Should calculators be banned in maths tests?

Last updated at 06:48

Calculators will be banned in maths tests for 11-year-olds in England from 2014, says the government.

It's after a big review of the use of calculators in primary schools.

Ministers reckon kids should only use them once they have learnt basic mathematical skills, like adding up in your head.

Under the new plans, calculators would only be used in class for the last year of primary school and would be banned completely in tests for 11-year-olds.

At the moment, lots of schools allow kids as young as seven to use calculators.

But the government thinks banning them will mean pupils will get better at maths.

Calculator debate

Education and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss said: "All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up the calculator to work out more complex sums."

But groups that represent teachers have argued that banning calculators in tests could stop pupils having a go at more complicated mathematical sums.

What do you think?

This chat page is now closed, but you can read some of your comments below.

Your Comments:

"I don't think you should because people may need to use them for future jobs and they may not know how to use them!"

Katy, Staffordshire, England

"I think calculators shouldn't be banned because when you are older and you have a job in a bank or something you will need to use a calculator. So having them in schools will make you better using them."

Lucy, Wirral, England

"Sometimes they are useful for very hard sums that are above our ability, although I got more marks in my maths test without a calculator!!!"

Zara, Surrey, England

"It should be banned because it means children can get a better education instead of getting a calculator to do the work for us."

Dylan, Sunderland, England

"I think that calculators shouldn't be banned because you might need to check the answer to see if you are using the right method. Also, when you have to find the surface area, you have to use a calculator."

Alice, Bristol, England

"I am currently doing my GCSEs in maths and have most difficulty with calculator papers. There is a lot of skill that goes in to using a calculator. They are also more practical in a working life."

Charlotte, Suffolk, England

"Calculators are only as clever as the people using them. You still need to know what calculation to do and how to read the answer. Technology is a part of our lives, we need to embrace it."

David, Cheshire, England

"I think calculators should not be banned because at my school we use them loads. If it wasn't for calculators we wouldn't be able to check and mark the sums!!!"

Robyn, Yorkshire, England

"We think calculators should not be banned as, in our opinion, they help us with our learning, especially in maths."

Badger class year 3/4 HPS, Winchester, England

"I think we should use calculators but only when we need to. In school, we do a calculator paper and the questions are almost impossible without one."

Aasiyah, Blackburn, England

"I think calculator should not be banned because everybody need to know how to use them.

Hannah, Monmouthshire, Wales

"I don't think calculators should be allowed because too many people are relying on them, instead of using their brains."

Ashwin, England

"I think calculators should be banned in some tests but allowed in others."

Nayaaz, England

"This is so wrong, I use calculators all the time, I would be lost without it!"

Becca, Loughborough, England

"I'm in Year 4 and I don't think calculators should be banned because you can learn from calculators and it will get harder for little kids to work out bigger sums if you ban them."

Caua, London, England

"I completely disagree with banning calculators. I'm 13 and sometimes calculators are really needed for some difficult maths questions. Or if I'm really struggling with a question, I'll come up with two or three answers but I don't know which is right. Then I use the calculator to get the right answer and then I improve in that area of maths because now I definitely know the method to working that area of maths out."

Abigail, Inverness, Scotland

"I don't think they should be banned. At my secondary school there is a non-calculator test which shows the teachers what we are capable of doing with our brains, and there is a calculator test where we still have to think but it allows us to work out harder sums."

Rose, England

"I think that the calculator ban is a great idea as kids need to learn to work out sums by themselves."

Harry, Bradford, England

"They shouldn't ban calculators, this unfair on the students and would make them shy about maths. Next they will be banning spell checker."

Thomas, Yorkshire, England

"I think it is a good idea to ban calculators because if we keep using calculators, we will keep relying on them and the part of the brain which does the maths will die out. If it is a very complicated sum, we should learn how to do it in steps. To get better at maths, the only way is to keep practising it."

Emily, Harrow, England

"I personally think they should be banned. If we don't use calculators the only thing we can use is our brain. And like the government says, we will get better at maths."

Ann, England

"I think we should have calculators as it can do more complex sums and we can learn from it."

Mouhammed, Sussex, England

"I think calculators should not be banned because it will get kids confused with bigger sums."

Kye, Kent, England

"They should be banned because it's not our brains actually working the answer out it's the calculator doing it for us. We'd have a much better education if we knew all the answers without relying on a calculator."

Brooke, York, England

"I think this is wrong because I use calculators in tests a lot."

Grace, London, England

"I'm in year 6 and I hope they don't ban them."

Fern, Barry, South Wales