In the last three years nearly 2,000 people have been turned away from teacher training due to failing one numeracy test. So is this test adding to the shortage of teachers or is it simply ensuring that our teachers are to the best they can be? Quantity or quality?
Three years ago, Michael Gove, the then Education Secretary decided to toughen up the numeracy test and make it mandatory for aspiring teachers to pass if they want to further their training. In order to toughen up the test Mr Gove raised the pass mark, limited candidates to three attempts and didn’t allow re-takes to be taken within a two year period of failing. Since these changes were implemented nearly 2,000 teacher hopefuls have been stopped from training and ultimately becoming teachers.
The test proving to be a stumbling block for so many aspiring teachers is made up of two parts: the first section includes 12 mental arithmetic questions in which candidates have 11 minutes to answer. The second part of the test comprises of 16 written questions covering skills such as interpreting data, for this section the candidates are given a further 36 minutes.
So is the test too hard? How do you feel you’d fare? Let’s see, here are a few questions taken from a sample test:
Mental Arithmetic (50 seconds per question):
1) In a mathematics exam 3/4 of the total marks come from a written paper and 1/4 of the marks from coursework. In the written paper 1/4 of the marks come from a mental test.
What fraction of the total marks come from the mental test?
2) In a year group of 110 pupils, 66 pupils have school dinners.
What proportion of the year group do not have school dinners? Give your answer as a decimal.
Written questions (2 minutes and 30seconds per question):
3) A teacher is planning a group outing to see a play in a nearby city. She has been given details of costs and travel. There are 25 in the group, including pupils and teachers. A group booking for 25 theatre tickets costs £185. Return train tickets cost £5.65 each.
How much will each person have to pay for the outing to cover the cost of travel and theatre ticket?
The Department for Education recently released figures that showed out of a total of 124,000 people taking the test, 1,962 prospective teachers failed their three attempts. Even though this figure proves small, during a time where schools are struggling to recruit teachers, it all adds up. This year the government target for teacher training was missed by a total of 6%, with a range of key subject areas failing to even reach half of targets set. Allowing the 2,000 ‘failed test’ teachers to continue their training wouldn’t fill this gap completely but it may help.
What do you think should these teachers be allowed to continue training? Are these questions too hard? What do you think? Have your say here…