Calculators banned in primary maths test

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MINISTERS are to ban the use of calculators in maths tests for 11-year-olds after warning that pupils are becoming too reliant on them at too young an age.

The Government said the country’s schools would be joining higher performing education systems such as Hong Kong or Massachusetts in the United States in restricting the use of calculators.

Currently 98 per cent of 10-year-olds use the devices in maths lessons in this country compared with an international average of 46 per cent, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

Education and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss has announced that calculators will be banned in maths standard assessment tests (Sats) for 11-year-olds from 2014.

She warned that pupils were using calculators too much too soon at primary school – the current curriculum suggests introducing them for pupils aged seven.

The draft primary programme of study published last June said they should not be introduced until late primary school.

The Government said that as a result of a reliance on calculators children were not getting the rigorous grounding in mental and written arithmetic they needed to progress.

The announcement was made as new figures show almost 3,000 Sats test results were challenged by primary schools this year.

The statistics, published by the DfE, show a sharp fall in the numbers of reading and maths papers sent back for review by schools.

In total, 2,197 reviews of the English reading papers taken by 11-year-olds were requested, along with 752 reviews of maths tests

Last year, there were 7,176 reviews requests for reading and 1,302 for maths.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “It is good that schools submitted fewer test scripts for review in maths and reading in 2012 – and that just 0.1 per cent of more than one million papers marked this year received a level change after a review.”