Academic year 2022/23

Multiplication tables check attainment

This is the latest data
Published
Release type

Introduction

This statistical release focuses on the multiplication tables check (MTC) results of pupils at the end of year 4 attending schools in England.

It includes statistics for pupils:

  • at national level by characteristic breakdowns such as gender, disadvantage, free school meal eligibility, ethnicity, special educational need status, first language, month of birth, school type, school phase and school religious character;
  • at regional and local authority level by characteristic breakdowns such as free school meal eligibility, ethnicity, special educational need status and first language.

The multiplication tables check publication was first released in 2022 when the assessment became statutory for all year 4 pupils registered at state-funded maintained schools, special schools, or academies (including free schools) in England. 

Throughout this release, comparisons are made between 2023 and 2022 attainment.

All gaps and percentage point differences are calculated from unrounded figures.


Headline facts and figures - 2022/23

Percentage of eligible pupils scored 25 marks

29%

This is the most common mark (full marks).

Help for Percentage of eligible pupils scored 25 marks

There is no ‘expected standard’ in the multiplication tables check assessment. Higher scores in the assessment indicate fluency in the recall of multiplication tables up to and including the 12 multiplication table.

These statistics cover the national attainment of pupils who took the multiplication tables check in summer 2023. 

  • 29% of eligible pupils scored 25 (full marks) in the multiplication table check, an increase of 2.9  percentage points (from 27%) compared to 2022 (based on unrounded figures). This was the most common score achieved.
  • Average attainment score of those who took the check increased 0.4 points for all pupils (19.8 to 20.2) since 2022.
  • Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with English as first language performed less well in the multiplication check than other pupils, and the gap has remained broadly similar for both groups. The average attainment score of pupils who took the multiplication tables check increased for disadvantaged pupils from 17.9 to 18.3 and the average score of pupils who took the multiplication tables check with a first language of English has increased 0.5 points from 19.4 to 19.9 compared to 2022.
  • London is the highest performing region, with an average score of 21.1; the South West is the lowest performing region with 19.7. In other regions, the average score ranged from 20.0 in the South East to 20.3 in the West Midlands.

Explore data and files used in this release

  • View or create your own tables

    View tables that we have built for you, or create your own tables from open data using our table tool

  • Data catalogue

    Browse and download open data files from this release in our data catalogue

  • Data guidance

    Learn more about the data files used in this release using our online guidance

  • Download all data (ZIP)

    Download all data available in this release as a compressed ZIP file

About the multiplication tables check

Introduction

The Department for Education (DfE) introduced the multiplication tables check (MTC) as a statutory assessment in 2022 for pupils attending schools in England, to determine whether year 4 pupils can fluently recall their multiplication tables up to 12 x 12. The national curriculum says that by the end of year 4, pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including the 12 multiplication table and show precision and fluency in their work.

The check is designed to help schools identify pupils who are not yet able to fluently recall their times tables, so that additional support can be provided. Results are reported to schools as a total score out of 25 for all pupils that took the check.

There is no expected standard in the multiplication tables check, but higher scores indicate greater proficiency in fluently recalling multiplication tables.

Assessment overview

The multiplication tables check is delivered as an online assessment; there are multiple, equivalent forms and each pupil is randomly assigned one. Each form consists of 25 questions worth one mark each and pupils have 6 seconds to enter a response to the question. Questions are selected from the 121 items that make up the 2 to 12 multiplication tables. A breadth of questions are included in each check, with an emphasis on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 multiplication tables because these have been determined to be the most difficult.

Pupil eligibility

All year 4 pupils should be registered for the check, including pupils who do not participate. If the headteacher decides a pupil should not take the check, they must record the reason. Pupils should not take the check if: 

  • they are absent during the entire 3-week check window
  • they are unable to participate, even when using access arrangements
  • they are unable to answer the easiest questions or are working below the national curriculum expectation for year 2 in multiplication tables
  • they have just arrived in school during the check period and there is not enough time to establish the pupil’s abilities, for example, pupils with English as an additional language (EAL).

Results

The multiplication tables check statistical release focuses on pupil results at national level, regional and local authority level . School-level results and individual pupil results will be made available to schools via the Analyse school performance system in the autumn term. DfE will not publish school-level results for the multiplication tables check. More information can be found in the  Key stage 2 assessment and reporting arrangements guidance.

National attainment

Attainment in the multiplication tables check

These statistics cover the national attainment of pupils in state-funded schools and alternative provision who took the multiplication tables check in summer 2023. 

Of eligible year 4 pupils, 96% took the multiplication tables check, this was the same in 2022. Among the 4% of pupils who did not take the check, most of these pupils were working below the level of the assessment and were recorded as having special educational needs.

The average attainment score of pupils who took the multiplication check in state funded schools and alternative provision increased from 19.8 to 20.2. This is an increase of 0.4 points between 2022 and 2023. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The most common score in the multiplication table check is 25 (full marks) in state-funded schools and alternative provisions. The percentage of eligible pupils who achieved this score increased from 27% to 29%. This is a difference of 2.9 percentage points between 2022 and 2023 (based on unrounded figures).

Proportions in the chart and table below are calculated out of all eligible pupils, including those who did not take the check, however the "did not take the check" category is not shown on the chart.

Attainment by pupil characteristics

This section looks at the national attainment in the multiplication tables check in state-funded schools by pupils characteristics including gender, disadvantage, special educational need (SEN) provision, first language, ethnicity and month of birth.  This section only includes pupils that are in state-funded schools and does not include those that are in alternative provision.

Further information on pupil characteristic breakdowns including including attainment by free school meal eligibility and SEN primary type of need is available via the “Explore data and files used in the release”. 

Attainment by gender

A slightly larger proportion of girls completed the multiplication table check than boys (97% and 95% respectively). This is due to a larger proportion of boys being recorded as not taking the multiplication table check due to working below the level of the assessment.

In 2023, the average attainment score of pupils who took the multiplication table check increased from 19.6 to 19.9 for girls and from 20.0 to 20.4 for boys, compared to 2022. This is a increase of 0.3 and 0.4 points respectively. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The most common score in the multiplication table check is 25 (full marks) for both girls and boys. The percentage of eligible pupils who achieved this score increased from 25% to 28% for girls and 28% to 31% for boys. This is a difference of 3 percentage points for both girls and boys between 2022 and 2023.

Proportions in the chart and table below are calculated out of all eligible pupils, including those who did not take the check, however the "did not take the check" category is not shown on the chart.

Attainment by disadvantage status

Disadvantaged pupils continue to perform less well in the multiplication tables check than other pupils, though attainment has increased for both disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils since 2022. The gap in average attainment between the groups has remained similar (0.1 decrease between 2022 and 2023, based on unrounded data). 

A smaller proportion of disadvantaged pupils took the multiplication table check than pupils not known to be disadvantaged (93% and 97% respectively). This is mainly due to a larger proportion of disadvantaged pupils being recorded as not taking the multiplication table check due to working below the level of the assessment.

In 2023, the average attainment score of disadvantaged pupils who took the multiplication tables check increased 0.4 points compared to 2022 from 17.9 to 18.3 and increased a similar amount for all other pupils from 20.5 to 20.9. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The most common score in the multiplication table check is 25 (full marks) for both disadvantaged pupils and pupils not known to be disadvantaged. The percentage of eligible pupils who achieved this score increased from 18% to 21% for disadvantaged pupils and 30% to 33% for pupils not known to be disadvantaged. This is a difference of 2 percentage points for disadvantaged pupils and 3 percentage points for pupils not known to be disadvantaged between 2022 and 2023 (when based on unrounded data).

Proportions in the chart and table below are calculated out of all eligible pupils, including those who did not take the check, however the "did not take the check" category is not shown on the chart.

Attainment by Special Educational Need (SEN) status

A larger proportion of pupils without SEN took the multiplication tables check than those with SEN. 

99% of pupils without SEN took the multiplication tables check, compared to 94% of pupils on SEN support and 47% of pupils with an Education, Health and Care plan. This is mainly due to a larger proportion of pupils with SEN, particularly those with Education, Health and Care plans, being recorded as not taking the multiplication tables check due to working below the level of the assessment. The large proportion of pupils not taking the check should be noted when considering attainment by SEN status. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The average attainment score for pupils on SEN support increased by 0.5 points from 15.5 in 2022 to 16.0 in 2023. For pupils with Education, Health and Care plans there was also an increase in average attainment from 14.5 to 14.7 (0.2 points) from 2022 to 2023. 

The most common score in the multiplication tables check is 25 (full marks) for both pupils on SEN support and EHC plans.

The percentage of eligible pupils who achieved 25 marks increased 2 percentage points for pupils with SEN support from 11% to 13%. For pupils with an Education and Health Care plan there was an increase of 1 percentage point from 6% to 7% compared to 2022.  

Proportions in the chart and table below are calculated out of all eligible pupils, including those who did not take the check, however the "did not take the check" category is not shown on the chart.

Attainment by first language 

Pupils with a first language of English performed less well in the multiplication tables check than pupils with a first language other than English. Attainment has increased for both English as first language and all other pupils since 2022. 

A similar proportion of pupils with a first language of English and a first language other than English took the multiplication tables check (96%).

In 2023, the average score of pupils who took the multiplication tables check with a first language of English has increased 0.5 points from 19.4 to 19.9 and pupils with a first language other than English has increased 0.2 points from 21.2 to 21.4 compared to 2022. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The most common score in the multiplication table check is 25 (full marks) for both pupils with first language of English and first languages other than English. The percentage of eligible pupils who achieved this score increased 3 percentage points from 24% to 27% for pupils with a first language of English and increased 2 percentage points from 36% to 38% for pupils with a first language other than English compared to 2022.

Proportions in the chart and table below are calculated out of all eligible pupils, including those who did not take the check, however the "did not take the check" category is not shown on the chart.

Attainment by month of birth

A slightly larger proportion of older pupils took the multiplication tables check compared to younger pupils (97% of September-born pupils took the multiplication tables check, compared to 96% of August-born pupils).

Pupils born later in the academic year (younger pupils) performed less well in the multiplication tables check compared to pupils earlier in the academic year. 

In 2023, the average score of pupils who took the multiplication tables check has increased from 19.0 to 19.4 for August-born pupils and 20.6 to 20.9 for September-born pupils compared to 2022. This is a increase of 0.4 and 0.3 points respectively. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The most common score in the multiplication table check is 25 (full marks) for pupils of all birth months. The percentage of eligible pupils who achieved this score increased from 23% to 25% for August-born pupils and from 31% to 34% for September-born pupils. These are both increases of 3 percentage points compared to 2022 (based on unrounded data).

The attainment for pupils across all birth months has increased between 2022 and 2023. 

Attainment by ethnicity

A smaller proportion of Traveller of Irish heritage pupils (78%) and Gypsy/Roma pupils (84%) took the multiplication tables check than any other ethnic groups (96%). For other ethnic groups the percentage of eligible pupils that took the multiplication test ranges from 93% to 99%.  This is due to a larger proportion of Traveller of Irish heritage and Gypsy/Roma pupils being recorded as not taking the multiplication tables check due to working below the level of the assessment and being absent. 

In 2023, Chinese pupils remain the highest achieving group with an average score of 23.6, followed by Indian pupils with 22.8. Traveller of Irish heritage pupils remain the lowest achieving group with an average score of 14.2   followed by Gypsy / Roma  (14.3). Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The most common score in the multiplication tables check is 25 (full marks) for all ethnic groups. Chinese pupils were the highest achieving group with 56% achieving 25 marks, followed by Indian pupils with 49%. Traveller of Irish heritage pupils were the lowest performing group with 8%, followed by Gypsy/Roma pupils with 9%.

The attainment for all major ethnic groups has increased between 2022 and 2023. 

Attainment by school characteristics

This section looks at the national attainment in the multiplication tables check by school type. 

Further information on school characteristic breakdowns including school type, school phase and school religious character is available via the “Explore data and files used in the release”. 

Attainment by school type

This section covers the attainment of pupils in state-funded mainstream schools who took the multiplication tables check in summer 2023. 

In 2023 there were 15,683 state-funded mainstream schools with 622,339 pupils that completed the multiplication check at the end of year 4. Schools outside of state-funded mainstream schools include alternative provision and state-funded special schools. 

The average attainment score for all pupils in state-funded mainstream schools increased from 19.8 to 20.2 compared to 2022. This is an increase of 0.4 points. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The average score in academies and free schools is similar to those in state-funded mainstream schools. Among academies and free schools, converter academies have a similar average score as state-funded mainstream schools. The average score for sponsored academies is below the average score for state-funded mainstream schools. It should be noted that the conversion of schools from one type to another means that the headline figures capture not only change in performance but also change in school type. While the number of free schools has increased from 205 in 2022 to 235, free schools make up a very small proportion of schools. 

Attainment by region and local authority

Attainment by region

Amongst pupils taking the multiplication tables check, London is the highest performing region and the South West is the lowest performing region in 2023, this has remained the same compared to 2022. However the rank of regions in the middle has changed. 

London is the region with the highest average attainment score with an average score of 21.1; the South West is the lowest performing region with 19.7. In other regions, the average score ranged from 20.0 in the South East, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England to 20.3 in the West Midlands. Pupils that did not complete the checks are not included in average attainment scores. 

The most common score in the multiplication table check is 25 (full marks) in all regions. London is the region with the highest percentage of eligible pupils who achieved this score with 35%; the South West is the lowest with 26%.

Attainment across all regions has increased between 2022 and 2023. 

Attainment by local authority

The map below shows the average score in the multiplication tables check by local authority. This map shows a complex picture of attainment across England, with a range of higher and lower attainment in different areas.

The average score in the multiplication tables check was highest in Redbridge (22.1), Harrow (21.8) and Brent (21.7); the lowest in the Portsmouth (18.5), Norfolk (18.8), Bristol and Liverpool (18.9). 

Help and support

Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics.

Official statistics

These are Official Statistics and have been produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Our statistical practice is regulated by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).

OSR sets the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics that all producers of official statistics should adhere to.

You are welcome to contact us directly with any comments about how we meet these standards. Alternatively, you can contact OSR by emailing regulation@statistics.gov.uk or via the OSR website.

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about Multiplication tables check attainment statistics and data:

Primary Attainment Statistics

Email: Primary.ATTAINMENT@education.gov.uk
Contact name: Tahani Abdulla

Press office

If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone: 020 7783 8300

Public enquiries

If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:

Telephone: 037 0000 2288

Opening times:
Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays)