Guidance & monitoring
Clear guidance is provided to schools regarding the administration of the multiplication tables check within the key stage 2 assessment reporting and arrangements and multiplication tables check administration guidance to explain how the assessment should be administered. To prepare for the check becoming statutory in 2022, schools were given the opportunity to participate in a voluntary pilot of the assessment in 2021.
Schools that do not comply with this guidance can be subject to a maladministration investigation. Maladministration refers to any act that affects the integrity, security or confidentiality of the national curriculum assessments and/or could lead to results that do not reflect pupils’ unaided work. If following an investigation, the Standards and Testing Agency decided maladministration occurred, the results for a whole cohort, groups of pupils or individual pupils will be annulled.
STA operates a helpline to assist schools that are having difficulty following the guidance or administering the assessments.
Checks applied by STA
School and pupil data entered into the multiplication tables check system is subject to strict validation rules to ensure quality and consistency of data. This includes the validation of information about pupils who complete the check and those who are unable to.
Every MTC check is subject to validation rules to ensure the data adheres to the agreed data model, including all data is consistent with allowable characters and/or ranges. The individual questions and all derived data including the derivation of a total score are checked to ensure that they are accurate and valid. Any check that has been restarted is identified and reasons validated.
Any potential duplicate pupils are identified and removed as per an agreed set of rules based on information such as the unique pupil identifier, pupil names and date of birth.
Checks applied by DfE
At every stage in the data cycle, the department applies checks to the data. The department carries out checks on the data to ensure that the files provided by STA comply with the specified format and contain the correct information.
All data in the underlying data are produced by one person and quality checked by another. Checks are carried out to ensure internal consistency between underlying data files within the publication and consistency with other publications. Sense-checks are carried out where trends in the data are compared to similar publications (such as assessments at key stage 1 and key stage 2).
The Code of Practice for Official Statistics requires us to take reasonable steps to ensure that our published or disseminated statistics protect confidentiality.
Figures for the Isles of Scilly and City of London are suppressed in the publication as these LAs have a single school. Regional pupil figures are rounded to the nearest 10 so that it is not possible to derive figures for these LAs by summing the figures for the other LAs in the region.
Accessibility and clarity
Accessibility is the ease with which users are able to access the data. It also relates to the format(s) in which the data are available and the availability of supporting information.
Clarity is the extent to which easily comprehensible metadata are available, where these metadata are necessary to give a full understanding of the statistical data.
The publication text is published on Explore Education Statistics, an accessible platform designed for the publication of statistics. An accessibility statement is available for this service.
Each publication is accompanied by featured tables with clear titles which allow general users to find more detail than can be provided in the publication text. Any important limitations or inconsistencies in the data are mentioned in footnotes so that users do not have to refer to the text. Users can build their own tables using the ‘table tool’ within Explore Education Statistics.
Underlying data for all the tables and metadata describing that data is also provided in csv format so that users can load this into an analysis package of their choice.
Any user wishing to conduct more detailed research or analysis may request an anonymised pupil level extract of the national pupil database.
Timeliness refers to the lapse of time between the period to which the data refer and the publication of the estimates.
The multiplication tables check assessment took place between 6 and 24 June 2022. Statistics were published in late November. During this intervening period, the data are quality assured, matched with other data and analysed to produce the statistical publication outputs.
Missing reasons for not taking the check
A small proportion of pupils who did not take the check were missing a reason (less than 1% of all eligible pupils). Analysis was carried out which found that, in most cases, these pupils were either i) the vast majority or an entire cohort within a special schools or ii) one or two pupils in a mainstream school. Most of these pupils had SEN (73%). These pupils were therefore counted as eligible pupils as it assumed that most of these pupils did not take the check because they were working below the level of the assessment, absent, unable to access or just arrived and the school did not comply with the requirement to submit a reason. It is possible a small proportion of these pupils had left the school or were incorrectly registered and therefore would not have been counted as an eligible pupil if a reason had been provided.