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.
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.
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).
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.