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11 plus

(37 Posts)
mistymom Thu 29-Sep-11 21:56:07

Hi my dd is in yr6 and working at a level 4a. She is doing small practise tests at home for her 11 plus. Her scores range from 30% up to 80% on all papers, is this normal to have a gap this big in %. She does these tests every other day and each test is different. What do you all think, is she likely to get a place at grammer as shes set here heart on going there. Thanks in advance. x

LynetteScavo Thu 29-Sep-11 21:58:45

Sadly for your DD, I would say it's highly unlikely she will get a place at a grammar school, based on what you have told us.

You never know though. Keep practicing, and she may have a Stellar day!

Good luck!

bigscarymum Thu 29-Sep-11 22:00:09

No-one can answer that. If she gets 30% on the day, she won't pass, if she gets 80%, she might, depending on where you live. Have you tried www.elevenplusexams.co.uk?

gazzalw Fri 30-Sep-11 17:50:31

Think you are being incredibly harsh LynetteScavo!
Do think sometimes they can't be bothered with practice papers - I would imagine such fluctuating scores are more a reflection of a very laid back attitude than a lack of aptitude....
Don't want to depress you though but when we went to some of the grammar school open days the implication was that they should be at level 5....

LynetteScavo Fri 30-Sep-11 21:17:05

I agree that they should be at a level 5 at this time of year (very comfortably at a level 5 by the SATS)...which is why I say it's unlikely she would get a place.

80% on practice papers isn't that great. Harsh, but true. It wouldn't get you a grammar place at the schools near me. I also agree that fluctuating scores are more likely to be because she's being laid back....in the actual exam she is probably more likely to achieve her highest score.

The only thing you can do is to keep practicing. smile

belledechocchipcookie Fri 30-Sep-11 21:22:09

Are there specific sections in which she's getting the low marks? Maybe they have not covered that at school or she needs some extra help with those? Sometimes people don't explain things in a way that a child can understand so it needs to be explained in a different way?? Have you spoken to her teacher to see if she's struggling at school? Grammar schools are notoriously difficult to get into, I'd break down the results and work with her on the areas which she's scoring low marks in. Hope this helps, best of luck smile

confidence Fri 30-Sep-11 21:44:15

It's an impossible question to answer because "grammar" can mean so many VERY different things. Much more information needed re area or school, what kind of tests included in the specific 11+ etc, before a meaningful answer can be given.

And SATs levels don't necessrily correlate to 11+ expectations. They're different things.

gazzalw Sat 01-Oct-11 08:22:44

Agree with Confidence - it does seem to vary enormously depending on whether you are in an area where a set % (20) get into the grammar system or somewhere where grammars attract 1000s of applicants for 120 places!

But if your daughter is really motivated maybe she will pull a pass out of the bag on the day.

We have had issues with DS doing papers at home and can just tell that his scores fluctuate (although more twixt 60 - 90%) depending on his mood, how tired he is and whether he can be bothered. They are only 10 and really who can expect a 10 year old to always strive for 100% when they are just practising.

It has been repeated several times at some of the super-selectives that we have visited that what they learn in KS2 should essentially be enough for maths and English. Think the Level 5 figure is used as a guideline only - DS and about 1/2 his class are already working to Level 6s (they are a bright class) but still not convinced they will get into the grammars....

A child who is self-motivated under her own steam deserves a place more than a child who is tutored (but not really up to it with natural ability) so good luck. DS has two girls in his class who epitomise this polarity to the nth degree - one has never been above the middle (of five) tables and very flighty but being intensively tutored, the other a lovely confident, well rounded, mature and bright girl with unassuming but very clever parents who is only getting help from her parents. The second girl is just so much what a grammar school should be looking for in candidates and it will be grossly unfair if the former gets a place and the latter doesn't....

Also, just remembered reading on another grammar school threat that one Mumsnetter (also a teacher) said that it is often a surprise as to which children pass and which don't - it is not necessarily the ones that one would expect to do so who do....

When are the 11+ exams she is taking?

Clary Sat 01-Oct-11 09:52:37

Don't forget that even if she passes the exam and gets into the grammar school (which I would say was less than likely if she is working at 4a in yr 6 - that's fine, but hardly exceptional surely?) she will then have to operate at that level the whole time once at school.

Will she enjoy it if she is having to give more and more than her very best effort every day? It's not always fun to be struggling to keep up (which one would imagine someone at the lower end of ability in a selective school would have to).

Sorry if that sounds harsh, just trying to be realistic.

I know someone who really really pushed herself to get to Oxford (years and years ago) then hated it as the expected level was just way over her head.

gazzalw Sat 01-Oct-11 10:08:36

That is very true Clary and definitely to be considered but that could equally apply to children who have been extensively coached. As said with two examples given in previous post, if the former example gets in would assume she will be being coached all the way through grammar school because she is not naturally an academic child.
but there is also the issue that children can be later to come to their full academic potential which is why some schools operate a 13+ too. So entirelypossible that Mistymoms' DD could flourish rather than flounder in that type of environment - maybe just not immediately!
The whole system is totally flawed anyway which is all the more depressing. All the Heads at selective grammars we've visited give the impression (through their constant reference to 11+ work being at KS2 Level 5) that children should not be tutored.

talkingnonsense Sat 01-Oct-11 10:18:34

Where do you live? Assume not Kent as we have taken our 11+ already, but as a guide, in Kent about 25% of chdn go to grammar schools, and usually only about 55%!is needed in each paper ( verbal, non verbal, maths). My son was a 4 in writing,5 in reading and 6 in maths in y6, and passed with a v high score. Try the 11+ forum site for guidance in your area.

coccyx Sat 01-Oct-11 10:24:24

Isn't year 6 a bit late. In my home town they have already taken the 11+. That is year6 ready for Sept2012 intake to grammar school

teacherwith2kids Sat 01-Oct-11 10:37:10

In my area, less than 1% of children get into the 'super slective' grammar. (About 1% of those who take the test, and about 0.1% of the total cohort). Scores of 95% plus in practice tests are usually regarded as indicative that a child might get in. Level 5 at least at this time of year in Year 6 is a given. A slightly higher percentage (between 2 and 5%) get into the slightly less selective single sex grammars, for which at least 80-85% in the practice papers is usually regarded as barely sufficient.

DS, who is a level 5 across the board at this point in Year 6, has done a few practice papers and ranges between 80% and 100%. He is still vanishingly unlikely to get into the super-seletive grammar, and the single sex one is not sufficiently better than the local comprehensive to warrent travelling to it..

That is why it's imporrible to predict - in 'total grammar' areas it can be 25% of kids going there, in 'super selective grammar, mainly comprehensive' areas it can be 1% or less. It would be helpful to know where OP lives to be able to give sensible advice.

emkana Sat 01-Oct-11 17:21:14

Teacherwith2kids, which area are you in?

mistymom Tue 04-Oct-11 21:19:16

Hi thanks for all your comments. She was getting level 4a the end of last year dont know if that has changed. The grammar schools in the west midlands. We have been using Bond books, but have been told today that there not the best to use.

gazzalw Wed 05-Oct-11 10:06:15

When are her exams Mistymom? Good luck! Yes, DS has done two 11+ so far and can say that from his feedback the Bond books didn't really help that much (he says looking at about £100 worth of Bond books stacked up!)

mistymom Thu 06-Oct-11 21:39:20

Good luck to your DS gazzalw. Her exams are the end of November. I havnt spent as much on the books as you have, but thought Bond were the best to get. Seems i was wrong but to late know will just keep using them know and hope for the best.

gazzalw Fri 07-Oct-11 16:44:49

Thanks Mistymom we need it (first result should arrive in the post tomorrow...it could easily go either way...hmm
Good luck to your DD too - still a fair few weeks for fine-tuning her skills.
Someone reminded me that in the distant past when we did 11+ exams they were in May!

spiderpig8 Fri 07-Oct-11 16:55:42

We are in the area of an 'ordinary' grammar school which takes 28% of the local children including those who opt out of teh test which are obviously given a 0% score.So Not THAT competitive Interestingly though, by the time GCSEs and A levels come round they are on a par with the super-selectives.
It is impossible to say what the passmakl is in advance because every test is standardised differently.
If they atr VR and NVR tests then NC levels aren't really that meaningful and often throw up a few surprises.I would say if your DD 'got' the questions straight away (as many can) without having to have it explained to her then that is a good thing.

gazzalw Fri 07-Oct-11 20:12:32

Well in that case I think that your daughter will have no problem getting in and fingers crossed for her.

Quite believe you about the results. Went to a grammar school as you describe the one your DD will be applying to. We had a wide range of abilities but a pretty high % went to Russell Group Universities if not Oxford/Cambridge - at the end of the day that is really what parents are measuring in school outcomes isn't it??

I personally believe that a lot of the children who are super coached for the super selectives probably aren't there on natural ability alone, so that might be why the 'ordinary' grammars have equally good results at the end of the day....

confidence Fri 07-Oct-11 21:05:54

What's "natural ability"? Everything academic that children can do they can do because they've been taught to. It's a question of when and how.

teacherwith2kids Fri 07-Oct-11 21:34:14

Everything academic that children can do they can do because they've been taught to.

Now, I'm not quite with you there.

Children have to be exposed to things before they can learn them - e.g. a child who has never seen a book cannot learn to read, a child cannot gain a concept of number without exposure both to the idea of counting and objects to count, a child cannot know how negative numbers are conventionally written if they have never seen them written down.

And careful teaching can enhance what a child can do (more obviously in some areas e.g. writing than in other areas e,g, non-verbal reasoning).

However, I did not teach my son to read. I did not teach him to add and subtract negative numbers in Reception (4 take away 10 is 6 with a line in front of it Mummy, because it turns blue when you do that?????). I did not teach him how to do NVR tasks - he can just 'see' them.

There is an interaction between 'what a child is born with', what they are exposed to, and what they are formally taught. To say that the 'what a child is born with' factor does not exist is to belie the truth that faces us in classrooms every day - that every child is different even if what we teach them is exactly the same.

confidence Sat 08-Oct-11 00:12:47

To say that the 'what a child is born with' factor does not exist is to belie the truth that faces us in classrooms every day - that every child is different even if what we teach them is exactly the same.

No it doesn't. I certainly accept that every child is different. The question is what gives rise to those differences. There is no evidence that genetics, or concepts like "talent" is what makes the difference, except in cases of specific disabilities, like autism etc.

I actually completely agree with you about "informal exposure", and I think this is the area that is often overlooked in debates about nature and nurture. You can't say that one five year old is more "innately" able than another because you can't possibly account for all the different experiences that have led them to where they are at. You can't even say that about a 2 year old just coming to the point where you can interact enough with them verbally to measure such things, because they've already had two of the most formative years of their life filled with such experiences.

So yes I was wrong to say that it's all been "taught", because children do of course teach much of the most important stuff to themselves. It might be better to say that it's all been "facilitated" by the way adults have brought the child up. Children exploring such things are hugely influenced by what's available, what kind of home lifestyle they fit into, and what values are projected around them that they have to satisfy in order to please.

FWIW I think all this goes for 11+ too. Yes some kids get heavily tutored. But some have effectively been tutored since they were born, by growing up in the appropriate environment to nurture those skills.

Cortina Sat 08-Oct-11 11:56:10

Confidence, Teacher and OP plus might be interested to read the Q&A with Matthew Syed here on Mumsnet if they missed it.

Great points, Confidence. Our brains can change at a neural level when put to work, we can get smarter.

The cultural capital in some homes is very high and children will be learning there and stimulated every single day. Effectively like having a brilliant teacher for hours every day since birth. For example, some I know discuss synonyms regularly at dinner etc in a way that even very young children could quickly begin to understand and apply. Others discuss maths concepts and 'speak the language of maths' every day to their children. You can't help but share what you're passionate about too, whether that's literature, drama, arithmetic etc. Connections are being made at a neural level, children are stimulated.

When I go into primary schools I am struck that those whose current attainment is lowest are often those that are not very articulate and who seem to spend lots of time watching TV. In contrast those that are the highest achievers are often very articulate and can tell me all about the merits of green technology or how a car engine works. These 'high achievers' often spend the weekends visiting museums with their parents. Many believe the highly articulate regular museum goers are quite brilliant. Are they permanently brighter with more potential than those TV watchers? I'd argue the school system can entrench these differences over time.

Matthew Syed said : Environment overwhelms genetic variation due to the transformation that occurs at a neural level with hard work. Our brains, to put it another way, are highly transformable. And to answer your question on drive and ambition, the strongest approach is to instil the 'growth mindset'. Get kids to understand that hard work is transformative; that their abilities are not fixed in genetic stone; that effort is the means of personal growth.

spiderpig8 Sun 09-Oct-11 08:43:47

Cortina- don't you think that the museum goers may have more intelligent parents whose genes they have inherited?

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