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Apologies to Cambridge matmos.

(347 Posts)
grovel Fri 15-Feb-13 22:50:37

I just loved being number 1000. Such power!

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:14:34

Pugs - unless someone invents a machine that connects up to your brain and measures your 'intelligence' then the current system is as good as it gets.

Having said that, some schools don't release past papers. But that merely benefits those parents who can afford a tutor that is familiar with that school's exam.

So, one can either endlessly discuss the utopian dream or one can make the best out of the situation.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:17:12

Surely it is possible to do both BS!

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:19:46

seeker - I'm sure that you agree that being 'clued up' is no guarantee that a child will past.

I sometimes wish that posters who thinks that tutoring is unnecessary should go head-to-head with those who think tutoring gives an advantage to well off and or clued up parents.

That way us anyone-can-tutor-their-kids parents can take a break from defending our viewpoint.

Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 10:20:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:22:43

Yes you can. If you want to spend your Sunday morning discussing a utopian ideal then don't stop you.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:23:38

.. that was directed at pugs.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:25:09

I believe that the CEM test being tralled in various places now is less tutorable - or alternatively the structure and format of the papers should change so regularly as to become unpredictable.... though that has obvious disadvantages because it makes the schools less confident in the results as they have no year to year comparisons.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:25:27


Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 10:25:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 10:27:34

"seeker - I'm sure that you agree that being 'clued up' is no guarantee that a child will past."

Absolutely. But not being "clued up" is pretty much a guarantee that you child will fail.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:28:08

My grandad learned to read at 13. His daughter - my mum - went to grammar school and then to Oxford, because at that point all children took the 11+. However, that was a different society, as there was a genuine need for the 'skilled manual workers' the original secondary moderns were set up to produce. Today's society needs a different type of education system.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:28:33

There must be some way of testing potential without parents being able to prep for the exam!?!
I am no academic expert, but I know that when a music teacher is faced (as often happens in state schools) with many more children wanting to learn music than instruments are available the teacher can present a musical aptitude test to find the most musically gifted. Surely after all these years searching, schools could find a suitably similar academic test? Even knowing preferred learning styles would help surely!

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 10:31:42

Or even-shock horror- put the kids in the same school and "find out by doing" which are suited to the top sets and which aren't? As happens in most of the country anyway?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:34:31

Especially, seeker, as such a system allows every child to be grouped BY SUBJECT so that rather than a crude 'clever / not clever' divide, the gifted mathematician who struggles in e.g. English can be grouped appropriately for each subject....

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:34:40

Millais - it all started with the first clued up caveman that realised that rock beats fist. Ever since the spoils have gone to the clued up. Rather cynical of me I know but that isn't going to change anytime soon.

But just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean it's bad.

Anyway, I live north of London. Unfortunately I'm not in catchment but most of the state selectives are heavily working class Asians.

It kind of punctures the argument that the.system is biased against WC people who may not have English as their first language.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:34:47

Teacher - so we need to work backwards then. Find what skills are going to be needed in the workplace of the future & set up the correct amount of specialist skills schools to train them then. I agree Secondary Moderns are outdated & do not prepare children for work, but with what to replace?

creamteas Sun 17-Feb-13 10:36:30

I'd agree that if parents have a reasonable standard of education and are literate in English, then they can probably tutor their own children. But that of course excludes many, and that is why the grammar schools are so popular with many parents.

I am am a supporter of educating children of similar abilities together, but really don't understand why people insist on having them in separate schools. The huge advantage that comps give is that DC who are good at one subject but not so good at another, can always be in the right place for them.

I live in a fully comprehensive area (no grammars at all). Admission to secondary is on catchment areas and the areas all include poorer and wealthier areas (so very little housing selection). If you looked at the top sets in each comp, I'm pretty certain that they are getting similar results to a grammar, and they certainly get into good universities. So why anyone wants to divide kids into pass and fail at 11 (or even 5) is beyond me.

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 10:37:02

pugs Yes there is, I have been involved in making use of VR and NVR tests in recruitment that are extensively developed and constantly revised by Occupational Psychologists to ensure they are reliable predictors of ability and prevent them becoming predictable. For whatever reason schools have not invested in that sort of expertise although I gather some now are looking at how they can change their entrance tests in response to complaints from Heads that some of the overly coached children go on to struggle (there was a thread on this recently) DDs' selective indie actually do monitor the accuracy of the VR used in the entrance tests compared with subsequent performance in the tests they use to monitor attainment compared with ability and have developed them on a similar iterative basis. However they also have Maths, English and General Knowledge papers that contain a lot of questions designed to further test reasoning and identify potential rather than tutoring, so they have further evidence on which to base their judgements. Possible with 400 applicants but not the 1700 who apply to local Grammars.

VR and NVR tests properly developed and used should with a maximum of 10 practise test accurately predict which percentile you perform at consistently. That is the whole point of the score, not that you got 95% right but that you have the VR capability that enables you to score better than 95% of the population and that should stay consistent. I use the 95th percentile because that is the percentile most students in elite universities will score above.

creamteas Sun 17-Feb-13 10:40:10

Total given that many Asians are second or third generation and for the middle classes English can be a first language in India, your notion that Asian=EFL is extremely patronising.

grovel Sun 17-Feb-13 10:45:14

The entrance test for Eton (taken at 10.5) is all on computer. There are no "past papers". Certainly our prep head didn't think he could prepare his boys for it.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:45:20

Pugs - my dc got merit in his music theory but distinction for his actual playing. A friend's DD did the reverse. Who is more deserving of a place based on musical aptitude?

My DS? One can argue that he has a more expensive instrument or more tuition. But maybe the other kid is just good at passing written exams.

Even with something as natural as music, there is no fair measure of ability. Not unless you spend a day on each candidate and throw a battery of tests at them.

Whether it is academics or music, such a approach is clearly not practical.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:46:58

That is all very interesting Copthall! Nice to see that some schools are putting in the effort smile

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 10:47:04

creamteas That is the irony in this area, that 1700 apply to the Grammars and sustain a huge tutoring industry when the pupils in top sets in local comps actually do just as well as those in the Grammar Schools despite the fact they are supposedly admitting pupils who are in the top 3% of the population for VR and NVR.

The problem though is that through mismanagement we have in the same leafy borough with very similar socially affluent catchments failing comps (now being improved but only in two cases through adopting the experimental methods of their swedish sponsors) alongside the outstanding comps, that is the source of the parental desperation that leads to tutoring, people moving away and stretching themselves to pay for private education so the borough has one of the highest levels of pupils in private education in the country.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:54:30

I don't agree BS. I have no idea which of your candidates would do best in my musical test, as my test would be based on aptitude for a particular instrument & based on a combination of aural, rhythmic & fine motor skills appropriate to that aim. I would be testing core musical talent that cannot be taught. That would be the whole point of it & to compare with grade exam results is unfair & not appropriate as these are exams that need preparing for.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:59:38

Fine motor is an interesting one in that mix - where would it put my (musically able) son, who at 5 had exceptionally poor fine motor skills (e.g. his very high ability in writing was only really discovered once they allowed him to write on sheets photocopies up 4 - 10x original size, or on rolls of wallpaper!)

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