What is the new DfE times tables test / year 4 times table test DfE? - NinaLaZina


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Saturday, February 17, 2018

What is the new DfE times tables test / year 4 times table test DfE?

When will year 4 times table test DfE be introduced?

Schools will administer the new times tables test to year 4 pupils from 2019-20.

When will the trials start for the new year 4 times tables test?

The government is to start trailing the times tables test in selected schools from March 2018.

How will the new year 4 times table test DfE be conducted?

The new DfE times table test will be conducted as an on-screen test.  It will be sat by students aged 8 and 9 in Year 4. It is intended to ensure that primary school children know their times tables up to 12 by heart by the time they get to secondary school.

Is the new year 4 times table test by the DfE a good thing?

I think the answer to that is two-fold.

Some children do leave primary school with an insecure knowledge of the multiplications tables. This is not true of all children however, particularly those in more affluent areas of the UK. However, most schools have measures to ensure students that require extra help with times tables are given it. I cannot see why children need to be tested on their times tables/multiplication tables.

Some would say, there is no need for the test, as teachers already know which children are struggling with learning the multiplication tables. Thus, if they know - it can be fixed, right? Well, it seems it is not fixed for all. Perhaps testing times tables from year 4 will concentrate the minds of senior leaders to ensure that teachers are now given the resources to help those students that are struggling with learning the multiplication tables. There are students that leave primary school with an inadequate knowledge of their times tables. This can be rectified to some extent.
Here is an example of how testing changed the perception of a subject:

For example, the government had a compulsory science test for all year 6 students as science was at the top of a good schools' agenda ensuring all students were well engaged in science and it was taught across the curriculum. However, now science is no longer tested, most schools do not allocate a high number of teaching hours to science. 

My point is that if times tables are given this platform whereby they are seen as a necessity, then perhaps more resources and time will be allocated to those children that need that extra help with times tables.  In contrast to the UK, they do not test in Finland - where they are outstanding!

Teaching in Finland:
They have no tests in Finnish schools and their students outperform UK students. However, Finland treat their teachers with respect and they are highly regarded – comparable to doctors or lawyers!  There is a different ethos - from the ground upwards. UK teachers have very limited control and so it is impossible to compare them equally to Finland. However, Finnish teachers are free to set their own curriculum, compared to schools in the UK and US which must adhere to the national curriculum.

This time tables measure is just another measure due to the entire system not working as a unit. It is a good idea but only because the UK system is not as effective across all schools. There are outstanding/ good schools that produce well rounded and equipped students, and then there are other schools that do not.  If we could only get the framework right then there would be no reason to test children, as they would be informally assessed and measures would be in place to help all students achieve – education is for all, not the few.
How can I help my child with the new year 4 times table test by the DfE?
Learning should be about fun, games, joy and laughter.  I think of the Finnish education system and see how it thrives but their mantra is not to put pressure on students.

The times tables do not just have to be taught just by reciting it all day long. There are paper based games, dice games, computer games, times table song, worksheets and drill sheets, hands-on activities to help with the new year 4 times table test.

         Make sure your child has a times table poster on their wall

         You can also get times table placemats

         Play games with them where you both are engaged – not just you testing them. Select a times table game that suits your child’s personality. This could be a times table computer-based game, internet game, paper game, pen and pencil times table game or a board game.

         Get outside - if the weather is fine. Take some chalk and write on the pavement/ sidewalk. Let them play hopscotch and count in multiplies of fives.

         Help your child to learn the multiples of tables first. Once they know the multiples well then go to learn the facts this will help with the new year 4 times table test.

         Make learning the times tables fun and take it in small steps. Start counting in multiples as soon as they can talk. Play games, sing times table songs and enjoy learning together. 

         Count everything! Count toys, pasta, balls and more in multiples of 2, 3, 4 and so on. This will all help your child learn the multiplication tables. Count cars, buses and people - in twos and threes as you walk down the street. Count the plants and trees in multiples!

Don’t put stress on your child. Have fun learning and take your time!

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