Only 5% of 2,000 volunteers correctly answered 10 questions which tested maths typically taught to junior school pupils.
Nearly two-thirds of the parents who took part said they were reluctant to get involved with maths homework for fear of confusing their children due to new methods used to teach the subject.
Ministers are moving to reinstate tried-and-tested techniques after admitting parents are often left ‘utterly baffled’ by the methods.
Now a survey by Pearson has found that parents’ lack of confidence in their maths skills is preventing them from helping their children despite evidence that parental involvement strongly influences success at school.
Results from a short quiz suggest many parents’ maths skills are rusty, with only 5 per cent correctly answering all questions which covered fractions, angles, area and percentages.
Nearly four in ten – 39% – were unable to answer a simple question about fractions aimed at eight-year-olds. Nearly three-quarters – 73 percent – were stumped by a calculation question for 11- and 12-year-olds.
A poll accompanying the quiz found that 65 percent of parents worry that if they try to help with maths homework they will simply confuse their child because of the new teaching methods.
Education Minister Liz Truss last week unveiled a shake-up of national tests for 11-year-olds which will specify that children should learn efficient calculation methods for multiplication and division, with no reference to chunking or gridding.
The poll followed the launch of an online maths homework service called Maths Made Easy, backed by TV presenter Carol Vorderman.
Teachers set homework for pupils to complete online and the answers are automatically marked and sent back to teachers, while parents can keep track of progress.
“Studies have shown that if parents help their children with homework they are more likely to succeed at school. It is therefore worrying that so many parents lack confidence in their own maths skills,” the Daily Mail quoted Vorderman as saying.