TEACHERS and academics have raised concerns about the impact of banning calculators in primary school tests.
Children in Year 6 have this week been sitting their National Curriculum SATs tests and for the first time under Government changes they cannot use calculators in the maths exams.
Ministers believe pupils are becoming too reliant on calculators, saying pupils should know their times tables and be able to add, subtract and divide before learning to use calculators.
But others have warned that the ruling could have a big impact on results.
Teacher April Warren, whose Year 6 pupils at Larkrise Primary School in East Oxford, were due to take the maths test yesterday, said it was difficult to know the impact the ban would have.
She said earlier: “What will have an impact is whether the test paper reflects not being able to use a calculator.
“We won’t know for definite how that has gone until we open the papers. If the tests are still set at the level that they were last year then it could have a big impact on results.”
Experts at Oxford University have argued children would lose vital skills and it will be detrimental to their learning.
Professor of Educational Studies Terezinha Nunes said calculators helped children develop mathematical reasoning.
She said: “There is a balance between assessing computation skills and reasoning.
“But if you take away the possibility of calculators, either you are going to not focus at all on reasoning and just thinking about how to do the sums correctly, or demand less on reasoning skills and so spend time calculating.”
Oxfordshire County councillor and education expert John Howson agreed that it could have an effect on results.
He said: “We won’t know what effect it will have until we get the results. I can see both sides.”
But he added: “Asking children to not use them does seem a bit like a step back.”
“It’s like going back to logorithms instead of using a computer. If the technology is there it should be a skill they should learn.”
Anne Watson, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Education at Oxford University, said: “There is a substantial amount of good evidence on calculators in schools, mainly from the US, and none of it shows their use is detrimental to pupils’ learning.
“In fact, students who use calculators regularly in lessons score as high or higher in tests, taken without calculators, compared to those who do not.”
Our top stories:
UPDATE: Mayfair Road man appears in court on Barton murder charge as alleged victim is named as Wojciech Ryniak
11:04am Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAN has today appeared in court charged with murder after a man was found with chest injuries in Barton late on Tuesday night.
9:04am Saturday 25th April 2015
ONE man’s mission to get 200 more public defibrillators across Oxfordshire has smashed its target thanks to the Oxford Mail.
1:56pm Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAN has today appeared in court charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a stun gun after an incident in Mayfair Road on Tuesday evening.
12:00pm Saturday 25th April 2015
WILD boar have been spotted in parts of Oxfordshire.
8:57am Saturday 25th April 2015
A CONSERVATION group has said historically important sections of The Randolph Hotel were left largely unscathed by last week’s major fire.
8:53am Saturday 25th April 2015
CYBER crime in Oxford is becoming so prevalent it is replacing traditional thefts, a police chief has said.
8:47am Saturday 25th April 2015
HUNDREDS of experienced postmasters will be lost as part of changes to our post offices, a union secretary has warned.
8:41am Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAJOR clean-up is under way to smarten up Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus station.
Kidlington man to lay wreath at Cenotaph to recognise Grandfather and Great-Uncle's Gallipoli sacrifice
8:33am Saturday 25th April 2015
ONE HUNDRED years ago Robin Atherton’s grandfather went into battle along with his twin brother – but only one of them survived the day.
8:30am Friday 24th April 2015
A BEDBLOCKING crisis in the county has forced health bosses to launch a week-long blitz.
7:07pm Friday 24th April 2015
POLICE officers have tonight returned to a house in Cowley after two arrests were made in the Barton murder investigations.
4:11pm Friday 24th April 2015
A MAN has been arrested after a woman was attacked at a house in Bicester.
3:19pm Friday 24th April 2015
A MISSING parrot has been found in Wallingford following a police appeal.
2:46pm Friday 24th April 2015
TRAINS are delayed between Oxford, London Paddington, Reading and Swindon after a vehicle struck a bridge at Pangbourne.