Year 4 Times Tables Check – Friday 16 November 2018

This week I report on the proposed Year 4 Times Table check, Ofsted’s slideshow on the new Inspection Framework from September 2019 and the news that the DfE is considering reviewing the inspection exemption for ‘outstanding’ schools.

Year 4 Times Table Check
On Tuesday the Multiplication Tables Check Assessment Framework was published by the Standards and Testing Agency. Whilst the aim of the framework document is to provide guidance to the test developers it also provides a guide to what schools and teachers will be expected to have taught their pupils.

The new Year 4 check doesn’t have to be completed until June 2020, but schools are able to voluntarily administer the check in June 2019. A summary on how it will be administered is set out below:

  • There will be a 3 week window in June each year for the administration of the check. There is no set test day, nor an expectation that all pupils will take the check at the same time.
  • Before the test window opens each year, there will be the opportunity for pupils to access a practice area to become familiar with the style of the times tables check.
  • Pupils will only face multiplication statements in the check.
  • The check is digital so pupils will be presented with 25 questions on screen (laptops, desktops and tables can be utilised), have 6 seconds from the time the question appears to input their answer and the whole check will take less than 5 minutes per pupil.
  • Each child will be randomly assigned a set of questions, which the STA refers to as a ‘form’.
  • There will be repeated questions across different sets of questions each year, but no more than 30% of the questions will be the same in any two sets of questions. This means if the test gets interrupted and pupils need to re-start it, they will only have a minimal advantage.
  • It will be possible to withdraw certain children from the assessment and information will be made available on this next academic year.
  • The results for each pupil will only be available at the end of the 3 week window.
  • The guidance is clear that there is no expected pass rate or threshold. This means that, unlike the KS1 Phonics Screening check, children will not be expected to re-sit the check if they do not meet a set threshold.
  • From 2020, the DfE will report on the performance of pupils in the check nationally and in each local authority but the results will not be published in the school performance tables and will not be used in judging whether schools meet the ‘floor standard’.

Ofsted slideshow on new inspection framework
Ofsted has published 24 slides setting out how it plans to put the curriculum at the heart of its new inspection framework. It says the framework will also have an increased focus on off-rolling and reducing workload for teachers and leaders.

DfE “considering” review of inspection exemption for ‘outstanding’ schools
Last month the parliamentary public accounts committee said that the current rules which have left some schools uninspected for over a decade should be re-examined. On Monday, Nick Gibb the School’s Minister, told the House of Commons “We are considering the public accounts committee’s recent recommendation that we review the exemption, and will be responding formally to this in December”.