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Those who can't....

Half of all trainee teachers are failing basic numeracy test - Telegraph

However, the trainee teachers are allowed to sit the test as many times as they need and record numbers are failing.

The numeracy test takes 48 minutes and contains 12 mental arithmetic questions, to be completed without the aid of a calculator. There are several longer questions with data manipulation which can involve a calculator. The 45-minute literacy test is in four parts – spelling, grammar, punctuation and comprehension.

The basic skills tests are taken online in literacy, numeracy and ICT and the pass marks are 60 per cent.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said trainees on some routes into teaching – such as on-the-job training programmes – were exempt from taking the skills tests.

"Ofsted tell us that the standard of teaching training has never been higher and big rises in results show that quality of teaching is improving massively year-in, year-out," he said.

Glorious tractor production continues to rise under the great helmsman.

(If you want to see if you could be a teacher here is a sample test...)


I just tried doing the mental arithmetic test on the website, and in Firefox at least, the page opens and counts down to the next question, but there's no questions visible. Perhaps that's why people fail it? Or perhaps, as I'm not indoctrinated enough to be using IE7, I can't see the questions as they don't want me to be a teacher.

Silas, my version of Firefox shows everything. Have you got the latest release?

"Question 9: what is 6.03 multiplied by 100?" Good grief.

BTW just did that test: 4-and-a-half minutes and, though I can't be arsed to check the answers, I imagine my cat could get 100%.

Back in the day, I took a math degree. In first year algebra we had a row of 4 students who walked over daily from the Education building. They were aspiring math teachers.

They asked questions and made comments that made it clear they had no idea at all. They disappeared by mid-term, apparently transferred to a specially created course entitled "Elementary mathematics for low IQ Ed Students."

OK, I made that course name up, but the rest is true.

Don't even get me started on the IQ, manners and morals of the majority of the students in the Sociology course I was forced to take that same year to 'diversify' my education.

Wouldn't open in Firefox for me either so I took the non-interactive version. If you can't score 100% on the mental arithmetic you should have someone help feed you and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near children.

The questions on the written test were much more challenging but still sub O-Level. The worrying bit was in Question 7 which suggests teachers should be concerned with "social development", "emotional development" and "creative development". For goodness sake just teach the little sods to read and write.

The sample questions in the PDF were pitched at about the level we were used to in the IV form at prep school (i.e. suitable for eight or nine year olds). The year after that was introductory algebra, factoring of polynomials and matrix mechanics.

I timed myself on the first four pages: took me a shade under 3 minutes to answer 40 questions i.e. approx 4 1/2 seconds per question.

Finally had a reply back from the DCSF people about the tests.

They sent me the following link http://www.tda.gov.uk/skillstests/about/minimumtechspec.aspx and said that it wasn't guaranteed to work in Firefox. The minimum requirements are:

"CPU Pentium 233 MHz
64 MB Ram
16-bit colour graphics with 1024x768 screen resolution
Microsoft Windows 98 or later version
Internet Explorer 6 or higher"

It gets better tho "Mac users: you will need Windows emulation software to be able to run the benchmark and practice tests on Mac OS X."

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