Understanding Times Tables

What is the Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check and how can you help your child master their times tables?

With the new Multiplication Tables Check (MTC) starting in the next academic year, we look into what this means and how you can help your children with their times tables.

In the academic year 2019-2020, all Year 4 children will have an MTC towards the end of the academic year. They are expected to know their times tables up to 12 x 12. Although this has always been part of the National Curriculum, it will now be officially tested.

The reason for the check is to determine whether year 4 pupils can fluently recall their multiplication tables. In other words, children are expected to be able to rapidly recall times tables with accuracy without having to work them out using other methods. In 2017, the then education secretary Justine Greening said, ‘A good primary education lays the foundations for success at secondary school and beyond. This year’s (2017) Key Stage 2 results showed our curriculum reforms are starting to raise standards and it is vital we have an assessment system that supports that.’

The test will be taken in the summer term of Year 4 in June, and will be compulsory for all English state schools and academies. The test will be a short (no longer than 5 minutes) test taken on the computer through an online testing programme. Children will have 25 questions and have 6 seconds to respond to each question. It will be in the format 3 x 2 = ?. There will be no division questions or problem solving questions. There will be a specific focus on the trickiest times tables: the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables.

There will be no pass mark and no child can ‘fail’ the test, but the individual results will be given to schools and parents/carers and the results will be used for teachers to ascertain which children need further support.

How can you help with your child’s times tables?

ONLINE GAMES

There are many websites that provide games and quizzes to help your child master those tables. Here are a few that could help:

Times Tables
Top Marks
Maths Zone

TIMES TABLES SONGS

Listen to some fun times tables songs! This is Mr DeMaio, an American Elementary school teacher who creates some catchy songs to help children learn their times tables! Buy a times tables CD to listen to in the car! This is our favourite CD which even my 5 year old loves to sing along to! Children also rave about Percy Parker’s songs!

TIMES TABLES POSTER

Download our helpful times tables poster to stick up on your fridge or wall so that you constantly look at it and memorise those numbers!

Times Tables Poster

USE SPEED GRIDS

Download our blank times tables grid and get your child to fill in the grid. This is a good way to see which times tables they are unsure about and which they need to practise more. Pick out the tricky ones that they always forget and keep testing them on those specific ones.

Times Tables Speed Grid

PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE!

Anytime you have a spare minute. It could be on the bus on the way to school, in the car, at the breakfast table, in the bath, keep testing your child so they could recite them in their sleep if they needed to. It’s also useful to practise the corresponding division facts as this will really test how well they know them. BUT ensure you keep it enjoyable and light-hearted or you risk your child rebelling and feeling like a failure if they don’t get them right. It shouldn’t be incessant testing, but try to make it a regular thing, that way they will see it as normal rather than constant drilling of times tables.

REWARDS!

Whether it be a chart or a small treat once they have mastered a times table, rewards can be a great way of encouraging your child to keep going. Always give positive praise even if they’ve got most of the questions wrong: ‘That was a really tricky one, don’t worry! You’ll get there!’ Positive encouragement can prevent them burning out.

APPS

There are some fantastic apps out there to help children in KS1 and KS2 learn their multiplication facts. Here are a few that we love!