Do you have a child in year 4 at primary school?
If so, they will be taking the statutory multiplication tables check (MTC) for the first time, in June this year.
The purpose of the check is to determine whether pupils can fluently recall their times tables up to 12, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will also help your child’s school to identify pupils who may need additional support.
What is the MTC?
The MTC is an on-screen check consisting of 25 times tables questions. Your child will answer 3 practice questions before moving on to the official check, and will then have 6 seconds to answer each question. On average, the check should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete.
MTC has been extensively trialled and tested over its development. In March 2018 we ran a trial with over 1000 pupils to establish an appropriate time limit for year 4 pupils to demonstrate fluent recall and give them the time to input their answers. During the national voluntary pilot in June 2019, just under 400,000 children successfully sat the check with the 6-second time limit.
What if my child cannot access the check?
There are a number of accessibility features available in MTC to assist children with special educational needs and disabilities. These were developed with schools and pupils to ensure they do not disadvantage children that require additional support. Schools will be able to try these out with your child to ensure they are appropriate, prior to the check window in June.
However, there are some circumstances in which it may not be appropriate for a pupil to take the check. If you have any concerns about your child being able to access the MTC, you should talk to your child’s headteacher.
Do I need to do anything to prepare my child for the check?
No. You do not need to do anything additional to prepare your child for the check. Teachers may ask you to practise times tables with your child, as they would with spelling.
In terms of preparing pupils for the on-screen nature of the MTC, schools will have access to a ‘try it out’ area from 23 March. They will be able to use this to familiarise pupils with the check, and try out any access arrangements that may be required.
How will the results be used?
Schools will be able to view their results once all participating pupils have taken the check. Schools will then share your child’s score with you, as they would with all national curriculum assessments.
Statistics on MTC data will be published on GOV.UK at a local authority and national level by October. This will help schools understand how they are performing. School and pupil level data will not be published.
Do not worry if your child is not working at the expected standard.
It is important to remember that these results will help teachers identify where your child may need extra help. If you have any questions about your child’s results and what support they might need, you should speak to their teacher.
Your child’s teacher will be able to answer any questions about the multiplication tables check.
For further details you can also visit www.gov.uk/STA.