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:
5:40pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
DRIVERS are facing congestion after a two-vehicle crash closed one lane of the A34 northbound.
UPDATE: Severe delays on Botley Road this evening as latest phase of Frideswide Square works causes traffic chaos
9:43am Tuesday 26th May 2015
Botley Road is at a standstill again as the latest phase of roadworks at Frideswide Square causes traffic chaos.
3:27pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
TENANTS of a property in Banbury could be barred from entering their home by police.
2:10pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
HUNDREDS of mourners lined Blackbird Leys Road to pay their respects to former councillor Val Smith this morning.
12:24pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
A CRASH is currently blocking a lane on the A34 near the Botley Interchange.
11:56am Tuesday 26th May 2015
A LANE on the A40 near Witney has been closed this morning for essential pot hole repairs.
12:13pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
A video review of how the murders of Jan and Derin Jordon and Phil Howard, plus the subsequent manhunt for Jed Allen, unfolded.
11:22am Tuesday 26th May 2015
RESULTS of post mortem examinations on the three people killed in Didcot are not expected until tomorrow, police said.
9:20am Tuesday 26th May 2015
Oxford City general manager Justin Merritt feels that his side’s change of divisions next season is a mixed blessing, but is relishing the new challenge.
8:50am Tuesday 26th May 2015
BRIGHTLY coloured ribbons tied carefully around posts on the streets of Didcot have become a symbol of solidarity in the town.
8:27am Tuesday 26th May 2015
DELAYS are expected for drivers on the M40 due to heavy traffic.
8:11am Sunday 24th May 2015
Follow our Live and unrivalled coverage of the murder investigation in Didcot, updated throughout today
8:42am Monday 25th May 2015
THE MAN suspected of killing Philip Howard, Janet Jordon and Derin Jordon is employed as an apprentice gardener for Didcot Town Council.
8:00am Monday 25th May 2015
CRADLING his baby sister Derin, this is a teenage Jed Allen, the man suspected of killing her and their mother in a house in Didcot.