DfE Annouces Times Table Test Trials

The government announcement of times table testing trials to begin in schools this spring might have caught a few people by surprise - whilst the statutory check has been on the cards for a few years now, it was put on hold in 2016 following the appointment of Justine Greening as education secretary.

As the BBC report, some 7,250 pupils in 290 primaries are expected to take part in the trials which the DfE note will "last no longer than five minutes and is similar to the checks many schools use already." Given our understanding of using Number.fy in schools, we would expect that to equate to 20 questions, probably randomly generated.

As we have noted before, a good understanding of pupil level times table knowledge requires at least 100 questions. The government's test will therefore give a good understanding of knowledge at the Local Authority and National level - it is unlikely to do so at the school level. Small schools are more likely to suffer from misleading results so it will be interesting to see how Ofsted view these outcomes.

Our recommendation would be to baseline test your children termly from Year 2 and practice for 15 minutes a day (40 questions each). Schools that implement this have seem dramatic changes in times table knowledge.