11-year-olds to be barred from using calculators in tests
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 09 November 2012
Children are to be barred from using calculators in the maths national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds.
Schools Minister Elizabeth Truss is announcing the move today in a bid to encourage pupils to master mental arithmetic skills whilst in primary school.
Research shows 10-year-olds from England are amongst the highest users of calculators in the world - with 98 per cent resorting to them in lessons compared with an international average of 46 per cent.
Ms Truss said children were too reliant on calculators at present, adding that there was a need to get more rigour into maths lessons. Calculators should omnly be introduced when pupils were confident in their mental and written arithmetic and knew their times tables.
“Maths influences all spheres of our lives,e she added. ”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 a calculator to work things out seems to just worsen that problem.”
At present, the national curriculum allows children to start using calculators from the age of seven - but new proposals will put that back to the end of primary schooling.
The ban on their use in tests will come into force in 2014.
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