 6 Maths SATs performance. So, the idea is for the Multiplication Tables Check to be taken towards the end of Year 4 to make sure children are meeting the benchmark of memorising their times tables up to 12 x 12 before moving up to Upper Key Stage 2 (Year 5 and Year 6).
All state-funded maintained schools and academies (including free schools) in England will be required to administer an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to year 4 pupils.
The national curriculum specifies that pupils should be taught to recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12 × 12 by the end of year 4.
The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will help schools to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.
Schools will have a 3-week window to administer the MTC. Teachers will have the flexibility to administer the check to individual pupils, small groups or a whole class at the same time.
How will children be tested?
Children will be tested using an on screen check (on a computer or tablet), where they will have to answer multiplication questions against the clock.
This will be the first time that the DfE has used computerised tests in primary schools. Calculators and wall displays that could support he children will be removed from the room the MTC is taking place in.
The test will last no longer than 5 minutes and is similar to other tests already used by primary schools. Their answers will be marked instantly.
Children will have 6 seconds to answer each question in a series of 25. Each question will be worth one makr and be presented to the child in this format:
n1 x n2 = ___
Questions will be selected from the 121 number facts that make up the multiplication tables from 2 to 12, with a particular focus on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables as they are considered to be the most challenging. Each question will only appear once in any 25-question series, and children won't be asked to answer reversals of a question as part of the check (so if they have already answered 3x4 they won't be asked 4x3).
Once the child has inputted their answer on the computer or device, there will be a the second pause before the next question appears. Children will be given the opportunity to practise answering these questions in this format before the official check begins.
The six second timer per question has been decided by the DfE because it should allow the children enough time to recall the times tables without giving them time to work them out.
How will the results be reported?
Pupils' individual results will be made available to schools, and the Department for Education will report national results to track how they change over time. Schools will be required to report the results to parents.
What happens if my child does not score very high on the test?
There will be no 'pass mark' or expected standard for this test and no child will 'fail'. Multiplication facts will be the only thing tested.
The DfE says the purpose of the test is to help teachers identify which children are falling behind and target areas where they're not being given the chance to succeed.
How can I help my child?
Times tables are learnt best when learnt regularly and in short bursts. Here at SMFRwe use Time Tables Rock Stars as an online support. You will find your child's login details through their class teacher. There are many other ways children can be supported however.
Please use the link below for some great ideas.