Complaint to the BBC: No news coverage of the new exam for year 4

Complaint sent Wed 15th June 2022

All children in year 4 in England are being required to take a new compulsory exam just now.

This is a truly horrific exam that was never consulted and is entirely the fetish of one minister. Nobody who knows anything about maths teaching at all is supporting it. It will clearly do extensive damage to teaching.

There has been some excellent journalism on it – for example this article: https://www.educationuncovered.co.uk/news/155146/no-thinking-allowed-dfes-new-times-tables-test-for-eight-and-nineyearolds-aims-to-stop-them-using-reasoning-to-work-out-answers-.thtml
and I have written blogs about what’s going on and what a sensible test would have looked like here: https://rebeccathemathslady.com/the-multiplication-tables-check-goes-live-today-england-only/

but the BBC have totally ignored this test – like it doesn’t exist. I’ve been waiting and waiting for discussion about it but now it looks like there won’t be any because most schools were taking it this week or last week so they are nearly done now.

I just think this isn’t okay. It’s a terrible, terrible, test. Why the suppression of all debate? Why has there never even been a small article about it?

The key problems with this test are:
1. Children who are extremely fluent with their tables ,but (as is recommended) sense check some of their answers, do not meet the required standard because only rote recall is considered to be of any benefit to children, not fluency.

2. Graded credit should be given to children who are making good progress with their tables so that every child can attempt targets which are reasonable for them and useful information can be collected about what children are achieving. This is not happening.

3. This test should have been consulted and evidence should have been explored. It wasn’t. It was even put through parliament as a minor amendment to KS2 SATS so that MPs would never see it and it would not be debated.

The results are issued on 27th June and this would be a reasonable time for the BBC to attempt to correct this mistake.

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