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Maths tests at 11 get it right

HEADTEACHERS say the maths test for 11-year-olds was pitched at the right level despite fears that changes would make it too challenging.

Last year, the mental maths paper was singled out by Year 6 teachers as particularly tough. Most expected scores to drop when it was announced that the 2003 maths test would emphasise using and applying mathematics.

But Peter Hudson, head of Chesham primary, Bury, said: "The teachers felt the work set was appropriate for the children and the changes did not cause problems."

Colin Trevorrow, of Heamoor primary, Cornwall, said: "We thought there would be more questions asking for an explanation of the processes, but that did not occur. There were a couple of ambiguous questions, but it was quite fair."

Brenda Ainslie, head of Redby primary, Sunderland, said: "The second maths paper was quite hard, but overall it was not too bad. We expected there to be much more writing than there was."

Most schools contacted by The TES said they were well prepared, but not all were happy with the new emphasis.

Huw Thomas, head of Springfield primary, Sheffield, where 22 of the 25 pupils taking tests have English as an additional language, said: "We found some questions really convoluted, they were taking children round the houses to test their maths knowledge. It didn't feel like a fair test.

"We found some of the example scenarios much harder than the children were used to."

Catherine Carson, head of Prescot primary, Knowsley, said: "The first paper of the maths test had too much language in it, too much problem-solving. It felt as if the goalposts had been moved. Test B was fine, a well-written paper."

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