The Ministry of Education is developing a strategy to improve the performance of primary school children in mathematics.
National Standards results show children are struggling more with writing than with maths, but their performance drops most sharply in maths as they get older.
Official documents show the ministry has told the Government it is now developing a mathematics strategy to solve the problem.
Maths experts say it should be possible to accelerate children's learning by two or three years, but warn against a return to old-fashioned approaches.
They say teachers should set maths problems that reflect pupils' life experiences, and encourage children to think about and understand maths concepts. They also say children should not be grouped by ability.