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Has anyone else heard the rumour that the 11+ is going to be replaced with a test that cant be tutored for?

(42 Posts)
NotEnoughTime Sun 26-Jun-11 18:43:17

The title says it all really.

This would be great for us (and hundreds of others Im sure) who dont want to havent got a spare couple of hundred pounds tutor in the hope that their child can have a chance at getting a place at grammar school.

cjbartlett Sun 26-Jun-11 18:44:19

surely all tests can be tutored for?

unless it's the tallest who get in grin

LordSucre Sun 26-Jun-11 18:44:54

where did you hear that from? People would still use a tutor though I reckon.

confidence Sun 26-Jun-11 19:44:21

The idea is nonsensical. There is no "THE 11+".

A number of different 11+ tests are administered, some by LEAs and some by individual schools. Some are far more competitive than others, so there's no way the same test could be used by all of them. Some of them already try hard to make the untutorable - eg Tiffins who make their unlike any other test available, and don't publish any past papers. Others try less hard.

To replace the entire test nationwide like this would require all of those education authorities and schools working together to agree on one way of running the exam. That's not going to happen.

admission Sun 26-Jun-11 21:11:43

Each grammar school is responsible, as confidence says, for choosing the exam papers that are set for their school, so there is no chance of it happening unless Mr Gove is prepared to change it and I don't for a moment think he will do that.

NotEnoughTime Sun 26-Jun-11 21:21:00

I thought it was too good to be true!

Thanks for all your comments, much appreciated.

RoadArt Sun 26-Jun-11 21:59:24

THe purpose of tutoring is to aid and guide and motivate children (and adults) into learning, understanding and developing their knowledge.

If a parent organises tutoring, whether for maths, literacy, science, history, the arts, whatever, it is because they have identified that either their child struggles with certain aspects, or is working ahead of their peers and bored at school and want to ensure their child stays motivated.

They dont have to be tutored to pass an exam, this doesnt help them in the long run anyway, but tutoring can guide children into how exam questions are asked, to identify that you need to search through the question and pick out the relevent information, to make sure they do read the questions properly etc. This will help all students throughout their schooldays. (These are areas that dont seem to be taught in primary school because most tests seem to be tick boxes)

I cant see the point in pushing a child to pass an exam to get into a school if they are struggling, because they will struggle continuously at school, unless the child just needed waking up again after months of being demotivated at school.

HOwever, I firmly believe that tutoring does no harm whatsoever to review and revise the knowledge that children should have learnt at school. Quite often there are huge gaps and tutors can fill in these gaps or identify where a child is struggling and work on those areas.

Tutoring doesnt need to be expensive. There are online options that are just as good and if you structure your time to do a small amount of an activity either every day or once a week, regularly, then children can also learn this way.

IndigoBell Sun 26-Jun-11 23:11:01

Maybe your local grammar school is moving from maths / english exams to verbal / non-verbal reasoning tests?

In theory they can't be tutored for - but in practice they can......

confidence Sun 26-Jun-11 23:37:20

Actually I'm skeptical about any degree to which non-verbal reasoning can be tutored for. Certainly when preparing for grammar entrance here, my son just "got" it. We did have a tutor for the last couple of terms, and I did a lot with him myself, and he ended up getting the highest possible standardised mark for that test. But most of the work we did was on maths (which he did slightly less well in) and TBH, I think he would have got the same or not far off in NVR with no tutoring at all.

Verbal reasoning can certainly be tutored for and improved with knowledge of various tricks. But more than that, I think it favours kids who have been brought up in highly literate homes and read a lot since they were little anyway.

exoticfruits Sun 26-Jun-11 23:54:05

I don't see how it could be done, but if it could it would be utterly fantastic. Every DC should have equal opportunity. I would love one where they all went in cold, if they were bright enough they could work it out for themselves. I would love it if parents, tutors etc couldn't explain any of it.
However, a pipe dream I imagine.

Yellowstone Mon 27-Jun-11 09:48:09

I understood that The Sutton Trust/ Durham Uni had developed a paper that was exactly what you describe exotic.

I also understood that it wasn't being widely used because apparently it's still very expensive for schools to buy.

I may have the detail wrong but there are definitely moves in that direction.

singersgirl Mon 27-Jun-11 10:04:17

But surely, Confidence, non-verbal reasoning can be tutored for - maybe not as much as verbal reasoning, though I don't know one way or the other. At a very basic level, you can teach a child the 'types' of questions that come up, and if you look on the 11+ website that's exactly what people do - for example, is rotation involved or the numbers of objects or sides? Then you can train children in technique and the best way to approach each question eg ruling out the obvious impossible answers...

I bet if you took a child of 2 and spent two hours every day doing non-verbal reasoning type puzzles with them by the time they reached 11 the part of their brain that works out NVR stuff would be significantly better developed than in a child who'd never seen an NVR puzzle.

I don't think there's any test in the world that's context neutral.

A child who grows up in a household where visual puzzles, maths games, jigsaws and strategy games are a normal part of life is going to have an advantage over a child who (for the sake of argument) grows up in a household with no games, books or toys at all.

GabbyLoggon Tue 28-Jun-11 15:28:20

singersgirl an obvious point well made. Govey, as we call him, may try slight of hand grammars. (By the back door, seemed inappropriate)

VeraGood Tue 28-Jun-11 15:29:27

i dont think you an tutor
you can teach stuff they dont knwo
and practice
htey are BLOODY hard tests - you need to be clever to pass them

TrilllianAstra Tue 28-Jun-11 15:31:03

I don't think there is any test that you cannot tutor for.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 28-Jun-11 15:36:31

I can't think of any type of test where 'familiarization' wouldn't improve the score. However, there's probably some types of test where once you've done a couple of practice papers, if you haven't 'got' it then hours toiling with a tutor may not make much difference. I'm particularly thinking of those NVR type things where if you'd not seen one before you'd probably waste quite a bit of time versus someone who knew the types of puzzle.

grovel Tue 28-Jun-11 15:47:43

Eton claim to have such a test which is taken by applicants at 11. Computer based. They commissioned it from Durham University. Certainly my DS could hardly remember anything of what it involved immediately after sitting the thing - so he would not have been in a position to advise any boys taking it in later years.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 28-Jun-11 16:05:52

Wonder if the first question is to enter ones full name and title.

if(name.Left(3) == HRH) return success;

grin

grovel Tue 28-Jun-11 16:13:01

That would have been too much for Harry.

fuzzpig Tue 28-Jun-11 16:22:40

I think the idea that VR/NVR can't be revised is a bit of a myth TBH. certainly some children will get it more easily than others, but that's true of all subjects really isn't it? You can to some extent improve most skills with practise and help, and this is what tuition will provide no matter what the content of the test.

rosar Tue 28-Jun-11 16:46:56

Yes grovel the Eton and SPGS computer-based tests 'of potential' seem to be able to do what it says on the tin. My DCs had no trouble with these, but one of them struggles with paper-based tests, and can on some days delight us with a 80-centile disparity of results between computer- and paper-based ones... Having had no tutoring or practice, this happily caused no consternation to said child.

I suspect that state selective schools just want a suite of tests that will choose in a defensible way, so there will be casualties as a result. At best they do not use similar computerized tests because of cost. Possibly also because it's an easy way of excluding clever children who have specific learning difficulties, who will be a burden on the school. I suppose cost and effort are avoided thus.

My other observation is that some parents actually relish investing their energies in tutoring, continuing well after DC is in a school generally thought competent, the sort of school that attracts children from all over the world. I shudder to think of the pressure on similar parents at state schools who arguably (although I'm not convinced of this, e.g. home schooling) are less able to vote with their feet. I shudder even more wondering to where these enthusiastic parents would divert these energies if they no longer saw the point of tutor/helicopter/supplementing. So on balance I'd say tutoring gives some a livelihood, delivers crowd-control over certain types of over-enthusiastic parent and makes no difference to those who can't get it together. What's wrong with that?

There is solace in the fact that self-motivated young people globally not from households "where visual puzzles, maths games, jigsaws and strategy games are a normal part of life" overtake these DCs in later life if they are able to value and can better apply their educational experience despite its apparent inferiority. That raw material of success is in every home, but it costs a lot in the way of self-restraint, patience and belief in your ability to craft your life.

ElbowFan Tue 28-Jun-11 19:30:51

The real problem for all the DCs who are tutored to get into the 'right school' is that they may need tutoring for the duration of their school years.
Some children are academically cleverer than others, they may well sail through verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Come the classroom those skills will be apparent. The children tutored to the test may well know how to do the test but not necessarily how to use the skills they have learned.

rosar Tue 28-Jun-11 19:41:56

You're right elbowfan.

I can't help thinking some would say they were granted what they asked for...

ElbowFan Tue 28-Jun-11 19:55:43

...be careful what you wish for! wink
My dd went to the local comp. A junior school classmate of hers was tutored and tested and got to the local grammar, but left at end of the second year because she couldn't keep up! When you've left the 'high' and come to the comp - you need a thick skin!

DilysPrice Tue 28-Jun-11 20:30:26

Round here it's very unlikely that any unsuitable kid could be tutored into a grammar - competition is such that you have to be either off-the-scale brilliant and untutored or very bright and tutored - a heavily tutored middle of the road kid wouldn't stand a chance, neither would a bright but untutored one, or a child who was talented and well prepared but had an off day.

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