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 Post subject: When to start tutoring?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:44 pm 
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I was wondering whether starting tutoring dc in year 4 is too early?
I know of a tutor who starts at year 4 & has a good track record & I am tempted to use him but I feel 2 years of tuition is too long? I understand a LOT of dc start at year 4 but is it actually beneficial? I keep on hearing that their skills are consolidated in year 4 with tuition - but surely this is done at school/home anyway.
It seems most of the dc at my dc school have already started tuition & I feel I must start too. :roll:
Any advice out there?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:01 pm 
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I started both my kids who've taken the 11+ after half term in Year 4. It gave us a feel for what we were doing before Year 5 launched. It got quite painful towards the end - they'd had enough and so had I. I'm not sure I could have hacked any longer. They are always keen at the beginning but I am telling my Year 4 boy that he can't start until May either. At least then we'll be all sorted with his Year 6 brother's school place and have a few weeks off before the whole caboodle begins again.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:13 pm 
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It seems to me that some of the well-respected tutors in brum suggest starting in year 5 ('if they're good enough then 1 year's tuition is more than ample' viewpoint) whereas some of the larger tutor centres - which seem to be proliferating everywhere (mentioning no names of course) suggest year 4 (sometimes year 3!!££££!!!.
I just feel I might be missing out if we leave it till year 5 ( I understand every dp should gauge it by their own dc's ability) but everything feels so pressurised in joining the herd. :(


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:15 am 
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Started with my son in jan. So he had 5 months before the QM exam and 7months before KE exam. Honestly I think in Y4 you should just be making sure that they fully understand their school work, read lots, do their spellings and know the times tables. There are only so many papers you can do before the exam!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:16 am 
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I thought that the new CEM test was meant to mean that there was to value in tutoring. To the extent previously for 11plus? Do people think this is the case or not?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:24 am 
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Wee wrote:
I thought that the new CEM test was meant to mean that there was to value in tutoring. To the extent previously for 11plus? Do people think this is the case or not?
It is more closely aligned to what they will be doing at school - focussing on vocabulary particularly, and maths skills, whereas the old style VR tests didn't bear much relationship to schoolwork, were much more formulaic and the methods for solving them could be taught and practised. So it is probably true to say that the new tests are more resistant to tutoring, particularly in the way they test vocabulary and comprehension, which are skills which will be enhanced more by plenty of reading.

A wide vocabulary - particularly the type of words CEM often use which are outside the lexicon of a typical 10/11 year old - isn't something you can tutor into someone. There are just too many potential words out there to reliably pick some and teach them.

CEMs "numerical reasoning", as opposed to conventional maths, tests the ability to derive information from a question (mathematical comprehension if you like) rather than just the ability to solve a sum presented in simple form. Again the ability to apply logic and understanding is thought to be a more accurate indicator of ability (i.e. less tutorable) than just being able to do the maths at Y5/Y6 level.

And the speed element of CEM exams, with tighter timescales, and no chance to use spare time on one section to make up for a shortage in another, is designed to both reward speed of thought (another trait which isn't easily tutored and is seen as a good reflection of raw ability) and to ensure that each section can be assessed independently.

So is it "tutor-proof"? No. Certain skills - the actual maths, how do work with worded maths questions, how to approach comprehension, how to cope in an exam situation, etc. can of course benefit from practice. But is it more resistant to tutoring? Possibly. A well read, fast thinking, logically minded student will have an advantage over one who doesn't have those attributes, and those aren't easily tutored for.

But that doesn't mean that people won't tutor, or that given two students who were otherwise equivalent the tutored one might not gain some marginal advantage (and in a competitive environment a marginal advantage may be all that is needed). Hence people do use tutoring because they don't won't to give away that advantage, and once some do then everyone else feels they have to. So the tutoring culture is probably here to stay, and all the assessment organisations like CEM can do is try to tailor their tests to minimise the effect that tutoring will have and keep the playing field as level as they can make it.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:58 am 
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Okanagan wrote:
Hence people do use tutoring because they don't won't to give away that advantage, and once some do then everyone else feels they have to. So the tutoring culture is probably here to stay, and all the assessment organisations like CEM can do is try to tailor their tests to minimise the effect that tutoring will have and keep the playing field as level as they can make it.


I am against tutoring in principle but was convinced that I needed to have my two boys tutored after visiting GS and finding out from students that "everyone in my class was tutored" and also that a friend of a friend had been tutoring her son since Year3. To put my boys on the field, they have both always been top sets for everything at primary, and to ensure they had the best chance possible they have both been privately tutored. Ds1 who is now at KEFW from Easter prior to the exam, and DS2, who is likely to get a place at Adams, from the previous November. If I genuinely thought that the CEM were tutor-proof I wouldn't have bothered, however I think we all know that tutoring does make a difference, however unpalatable that they ma be.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:09 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
How do you define what is tutoring for a CEM exam? If it means helping your dc acquire good language skills etc - one could argue that it starts from birth.... :lol:

One of my dc's pals would argue that he's not been tutored...but he comes from a family who are all highly articulate, have plenty of stimulating conversations, reads copiously, plays educational games for fun. It's all very natural for him but arguably, still good prep?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:37 am
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Dave1879 wrote:
I was wondering whether starting tutoring dc in year 4 is too early?
I know of a tutor who starts at year 4 & has a good track record & I am tempted to use him but I feel 2 years of tuition is too long? I understand a LOT of dc start at year 4 but is it actually beneficial? I keep on hearing that their skills are consolidated in year 4 with tuition - but surely this is done at school/home anyway.
It seems most of the dc at my dc school have already started tuition & I feel I must start too. :roll:
Any advice out there?


I would start ASAFP.

We are starting DS2, Y4, with a tutor now. The tutor deals with English/reading whilst I will deal with problem solving maths. I also have a brilliant, yet immodest, tutor scheduled for Y5 (I used this tutor with DS1 in Y5).

DS1 just sat the 11+ so I know what level DS2 needs to work to. Whilst DS2 is behind and presently no way GS material, he will willingly and happily do the studying and reading (often of his own volition) and so the process should be easier - with step-change improvements in his performance.

If the Eng tuition and Maths tuition gets too much, I will withdraw DS2 from school homework. I did this to DS1, and he has only resumed his school homework for the first time in two years - to get him ready for Y6 SATS.

I look forward to Y5, so I can abdicate all responsibilities to both tutors.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:16 pm 
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Our DS was tutored for the Bham and Warks exams. We started during the summer hold prior to year 5 doing some NVR and VR tests. He likes those sorts of things so it wasn't a chore.

We employed a tutor from October in year 5. This was a one hour session plus an equivalent amount of time on homework.

During the summer hols prior to year 6 he did the Bond 11+ books, with support from parents.

Our DS is able, intelligent and has a good work ethic. School test results are good.

We employed a tutor to give DS the skills and techniques he would need for passing the test. We didn't have the expectation that the tutor would give him the basic building blocks to pass the tests (such as times tables, the ability to read, the ability to multiply two numbers together etc. I have simplified what those building blocks are, but hopefully you get my point.). That is the job of the school and parents.

I think starting at the start of year 5 was about the right time for us. Significantly sooner and I don't know if he would have all the relevant building blocks to pass the test.

If DS wasn't able and hard working then we might have considered starting tutoring sooner, or alternatively we might have considered alternatives to GS.

That said, we are still waiting for results. If it all goes badly, then ignore everything I have typed above!


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