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top set child completely crashes in CAT tests - so is this it?

(22 Posts)
wingcommandermoi Thu 08-Mar-18 11:44:36

DS is in Y5, gearing up for pre-tests next year for independent senior schools. He's in an academic London independent school, and he's a good all rounder, consistently in the top sets in the last few years.
Trouble is he freaks out at computer tests. He freezes when he sees the timer on the screen.
Overall CAT result is 108 which is poor compared to what was expected, and considering the head had told us to register him for Westminster, City of London etc. Right now, with those results, even with good Pre-tests, they won't interview him, I'm guessing.

The head is looking into it now, but we're agonising so I thought I'd ask if anyone out there has cheer up stories?

Thanks all!

Tantpoke Thu 08-Mar-18 11:52:07

He's probably crashing because he's under so much pressure at his age practicing for his CAT test to get into the best Schools.

wingcommandermoi Thu 08-Mar-18 11:58:10

Actually Tantpoke we did no practice at all because we were told not to. We only told him that morning that he was having that test.

Lotsofsighing Thu 08-Mar-18 12:23:40

Or just do the 11+ for these schools which doesn't involve a computer test and is a lot more straightforward? Obviously this means leaving the prep at end of y6 so the head might not be pleased...

titchy Thu 08-Mar-18 13:21:12

But clearly he's aware of the importance of these tests which is why he's stressing out.

BrendansDanceShoes Thu 08-Mar-18 13:31:41

I'm confused between you saying that he freezes when doing computer tests and yet he didn't do any practice and was told he was doing the test that morning. I'd not have performed at my best either! Familiarity with tests through practice, whether on computer or on paper usually always produces better results

MrsJoshDun Thu 08-Mar-18 13:40:20

Can't they put some duct tape over the timer bit of the screen. ?

blackeyes72 Thu 08-Mar-18 13:52:38

I have a child who freezes and does badly under pressure. It's not just you applying the pressure, but the school, his peers talking about it, other adults.

My son totally flunked his year 6 exams getting a score of "average", even though he has always been top of the top set.. He said school put him under too much pressure and his mind kept going blank.

He scored really highly at his cat tests as he wasn't in a prep school and we just let him be.. Otherwise HD coukd have been exactly like your son. Might be worth yoh having back up schools where he feels he won't need them, then the pressure will come off a bit.

blackeyes72 Thu 08-Mar-18 13:53:15

Sorry about the typos!!!

Tantpoke Thu 08-Mar-18 15:38:08

Why OP are you 'agonising' over it.

Your DS needs to go to the school thats right for him and not just one that sounds good on paper.

I'm sure he'll relax and be fine by Yr 6 but if he isnt then it's an indication that being under permanent pressure to perform well just isn't a suitable environment for him and could do him more harm than good in the long run.

Is this more about what you want than what he needs maybe?

Oblomov18 Thu 08-Mar-18 15:52:46

I would have hated the surprise. I don't really like surprises generally. I like to plan and think things through.

Talk to him, try some online tests, and then you might find it's better?

Mary21 Thu 08-Mar-18 16:34:14

Do you think he is less bright than everyone thought, but well taught or do you think he had a bad day with the cats. How has he done in previous cat tests?

Michaelahpurple Thu 08-Mar-18 16:35:58

I don’t think a weak CAT test per se is a problem if it is an erroneous result and he performs better in the prescreening. However, the majority of the schools you are probably looking at (W, St P, City certainly) use the ISEB computerised tests as their first filter so if the problem is computer testable specifically you still need to get to the bottom of it. And if it is tests generally then that weeps up the rest eg Kings W.

Was it across the board or was he thrown particularly by the stuff that wasn’t usual work or verbal and Nin verbal reasoning ?

Michaelahpurple Thu 08-Mar-18 16:36:39

And did his school also find these results suprising? Is he tutored to maintain his current class position?

Mominatrix Thu 08-Mar-18 18:52:23

What was the feedback from school and what was the breakdown? Was it across the board performing below expected, or only on certain sections?

The school reaction should be the most important piece of information because your DS should have been doing ePIPs throughout the time at prep school (don't worry if you can't recall - parent's don't get the results but the school does) and they should have given an indication of where your sons level was at throughout the years.

Needmoresleep Thu 08-Mar-18 21:19:27

Any chance he is dyslexic. DD always got awful CAT scores but, as long as she had enough time, could do well in exams.

ChocolateWombat Fri 09-Mar-18 11:30:42

CAT scores are one piece of data amongst several. The pre tests will be a more used indicator by the school, although they will consider the CAT test, especially in more marginal cases. A CAT test result might mean he will perform mediocrely in the pre test which will test similar things....but there can be anomalies and children may perform badly in either CAT or pre test which isn't a reflectionnof usual ability.

When your Prep is asked to send a reference including CAT tests, they will make the best case they can for they will include positive PIPs results and anything else which supports his ability. Places won't be purely decided on this. It is true when schools say they look at a number of things when deciding which applications to take forward. Of course, it's good to be strong in everyone of these areas looked at, but one weaker area won't preclude him if he does very well in others.

I would now talk to the Prep about if they think this is an anomaly or actually not. He might be top group, but that doesn't mean he is on track for stellar CAT results. Ask for honest feedback about both this, his general performance and which schools are really suitable. And remain open to the idea that your initial thoughts might need to change...or not.

HooverMover Fri 09-Mar-18 14:18:42

I think this is pressure and stress

JoJoSM2 Fri 09-Mar-18 22:53:20

Some people strive whilst others crumble under added stress. I'd try to get him used to test taking unde pressure by practising (e.g. timed tests in a tuition centre).

Hiddeninplainsight Fri 09-Mar-18 22:57:40

If he gets stressed under pressure he may be happier and perform better in a school he can be near the top of the class than one in which is super competitive where he is in the middle.

Middleoftheroad Sat 10-Mar-18 16:02:28

My cheer up story.

Some children can buckle in a test. One of my DTs did not perform to his best in the 11+ whereas his twin brother thrived in that environment

It's the day to day that counts. My DS performed well day to day at primary and this is where his real performance showed consistently. His SATs were very high. Therefore, I knew he was very capable of doing well once the setting was familiar.

When he went to a comp we were told it was better to be top there than middling at grammar. He was bored. This actually demoralised him.

Recently, he accepted a place at a superselective grammar and is holding his own. I'm not saying this is right for everyone, but if we had followed the narrative that he might not be 'suited' to gs then I feel that he may still be feeling unchallenged.

Good luck.

Michaelahpurple Tue 13-Mar-18 20:55:17

Op seems to have lost interest!!

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