Sample questions of tougher tests for 11-year-olds released today

The TES is reporting that sample questions for the new tougher tests which will be taken at the end of primary school from 2016 have been released by the Department for Education today

The number of tests pupils take at age 11 will remain the same, but assessments have been overhauled to bring them in line with the new curriculum which starts this September.

There will be tests in reading, mathematics and grammar, punctuation and spelling. A sample of pupils will also take a science test every two years.Teacher assessment has been used to gauge pupils’ ability in writing since 2012.

The changes to the maths tests have been particularly controversial. From 2016, pupils will sit a 30-minute arithmetic paper, rather than the current 20-question mental maths test, and two 40-minute problem-solving papers.

Topics on the new papers will include adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators and calculating the area of a parallelogram and a triangle.

The marking scheme will reflect the government’s insistence that students use standard long division and multiplication methods. Children who get the wrong answer to a calculation will still get marks if they used these methods in their workings, but not if they use ‘chunking’ for division or ‘grid method’ for multiplication.

Dr Sue Pope, chair of the general council of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, said: “For schools to say, ‘right we will make sure everyone does long multiplication or long division’, for the sake of one or two marks is crackers….”

Calculators were banned from the tests from this year. A move which some academics have called a “backwards step” because it restricts the type of problems that can be asked.

But Elizabeth Truss, education minister, said that the changes were necessary to ensure that English pupils can keep up with their peers in the Far East…

The new tests will have a higher pass mark and rather than being reported in terms of the level reached, a scaled score will be used to show how each child has compared to their expected standard for their year. A score of 100 will represent the standard expected and parents will be provided with their child’s score alongside the average for their school, the local area and the country….

More (including question examples) at: Sample questions of tougher tests for 11-year-olds released today

Your thoughts on the new test and the insistence that students use long division and multiplication methods? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter and take part in our poll…

[yop_poll id=”236″]


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!

Today's poll: Do you think Nicky Morgan will make a good education secretary?
Thousand Jewish boys 'disappear into illegal religious schools'
Categories: Primary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Sums (pun intended) up the govt – insisting on a method of calculation because they like it, but dismissing other methods

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove It really shouldn’t matter which method someone uses to get to a solution, as long as that method is understood

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Once again ministers fail to grasp education; setting more difficult questions won’t automatically raise attainment

  4. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Generally I agree though some methods are so inefficient and time consuming as to be effectively useless.

  5. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove Agreed, but surely understanding is important. If they understand a method and it works, surely that’s good

  6. NuttySalt

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove that’s not how it works? Raise the pole vault bar and people can jump higher – no?

  7. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Current batch of ministers have no idea. The Progress 8 framework is just barking. Doubt anyone understands it

  8. andylutwyche

    NuttySalt SchoolsImprove Great minds think alike as I was thinking of the exact same analogy! Idiotic and clueless ministerial decisions

  9. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove Agreed. What ministers fail to recall is the misery many suffered having to learn a method they struggled with

  10. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Moreover I’m sure no-one can predict the effects it will have on the curriculum offered to KS4 from now on.

  11. NuttySalt

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Their decisions shaped by their experiences; we need politicians who’ve attended state schools.

  12. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove I suggest that due to this policy many more students will be turned off some subjects & will have given up by GCSE

  13. andylutwyche

    NuttySalt SchoolsImprove Current, practising staff need consulting rather than those who’ve “moved upstairs”, out of the classroom

  14. NuttySalt

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Too logical? I’m happy to have Gove or TristramHuntMP to stay for a week. Live life of a teacher

  15. andylutwyche

    NuttySalt SchoolsImprove TristramHuntMP Me too! Teaching 1 lesson a fortnight or visiting a specially chosen academy to visit is rubbish

  16. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove I expect a serious narrowing down of the curriculum, compulsory Humanities, MFL maybe. BTECs etc to cease.

  17. oozogg

    g56g had a read, ????? As a year 6 teacher next year, OMG! Do they need to know these terms at 11? Really?! Madness #badgoveidea

  18. andylutwyche

    NuttySalt SchoolsImprove SentinelStaffs Don’t wait by the phone; TristramHuntMP too busy coming up with new names for old qualifications

  19. NuttySalt

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove SentinelStaffs TristramHuntMP Probably true – but I’m going to carry on believing U0001f385

  20. VictoriaJaquiss

    SchoolsImprove In what way is “keeping up” up with eastern peers relevant to UK 11 yr old? Must live their lives, not 2 be industry fodder.

  21. marieannswift

    MaryMyatt MichaelRosenYes SchoolsImprove so getting tougher will do favours for children with sen ? Just another tool -middle class elite

  22. Janet2

    Truss is no longer schools minister.  Let’s hope her hatred of all mathematical methods which don’t chime with her approved methods goes with her.

    Maths is about understanding – and if that understanding comes from methods like chunking then so be it.  It’s better children understand what they’re doing than follow an algorithm unthinkingly.

  23. ADevaney1

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove very important for pupils to know there’s more than one way and to choose for themselves

  24. andylutwyche

    ADevaney1 SchoolsImprove You know that; I know that. Unfortunately the powers that be clearly don’t

  25. andylutwyche

    “NuttySalt: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove SentinelStaffs TristramHuntMP Offer open to NickyMorgan01 too!” I’m in too, if that helps

  26. SchoolsImprove

    lrg1954 That’s annoying – what platform/device are you using, and has it been working ok on previous polls? Thanks for the feedback

Let us know what you think...