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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:00 pm
Posts: 54
Hello everyone,

Good to be back.
Now that the 11 plus madness has subsided somewhat for most of us, one question remains to be answered: why were the cut off scores much lower than most of us had predicted. (e.g. CHB 233, FW 221)?

My own view is that this cannot solely be explained by the increase in PAN. We are told that there is a direct correlation between cohort size and cut offs. However, as per my previous postings and my friend Cheeky Monkey's (CM) postings, despite the huge increase in the cohort size for boys, the number of boys scoring above 240 fell significantly and the number of boys scoring 237 and above was the same as last year. As CM had said the girls are also had similar results.

Is it therefore plausible that actually it was a tougher exam this year? I know that the SD was infact 14.25 not 15 implying a reduced spread of scores and by extension reduced higher scores.

This is important as many DP will be trying to plan for this years exam trying to calculate what will happen to cut-offs in 2015. Perhaps normal service will resume and scores will start to go up by 2 marks each year.

Or, as I suspect, for all the normalisation of scores, is the level of difficulty of the paper a factor?

Anyway take care all,
AK.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:34 pm 
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Location: Warwickshire
The real questions are why they standardised to 14.25 and not the usual 15? Whether previous years have in fact been the assumed 15? And whether later years might use a different value again? Changing this would give you the same average score (always 100 per element) but adjust the range. If it is going to change year on year then comparing or predicting scores becomes rather meaningless.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
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Location: Birmingham
I do think the test was a bit tougher this year.

I think that CEM misjudged some of the timing...the jumbled sentence section was crazy in terms of the time given. This didn't just cause children to lose out marks there - but caused sensitive children (such as my dd) to start going quite wobbly at that point when they realised there was no way they could get close to finishing in the time given.
I'm a big fan of speed - a confident and intelligent child will work quickly - but I have yet to hear of a single child who finished that section.

In addition, a significant number of children became confused with where they were supposed to put the answers for one of the NVR sections (possibly because they were still freaked out by the jumbled sentences timings!) and lost a good 32 marks there.

I think this has caused children who would have otherwise scored quite highly, to end up with reduced marks for Birmingham.
Almost everyone I know scored more highly in Walsall (calculated per paper) and Warwickshire, than they did in the Birmingham exam.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:33 am 
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In addition, a significant number of children became confused with where they were supposed to put the answers for one of the NVR sections (possibly because they were still freaked out by the jumbled sentences timings!) and lost a good 32 marks there.
Can you elaborate on this confusion? I've heard of something similar to this re: the nvr questions where dc were ringing the answers as opposed to marking the multiple choice boxes.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:13 am 
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maybe with the increased competition of places in the Brum region, manoeuvring around the format of the question paper was itself part of the evaluation...any test houses tutoring for this? :cry: :cry:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:47 am 
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Tend to agree with sbarnes. Many children did well in the test and clearly understanding the paper is part of the test. I thought test paper recognition was one of the (many) reasons people give for tutoring. Sounds to me like talking down the achievements of the children who did well by saying other children would have scored higher than them if only the paper had not been so confusing etc. I am also amazed at how much parents know about the test because its never been mentioned in our house since the day he sat it. If Birmingham was harder then additional congratulations to those children who scored well. 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:26 pm
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um wrote:
I do think the test was a bit tougher this year.

I think that CEM misjudged some of the timing...the jumbled sentence section was crazy in terms of the time given. This didn't just cause children to lose out marks there - but caused sensitive children (such as my dd) to start going quite wobbly at that point when they realised there was no way they could get close to finishing in the time given.
I'm a big fan of speed - a confident and intelligent child will work quickly - but I have yet to hear of a single child who finished that section.

In addition, a significant number of children became confused with where they were supposed to put the answers for one of the NVR sections (possibly because they were still freaked out by the jumbled sentences timings!) and lost a good 32 marks there.

I think this has caused children who would have otherwise scored quite highly, to end up with reduced marks for Birmingham.
Almost everyone I know scored more highly in Walsall (calculated per paper) and Warwickshire, than they did in the Birmingham exam.


My DS did slighty better in the B'ham ones (+3points when made equivalent). Despite doing better in the B'ham ones he said it was more difficult. Walsall exam was done as a no pressure mock/back up with 1hr per week prep from February. B'ham one had 1.5hrs per day prep during the summer hols & more pressure. So I guess the extra prep allowed him to make up the disadvantage of the more tricky paper. He really enjoyed doing the jumbled sentences prep during the summer and he reads really quickly so that section did not phase him. Well at least when I asked him if there were any jumbled sentences in the paper he said "yes, hurray".


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:09 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
rabbie burns wrote:
Tend to agree with sbarnes. Many children did well in the test and clearly understanding the paper is part of the test. I thought test paper recognition was one of the (many) reasons people give for tutoring. Sounds to me like talking down the achievements of the children who did well by saying other children would have scored higher than them if only the paper had not been so confusing etc. I am also amazed at how much parents know about the test because its never been mentioned in our house since the day he sat it. If Birmingham was harder then additional congratulations to those children who scored well. 8)


I think you've misunderstood the point of this discussion, which is not to 'talk down the achievements of children' but is centred on why cut-off-scores have dropped lower than expected this year.

I am very glad to hear that your children did so well in the test.

My dd was also very fortunate and has her first choice school.
But there will undoubtedly be children out there just as able - and more - than my dd who just made a slight slip-up on that NVR and so lost 32 marks and a place at a grammar school.
From the children I know, about 15% slipped up on that NVR so I think it is worth CEM considering how to make the instructions clearer next year.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:41 pm 
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Interesting thread.

DD scored well in the QM exam and scored (on an equivalent basis) 4 points below that in the B'ham consortium. Considering that she had the extra couple of months prep.

Feedback from DD was that she found the B'ham exam a lot tougher, particularly the English sections. DD score was lower for the English section of the exam as was the case with many other DC that we know. We were told by a tutor that over the last couple of years CEM placing more emphasis on and looking for ways to make the English section more difficult as this is more tutor proof.

It would be interesting to know if this theory has some basis to it.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:45 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
Bob1892 wrote:
In addition, a significant number of children became confused with where they were supposed to put the answers for one of the NVR sections (possibly because they were still freaked out by the jumbled sentences timings!) and lost a good 32 marks there.
Can you elaborate on this confusion? I've heard of something similar to this re: the nvr questions where dc were ringing the answers as opposed to marking the multiple choice boxes.


Yes, that is where the confusion lies.

A tutor explained it like this:
it involves the non-verbal which had a series/sequence of shapes. Normally in Bond books there are about five boxes with one box missing and then a selection next it from which to choose the correct missing box. In this particular set of questions in the real KE exam, there were two missing boxes in the sequence so you had to select two appropriate choices and, rather than ring beneath the right choices, you had to ring/shade in your choices on another part of the booklet so you not only identified the correct choices but their relevant positions in the sequence. This is because if you simply rung two of them you would not be identifying which one went into which missing space.

Most of the dc I know who sat the exam (including my dyslexic dcquintus) completed the nvr correctly so I don't think it's a case that the instructions weren't clear. At the end of the day, the CEM test is an IQ test and they will look for ways to test dc with the 'unfamiliar' and to see how they cope with something that takes them out of their comfort zone.


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