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sutton schools selective test today(87 Posts)
My DS sat the eligibility test today for the Sutton schools and didn't finish the English - should we prepare him now for bad news or did many children find this one tough?
It's a quick turnaround because it is all happening by computer. No human will check to see whether someone screwed up and used pen not pencil or circled rater than crossed-through the answer, or put in the exam code for maths instead of English. I imagine the marks will be known by the end of the day, standardised possibly even today, or at worst tomorrow, and then the 4 schools can select their "passmark".
Just looked at the SGS website info on admissions and found this:
"Specifically in relation to Sutton Grammar School, the result of the Selective Eligibility Test will determine whether or not a boy may be entered for Sutton Grammar School’s second stage entrance test."
Implies that the second round tests are school-specific to doesn't necessarily cut down on the amount of exams taken by those who pass the first round and are eligible to sit all the second round tests....
They can't do the tests at primary schools really. Boys from miles around sit for Sutton grammars. It isn't just children from Sutton itself or even children just from South London. There will be some children taking the tests whose primary schools barely know where Sutton is I suspect!
The first stage test, being an all or nothing scenario, sounds quite scary as I don't think traditionally boys who way below standard have even bothered to enter for them (well not in great numbers). Most people know what's required and the level of those who pass so don't bother with all the stress and prep unless a child has a reasonable expectation of a pass.
The second stage spread out over 3 more exams sounds stressful. I thought perhaps there would be a joint stage 2 test for the grammars and schools could alter the weighting they gave each paper if they wished?
I am pretty sure they are different tests - for eg Wallington is 20 mins creative writing. Apparently my son knows where the magic machine that reads all the results is! Though presumably each test centre will mark the childrens who sat there on Saturday.
I am sure there is a cost issue - I would happily pay a nominal admin fee for my son to sit the test, if it would help it to be fairer.
Lady muck - is that distance and bandings method only for Sutton grammar ? or all of them?
State schools aren't allowed to charge any money for testing as it could act as a barrier to people applying. It must cost the schools a fortune though.
That distance criteria is just for Sutton: the other schools just go on distance for boys on the same
final mark. Now that could still easily be 20-40 boys who are competing on distance, but for Sutton there could be 80+ boys competing on distance.
If you read the schools' websites, they tell you what is in the second tests. They are all having their own second test, except Greenshaw. Greenshaw chooses on the basis of the selective eligibility test only (and includes girls of course).
The distance issue is definitely part of SGS's policy - DS missed out on an initial offer because,even though he got the initial cut off score, there were obviously boys who lived closer to the school than us.
Interested to see if different formats and timings for the 3 Sutton GSs . WCGS seems to imply a 25 minute written composition ( still think this is very limited time wise , 1 page A4 ) will they be fanatical about spelling grammar and punctuation or mark more positively on creativity and style.
Maths likely to be trad and long form. Still have a beef if they test maths areas that are not covered by start of Y6 , these are boys not machines. Do not conclude everyone has time or cash for tutors. We will see....
Pretty sure that they don't spring surprises with the maths they expect the boys to know - well they didn't two years ago.
Wilson's second test format tomorrow , seems likely to be a comp and a long form Maths paper. Fingers crossed
Ds isn't going to like the format of any English paper unfortunately. Is that a hunch based on the length of the paper, or something more concrete ?
gazzlw, any surprises on the first round of testing at your school? Everyone who sat it at ds's school passed, so that doesn't really help me!
Hi Ladymuck, three boys passed out of about 10 who took the test. I don't know any of the parents of the boys who passed, to know whether they were 'dead certs' or not. Although one has a sister at one of the Sutton girls' super-selectives, both were tutored, so I guess he wasn't a surprise pass.
What I would say as an observation of my DC's primary school is that a lot of parents get swept along in the 11+ frenzy, although their DCs might not be of the required level - does that make sense? It's a fairly middle-range school so the children regarded as 'clever' might not necessarily match other schools' clever children...
Certainly DS was always a 'clever' one from his primary school and whilst he did pass all three 11+ exams he took (which must demonstrate a natural ability of some sort!), he is by no means currently riding high in his year at his super-selective!
OK, that would be in line with the norm (they allowed 35% to pass). I think that the parents at ds' school were more realistic, so those who were unlikely to get through didn't sit it.
I know that it has "only" been 2.5 weeks since the first round, but it is hard to gear up for another 2nd round test.
And as for "riding high", that of course is the dilemma with the selectives: they're put against the super-bright and can end up thinking of themselves as being less bright, when at the comp they would be top set for most subjects. Very difficult to keep them with a balanced view of it all! And at such an important age for defining self and building self-esteem.
Well I would admit that I had no idea, having been educated at an 'ordinary' grammar school many years ago, just how high the bar would be set from the off really.
I think DS is still trying to get a handle on what is expected of him. I think he did lose some confidence in Year 7 but seems more settled this year.....I'm not sure that he is ever going to be riding high though in most subjects - he has some super-brains in his class!
It is something to consider though in all seriousness.
Good luck to the DCs doing exams tomorrow....I thought it would cut down on the number of exams to be done, having this pass/fail first round...but in a way it's made the stakes higher and still there's as many exams for the children potentially.
DS's exams straddled early September to the end of November (he did the Wandsworth Test too for Graveney) and he'd rather lost the will to live by the time the last one came along.....
DS did Wilson's exam today and felt it was much harder than Wallington. Is this the general feeling?
mine did too though didnt feel it was harder than wallington, he ran out of time at q 19 of maths though what about anyone else?
Our experiences are now two years old but when DS did his, I think he did less well in the Wilson's exam than the Wally and SGS ones - I base that on him not having been offered a place at the first, but getting an initial offer from Wally Boys and then SGS from the waiting list very soon after Offers Day. When he did the exams. Wilson's was the only one which was purely Maths and English (no VR/NVR at all), whereas the others had some combination of the four components....
I sometimes feel though that children do better in the harder exams so don't lose hope!
It is indeed a pity that SGS hasn't brought forward 'round 2' of its testing to align itself with the other schools. I am not at all sure what their rationale is for doing so.
As some of you have so rightly pointed out, the DSs have been on a bit of a 'roll' albeit a rollercoaster one but it would be nice for them to just sit back and relax - and they can't quite, can they, if they still have the SGS one ahead of them ;-(
Good luck and fingers crossed everyone!
I didn't realise just how high the standard required was until I read that 3 boys who've just started at Wilson's did their gcse maths before leaving primary school and got 2xA* and an A!
They're not all like that, though!
But yes the standard is phenomenally high - as I might have said upthread, both DW and I went to grammar schools (and are educated to degree level and beyond) but we've been amazed at the level they are supposed to be working at from the word go...
DS is not exactly upping his game yet and I think he can feel a bit demoralised at times. His Year 7 form tutor did however tell him that he is still in the top 5% of children in England and is still likely to be on course for mainly As/A*s in his GCSEs...
I don't know whether you've come across Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point and Outliers amongst others). He's just written a new book (David and Goliath) which has a chapter on whether it is better to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond or a Small Fish in a Big Pond. Interesting reading.
I find Sutton's logic interesting. I suspect that what it will give them though are those boys who actually want to go to that school, rather than the boys whose parents want them at a grammar at whatever cost. The change in the admissions policy to round scores to the nearest 4 marks will also give them a much more local contingent than some of the other schools. There were prep school uniforms at Wilsons yesterday that I didn't recognise and I have a fairly wide breadth of knowledge of the local preps (both IAPS and ISA). And I also recognised uniforms which indicated that there were plenty of candidates from outside the M25!
Without giving away too much of the paper as there were a significant number of ill candidates who will sit in a few days, ds finished the first paper with 25 minutes to spare, which isn't a terribly good sign, and didn't manage to complete the 2nd. He didn't feel that the maths was any more difficult than at Wallington, but he was more pushed for time. Whilst the organisation of the day was "efficient", I far preferred the feel of Sutton (where ds sat selection) and Wallington. The military uniforms weren't really designed to put the boys at ease, and the sight of the boys being marched off in lines gave me uncomfortable images.
Would second all Ladymuck said. Had to wonder about the ccf guys! Maybe they have had unscrupulous parents is the past trying to sabotage other people's kids' chances!
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