You may have heard rumours about the new Multiplication Tables Check (or MTC) – eek! But don’t worry, by understanding what the MTC is, how it’ll be assessed and how you can help your child prepare for it, it’s not as scary as it sounds.
What’s the purpose of the MTC?
The Check is designed to help ensure that children know their times tables up to 12 off by heart.
As Education Minister Nick Gibb summarises, knowing your times tables is really important: “As well as being critical for everyday life, knowledge of multiplication tables helps children to solve problems quickly and flexibly, and allows them to tackle more complex mathematics later on in school”.
Memorising your times tables can also improve mental maths and help children to gain confidence in maths as a whole, so it’s well worth taking the time to understand and memorise them.
When will it be introduced, and who will take the MTC?
The MTC is currently available as a voluntary test and will become a statutory requirement in the academic year of 2019-2020.
The Check will be taken by pupils in Year 4. It will take place in June over a three-week window, with no set day for the Check.
How will the MTC be delivered?
The MTC will be taken on computers or tablets. From the time a question appears on screen, pupils will have six seconds to answer each question, using a keyboard to input their answer or pressing digits with a mouse or touchscreen. It will consist of 25 questions and will take less than five minutes!
How will the MTC be assessed?
Parents will receive results from the Check after the three-week window. There won’t be a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ threshold – it’s just to see how each child is doing and if they need any extra support in their times tables. It will also help schools to see if they need to make any adjustments to the way they’re teaching.
The results won’t be published in any Performance Tables, but they will be analysed by Ofsted.
How can I help my child prepare for the MTC?
Try not to learn times tables only by reciting them in order, as this can make them harder to recall when they are presented in a random order. Instead, once your child feels comfortable with a table, ask them questions and gradually add in other tables as they become more confident.
You can learn tables in a specific order which can make them easier to memorise, and keep in mind some handy hints to help you master each one! Why not try some creative methods to help liven-up learning them?
Apps such as DoodleTables can be very helpful. ‘Learn’ exercises help your child to understand the method behind each table, while the fun 60 Second Challenge tests their instant recall!
Article by Lucy Hart