Calculators banned from key stage 2 maths tests

Written by: HTU | Published:

Calculators are to be banned in maths tests for 11-year-olds from 2014, the government has announced.

Calculators are to be banned in maths tests for 11-year-olds from 2014, the government has announced.

Education and childcare minister Elizabeth Truss said that pupils were using calculators "too much and too soon" at primary school and that they were not getting a "rigourous grounding" in mental and written arithmetic as a result.

There are currently three maths tests at the end of key stage 2, one of which allows calculators.

Example test questions which allow a calculator include: “Tickets for a school play cost £2.75 each. Dev sold 23 tickets. How much money did Dev collect?"

The draft primary Programme of Study, published last year, says that calculators should not be introduced until late primary and should be used for activities such as converting a simple fraction to a decimal fraction.

The Department for Education pointed to evidence from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study survey in 2007 which shows that 98 per cent of 10-year-olds are permitted to use calculators in maths lessons in England – significantly above the international average of 46 per cent.

Ms Truss said: “The irony is that while maths is all around us, it seems to have become acceptable to be 'bad with numbers'. The habit of simply reaching for the calculator to work things out only serves to worsen the problem.

“All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up a calculator to work out more complex sums."

The changes will be overseen by exams watchdog Ofqual and will come into effect in the summer tests period of 2014.

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