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New times table tests to be introduced from 2019

24/02/2017 Kelly

A new test assessing children's knowledge of multiplication tables is set to be introduced in 2019, it has been confirmed.

Schools minister Nick Gibb has told the Commons Select Committee for Education that the new times table check will be brought in at the end of the 2018-19 school year and will be taken by Year 6 pupils alongside their Sats when they finish primary school.

This means that students who are currently in Year 4 will be the first batch of pupils to be assessed in this way. Mr Gibb described times tables as "a very important part of mathematical knowledge", adding that the introduction of the test will help to provide students with the understanding necessary to perform long multiplication and long division.

Plans for the test were a component of the current government's election manifesto, with former education secretary Nicky Morgan first outlining proposals to test 11-year-olds on their times tables in January 2016, reports BBC News.

According to the plans detailed by Ms Morgan at the time, every pupil will be expected to know their times tables up to 12 x 12 by the time they reach the end of primary school, ensuring that young people are able to start secondary school with strong maths skills.

One key innovation was the proposed use of an on-screen testing method, representing the first use of this technology in national curriculum testing. The concept would have seen pupils asked to provide timed responses to a series of multiplication questions, before receiving their scores instantly - a move intended to make it easier to deliver the tests, and to provide teachers with an immediate snapshot of how pupils are performing.

The introduction was put on hold when Ms Morgan was succeeded by Justine Greening, who ruled that no new national tests or assessments were to be introduced before the 2018-19 academic year. Mr Gibb's announcement represents confirmation that the plans are now back on.

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