The report questions the reliability of national curriculum tests, the present means of judging the standard of maths. According to those tests, which can be adjusted to reflect changes in the national curriculum, 44 per cent of 11-year-olds reached expected standards in 1995, rising to 54 per cent in 1996 and 62 per cent this year. The research, published in today's Times Educational Supplement, challenges the Government's pledge that by the end of this parliament, in 2002, three out of four 11-year- olds will be competent in maths.
Researchers looked at maths results achieved by six- and 11-year-olds in five schools in one local education authority over the last eight years. They used the same simple tests throughout the period of the study.