From the 2019/20 academic year onwards, all state-funded maintained schools and academies (including free schools) in England will be required to administer an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to year 4 pupils.
The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will help schools to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.
Schools will have a 3-week window to administer the MTC. Teachers will have the flexibility to administer the check to individual pupils, small groups or a whole class at the same time.
Schools will be able to familiarise themselves with the tests and let pupils try them out, ahead of a national pilot between June 10 and June 28. The pilot will help to shape the final version of the tests, which will become statutory for Year 4 pupils in June 2020. Schools can access this area via the NCA Tools website, or via this quick link .
The check will focus on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables because, the DfE says, “these have been determined to be the most difficult multiplication tables”. There will be 25 questions and pupils will be given six seconds to answer each question.
Each pupil’s score out of 25 will be reported to the school – there will be no expected standard threshold. Children will be tested using an on-screen check (on a computer or a tablet), where they will have to answer multiplication questions against the clock. The test will last no longer than 5 minutes and their answers will be marked instantly.
TTblast from Just2Easy (available as part of your LGfL subscription) has updated features that will help children practice ahead of the check. When children either go ‘live’ within TT blast, or if they use it in practice mode, a clock will appear in the top right hand corner as can be seen below.
This will count down 6 seconds and then turn red. Children can still answer the question after the clock has turned red, it just means that they have taken longer than 6 seconds to answer.
When the children have completed the live test, their final scores can then be seen, this screen has also been updated and children will be told the average time it took them to answer questions. Next to each answer there will be a green clock to denote if answered in 6 seconds or a red clock to show that they answered in longer than 6 seconds, as can be seen below:
The children can use TT blast both at home and at school logging in with their USO – a great way to get children to practice their tables ahead of the MTC.