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Topic: [ME] Trainee teachers - Basic Skills Test: UK
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 15,017
Registered: 12/3/04
[ME] Trainee teachers - Basic Skills Test: UK
Posted: Jan 30, 2000 6:29 PM
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From Guardian Newspapers Limited 2000 (the Guardian and Observer), Friday,
January 21, 2000 -- via California Online Mathematics Education Times
(COMET), Volume 1, Number 2, January 26, 2000; Editor: Carol Fry Bohlin
(carolb@csufresno.edu) See:

Trainee teachers must pass maths exam to qualify

By Rebecca Smithers

Sample maths questions that trainee teachers must be able to answer are
published today, in preparation for the compulsory numeracy test to be
taken by the first students in June.

The test, comprising mental arithmetic and written questions, is the first
of three national skills tests being introduced by the government's teacher
training agency to ensure that teachers are numerate, literate and
competent in information and communications technology.

The biggest teaching union, the National Union of Teachers, said trainees
were already required to hold good grades in English language and maths to
get on the course, and the requirement might deter entrants.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers,
said: "We warmly welcome these tests. We are not talking rocket science

Students who fail at the first sitting can retake the tests, but if they
fail again they will not be allowed to qualify and will be unable to work
in the state sector. Around 25,000 trainees will take the first tests in
June using paper and pen. From February next year candidates will be able
to take all three tests at any stage of their teaching course, using a
computer. The standard of the numeracy test is midway between GCSE and
A-level maths. The agency said that it had not yet decided on the pass
mark, but hinted that, as the test was designed to measure "competence", it
would be on the high side.

Introduction of the tests was ordered by the education and employment
secretary, David Blunkett, and was included in his green paper designed to
modernise and raise standards within the profession. The questions in all
three tests will relate directly to day to day work in the classroom.

The agency's head of teacher training, Frankie Sulke, said yesterday:
"There is an increasing need for all teachers to be proficient in their
application of numeracy, literacy and information and communications
technology in their everyday work."

The NUT general secretary, Doug McAvoy, said: "What will happen to the
potentially brilliant music and arts teachers who may not be brilliant at
adding up?"

Mr Hart said: "It is difficult to understand how anyone could remotely
object to trainee teachers who will be handling numeracy in various forms
every day in the classroom being required to show a basic understanding of

Out for the count or back to school

Mental arithmetic

1.In a year group of 125 pupils, 80% achieved full attendance. How many
pupils were absent on at least one occasion?

2. A teacher wants to show a 20 minute video, which must finish exactly
five minutes before the end of the lesson. The lesson will end at 10
minutes past 11 o'clock. At what time must the video start?

3. A pupil scores 36 out of a possible 60. What percentage score is this?

4. A computer has an 800 megabyte hard drive. Some 435 megabytes are
already used. A program is installed and occupes a further 120 megabytes.
How many megabytes are available?

5. The entrance fee to a French museum is 12 francs. If the exchange rate
is eight francs to the pound, how much is the entrance fee in pounds?

Written questions

6. A teacher arranged for five groups of pupils to give short presentations
in a session lasting 1 hours. The pupils were given 15 minutes to prepare
at the start of the session. Each presentation lasted 10 minutes. There was
a changeover time of two minutes between presentations. How much of the
session remained after the last presentation?

7. For a GCSE subject, 20% of the marks were for coursework and 80% for the
exam. Coursework was marked out of 95 and the exam out of 75. A pupil
scored 68 for coursework and 65 for the exam. What was final percentage
mark to the nearest whole number? a 74%; b 75%; c 83%;
d 84%


1. 25; 2. 10.45 am or 1045 hrs; 3. 60%; 4. 245; 5. £1.50 or 150p; 6.
17 mins; 7. d.

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618) 453-4244
Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)
(618) 457-8903 (home)
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu


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