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11+ being scrapped

(1000 Posts)
musu Sun 05-May-13 11:36:32

At one school in Essex here

Interesting development which follows on from Bucks CC overhauling their 11+ and trying to make it tutor proof (although everyone I know in Bucks is still employing tutors).

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 22:28:19

It was bound to come- the selective schools are no longer getting the type of pupil they want because of the tutoring.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 22:53:25

I do agree exoctic - I don't think it is entirely a selfless policy on behalf of the grammars. They want children who are naturally 2 years ahead of their peers as opposed to children who have been taught advanced work by specialist tutors and have practiced exam papers until their scores improve from a natural late 60s level to a mid 90s level in % terms.

Not that I blame the parents either. If the exams are predictable and techniques can be taught to help a child pass, parents will pay (or invest their own time) for help. People are very anxious about secondary school places in general with catchments shrinking each year. Parents feel very powerless about it all and this is one of the only areas where they can actively boost a child's chances.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 22:53:29

What do you base that assertion on exotic?

CognitiveOverload Sun 05-May-13 23:02:43

I agree with exotic as stated in my earlier post.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 23:15:26

From the horse's mouth MTSCostco (not an Essex horse though!)

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 23:28:45

DS's school don't publish past papers so DS went in blind. In the maths paper there were about 5 questions where he couldn't understand the format. Presumably other kids had the same problem since he still got the offer despite losing so many marks. I got talking to a mum months later and apparently they hired a tutor who use to be involved in the question setting process.

My point? People with money are simply going to hire as tutors people who have inside knowledge of the new 'untutorable' test and we'll be back to square one except this time the DIY parent will be at a. greater disadvantage.

CognitiveOverload Sun 05-May-13 23:29:56


Wotme Sun 05-May-13 23:51:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 23:52:13

Well, in our case the attempt by the school to make their test more fair by not publishing pass papers simply benefited those who could afford tutors who were previously involved in setting past papers. I see the new test going the same way.

nohalfmeasures Sun 05-May-13 23:58:25

Interesting looking at the link to the past papers. I'm in Scotland so no 11+.
DS is heading to secondary school this August. He's in the top set for Maths and English and is considered to be particularly good at English. He would have no problem with the Maths but would struggle with the English paper, but I've always felt the Scottish system isn't robust enough in its teaching of English.
Sorry for the hijack.

Wotme Mon 06-May-13 00:04:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 00:07:12

In our case the parents who hired tutors familiar with the test did have an advantage over the rest of us who had no knowledge of what to expect but speaking generally I don't really know why people say that the current 11+ is unfair.

Most schools publish free pass papers available to all who know how to Google. And is anyone seriously going to argue that most parents can't support their kids in an exam designed for 10 year olds?

As for it being unfair that some parents tutor their kids up to 6 years, you can coach me to run 100m for 6 months or 6 years but I'm not going to get appreciably faster with 6 years of tutoring

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 07:13:57

It is a bit naive to think that all parents are going to help their DCs. It is highly unfair because the bright DC with the chaotic home life with dysfunctional parents, who don't give a damn, is seriously disadvantaged. And there really are parents who can't support their DCs in an exam that is designed for 10 yr olds - it is quite possible that they don't even have very good English.
Selective schools should be looking for the raw material and not at how much money or time, or both, the parents have spent on it.
It has now become such an industry that the schools have cottoned on to the act that tutoring skews the results. Passing the entrance test isn't the end- it is the beginning and some heavily coached DCs are just not up to it.
It was only a matter of time before the schools set about doing something about it - I just hope they can.

musu Mon 06-May-13 07:16:38

I assume people think the 11+ is unfair as not everyone can afford tutoring. I think what has made the situation worse is league tables. When I took the 11+ there were no league tables, no tutoring. It was viewed as an assessment to work out suitable schools. The people who passed were the ones you'd expect to pass. I assume these days some who are tutored pass because of the tutoring.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 07:22:14

It would be fantastic if they could devise a tutor proof test (better still if they scrapped th 11+, but that's another thread!) However, I doubt if it's possible. And they would have to change it radically every year, because it wouldn't remain tutor proof for long. Which would, presumably, cost a fortune. And spending a big chunk of money on a selection process that only affects a tiny minority of children doesn't sound like a good use of tax payers money to me.

musu Mon 06-May-13 07:32:27

Eton seems to manage it. Everyone who takes their computer test agree it can't be tutored for (unless they are all fibbing).

seeker Mon 06-May-13 07:33:55

I think you might find that a bit of tutoring takes place pre the Eton test!

seeker Mon 06-May-13 07:38:04

And anyway, I think the Eton test does change every year- it's easy for a very rich institution to do this for the relatively small number of candidates they are dealing with.

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 07:43:05

I think that you missed the report in the paper last week,musu , that Eton are seriously worried that they are missing out- they are getting too many pupils from SE and London, who are being heavily tutored, and missing out on very clever DSs from Scotland, Yorkshire etc- in fact the whole of the rest of the country. They don't want the heavily tutored - no selective school does.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 08:00:05

The answer, obviously, is to stop messing around trying to fix something unfixable, but to concentrate on making sure that comprehensives do their job properly and provide proper differentiated work to a mixed ability intake.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 08:07:39

It is often argued that a heavily tutored child will struggle. Why?

Some schools have a pass mark of 90%+ but this is a reflection on the fact that you have 1000 applicants as opposed to an indication of what is reqouired in order to cope with the studying once in.

Obviously if an untutored child scores 40% and only gets 90% after years of tutoring then that child will struggle. But does anyone seriously think that a not so bright DC will hit 90% if only you throw enough tutoring at him?

In anycase, DS has 150 kids in his year. The kids at the top are the 11 A* kids. The 'struggling' ones at the bottom are the A*AAABBBBB kids. I'm sure that some of you wouldn't mind it if your DC was struggling this much.

poppydoppy Mon 06-May-13 08:11:00

Personally I think the test should be purely IQ based.

The children I know applying to GS are all from the independent sector. I cant see how children from state schools can compete with them unless they're heavily tutored. My DS (year 5) is currently level 6 and doing GCSE work. State schools don't teach that far ahead so it puts lots of intelligent children at a disadvantage.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 08:19:32

I don't think a heavily tutored child will struggle at all. Or is not any more likely to do so than any other child. Some do, some don't. But as the entrance tests shows absolutely nothing except how good you are at doing entrance tests, you won't know how well your child is going to cope in a selective school until they are there and actually doing the work.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 08:21:20

poppy - most 11+ papers are IQ based.

Some private schools still have a knowledge based 11+ which favours kids who are often a year to 18 months ahead of the NC whereas a lot of primary kids won't have been taught beyond KS L4. Most/all still do such a paper for 13+ but on the whole the 11+ is based on reasoning problems like the IQ tests.

poppydoppy Mon 06-May-13 08:22:59

I agree, Seeker That's why I think an IQ test and school report wold be a fairer way to assess.

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