In May 2016, the mental mathematics national test paper was replaced by a 30 minute arithmetic paper, which will assess content from the number domain.
The new national curriculum states that pupils (of all ages) will: become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with the increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
We aim to develop children’s fluency to ensure that they develop different procedures to solve number problems. Fluency consists are 3 elements; efficiency, accuracy and flexibility.
1. Efficiency – finding a procedure that can be carried out easily.
2. Accuracy – carefully recording steps in the procedure and double checking results.
3. Flexibility – being able to use knowledge of more than one approach to solve a particular kind of problem and using another method to check their answers.
Fluency therefore demands more of the children than merely memorising a single procedure. We ensure that they understand why they are doing what they’re doing and know when it is appropriate to use different methods.
‘The reason that one problem can be solved in multiple ways is that mathematics does not consist of isolated rules, but connected ideas. Being able to solve a problem in more than one way, therefore, reveals the ability and the predilection to make connections between and among mathematical areas and topics'.