Rise in pupils hitting top marks in times tables tests

Attainment rises in Year 4 maths assessment - as EHCP gap widens slightly

Attainment rises in Year 4 maths assessment - as EHCP gap widens slightly

23 Nov 2023, 13:28

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The proportion of year 4 children scoring full marks in the government’s times tables checks has risen by two percentage points.

The Department for Education has this morning published the results of its second set of multiplication checks – introduced in schools two years ago.

Figures show 29 per cent of youngsters who sat the tests answered every question correctly, as full marks remained the most common score achieved. This represents a two percentage point rise since last year.

Schools minister Damian Hinds said the results show the government’s “reforms are driving up standards in our schools”.

“Mastering times tables by age 9 will make sure children can tackle more complex maths later on in life as well as help them with everyday adult activities.

“That is why it’s so exciting that these checks show more children are learning their times tables in primary schools alongside our phonics screening check which has seen an increase in results since last year.”

EHCP gap widens slightly

Overall attainment rose among all eligible pupils over the last 12 months, with average scores increasing from 19.8 to 20.2 out of 25.

The scores among those with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) rose slightly to 14.7, from 14.5. This means the gap between EHCP children and everyone else widened marginally.

Marks among disadvantaged children stood at 18.3, compared to 20.9 for their better-off peers.

While grades have improved across both demographics, the gap has remained the same (2.6 marks).

Seven per cent of poorer children did not take the assessment. The corresponding figure for those not known to be disadvantaged was 3 per cent. The numbers were the same in 2021-22.

Meanwhile, boys continued to score higher (20.4) in the test than their female counterparts (19.9). But the difference in achievement has widened slightly from 0.4 marks last year to 0.5.

No improvement in kids below national standards

The DfE said pupils should not take the test if they are unable to answer the easiest questions or are working below the national curriculum expectation, or year 2 level, in their times tables.

In all, 96.2 per cent of all year 4 pupils took the test, which is up slightly from 2021-22 (95.9 per cent).

However, the percentage who weren’t assessed because they aren’t able to do year 2-level maths remained the same (3 per cent).

London still on top as older pupils perform best

London continues to be the highest-performing region. Average scores increased from 20.9 to 21.1.

The southwest continued to register the lowest scores but saw average marks rise from 19.1 to 19.7.

Government statistics also show September-born children did best. On average, they scored 20.9 marks in the test, compared to 19.4 for August pupils.  

Free schools register highest times tables marks

When broken down by school type, free schools were still on top. They recorded average scores of 21.2, while the figure for converter academies was 20.3.

Sponsored academies remained at the bottom, with an average score of 19.8. But they registered the highest increase (0.6) over the period.

Average grades in local authority-maintained schools, meanwhile, stood at 20.2, up from 19.8.

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