News ID: 125542
Published: 0225 GMT August 28, 2015

Calculator ban improves children's numeracy skills

Calculator ban improves children's numeracy skills

Banning calculators in the classroom has led to a record number of children passing math tests at 11, ministers have claimed.

New government figures showed 87 percent of children gained at least a level 4 on maths, compared with 79 percent in 2010 and 54 percent in 1996 and the highest achievement in this subject on record.

Since 2010, the figure has increased by 8 percentage points, which is the equivalent to 46,000 more pupils reaching the expected levels.

The government said the strong figures in maths were helped in part to the banning of calculators during exams. Last year, calculators were banned in maths Sats tests in England but academics questioned whether this would raise standards, Telegraph reported.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has argued children can become too reliant on calculators if they start using them at a tender age. He's campaigned for primary school children to master addition, subtraction, times tables and division, using quick, reliable written methods.

Teachers said banning calculators wasn’t the reason for a raise in standards in the subject but attributed the results to quality teaching.

The figures also showed that 90,000 more pupils are leaving primary with vital maths and literacy skills.

Four out of five pupils are now reaching the standards expected of them in the three Rs by the time they leave primary school, new figures show.

But this means a fifth ― as many as 116,000 children ― are still failing to achieve the necessary level in reading, writing and maths.

The results of this year's national curriculum tests ― known as Sats ― show four out of five youngsters (80 per cent) achieved the expected level in grammar, punctuation and spelling tests, up four percentage points on last year.

Gibb, said: “A good grounding in reading, writing and maths sets a young child up for life ― so I am delighted that 90,000 more children are starting secondary school with a firm grasp of the basics compared to just five years ago.

These results vindicate our decision to expand the valuable academies program into primary schools with thousands of children on course to receive a better education.

Our reform program is driven by social justice and we will continue to raise the bar so young people are prepared to succeed in modern Britain.”

However, teachers were skeptical reforms had anything to do with raising standards in maths in particular.



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