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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:13 pm 
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Sorry just thought I'd throw this question out there after reading webpage of well-known tuition company claiming the same extremely high success rates for 2013 after the first run of the Bucks new style test - i.e. very similarly high success rates to the old style VR test. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised but I thought the point of the new style test was to reduce the effect of / need for tutoring.

Maybe these organisations only take the absolute most able children and so can claim very high success rates? I cannot see how any particular organisation / tutor can claim to have a magic bullet with this test.

It does seem a bit depressing that all these claims are being made despite the changes. However, increased tutoring was feared to be a knock-on effect of the test by many on this forum and changing the test doesn't seem to have stopped any of the tutors / tuition companies in their tracks.

Any views?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:04 pm 
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Hi Lillie,

Just my thoughts...

I don't think this type of exam could ever become 'tutor-proof'. However, I do think that a CEM 'pass' is more achievable when compared with the previous process, for those who are not tutored (i.e. not tutored for either process). I think it was easier to tutor/train/coach children to pass the old 11+, possibly resulting in less able, tutored children getting places at Grammar Schools, at the expense of able children who were not tutored.

Having said that, it is still possible that the latter happens. Just that now I think the gap has narrowed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:26 pm 
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Lillie wrote:
It does seem a bit depressing that all these claims are being made despite the changes. However, increased tutoring was feared to be a knock-on effect of the test by many on this forum and changing the test doesn't seem to have stopped any of the tutors / tuition companies in their tracks.

I was one of the doom-mongers who predicted the growth in tutoring, and sadly I have been proved correct.

I talk to a number of tutors, and all of them have seen an increase in the amount of tutoring that parents are seeking to put their children through.

These tutors are all ethically minded, and I would say that they find the situation fairly depressing as well. Managing parental expectations has become ever more difficult for them, and they are deflecting constant requests for what they personally believe is excessive tutoring and homework.

On the plus side, they do feel that they are at least adding value in a way that tutoring for the old test didn't, improving general maths and literacy skills in the children. They also don't feel that they are "teaching to the test" in the way they did before.

On that count, I agree with Single Dad that the old test had a strong element of "training" in it. I am still not convinced that it produced significant numbers of GS qualified children who weren't of GS ability, but a lot of learning by rote went on, and that has pretty well gone in the new test. Even the skills needed to unravel NVR have some practical application in logical, visual thinking.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:30 pm 
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What slightly surprised me was that the company was claiming very similar, very high pass rates, both with the old style test and in the first year of the new style test. That is what made me wonder why the new test didn't seem to have made an iota of difference. Maybe it's the same type of children attending, most of whom would have have got through anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:09 pm 
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Lillie wrote:
What slightly surprised me was that the company was claiming very similar, very high pass rates, both with the old style test and in the first year of the new style test. That is what made me wonder why the new test didn't seem to have made an iota of difference. Maybe it's the same type of children attending, most of whom would have have got through anyway.


Or maybe it's as rigorous as 9 out of 10 cats prefer Kit-e-Kat? (I don't know who you're talking about and haven't seen the website, but such stats are usually best taken with a grain/bushel of salt).

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Stroller: I agree I would normally take such stats with a pinch of salt, but they make some very specific claims (% achieving such and such a score etc.).

The point is, the new test has done nothing to dampen the claims of tutors or the demand for them.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:25 am 
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Interesting thread ......viewtopic.php?f=12&t=38078


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:42 am 
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Thanks Sonasona for the link. It is interesting.

Does anyone know if the large tuition centres test the children before taking them on? I am astonished at the very high pass rates claimed and also the proportion who apparently achieve very high standardised scores, even with the new test. I assume they must only take on very able children in the first place. You cannot get 90% + pass rate in an average class of Bucks state school children. Very far from it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:17 pm 
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Through FOI some Wycombe residents have collected a range of information about the impact of the new Bucks test. Some interesting facts (from data supplied by The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools, the company that oversees the test, and from individual Wycombe secondary schools):

- In 2014, the pass rate for children in Chiltern District was over DOUBLE the pass rate of children in Aylebsury Vale (20% vs 42%). This is very similar to last year. This significant difference between children from different areas and backgrounds was exactly what the introduction of the 'tutor proof' test was supposed to address.

- There will be little or no change in the number of children on free school meals going to Wycombe grammar schools in 2014, or in the overall diversity (in terms of ethnicity) of the grammar school intake. Again, issues that the 'tutor proof' test was supposed to address.

Finally, CEM has repeatedly refused to release to us their pilot data showing how their test was supposed to be 'fairer'. This is really important because test providers should have to produce the evidence base for sweeping claims that they make about their tests. We now have a case lodged with the Information Commissioner's Office to try to get their pilot data.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:27 pm 
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Hi,

SD do test the children once their parents have parted with a deposit and sent post dated cheques for the entire course. The parents are then given a slip of paper with a standardised score and percentile ranking. They will never turn away a child who scores badly.

I am aware of 2 children attending this course at Slough Conference centre and I'm afraid to say their parents are very disappointed with both the content and course structure. From what I've seen and heard, the 2 are no way prepared for the upcoming exams in just over a months time and their parents are panicking.

I can also tell you their are other children on the same course that already have been attending another tuition centre so they always perform well in assessments. Unfortunately they don't think they gained much value from the SD course.

I definitely don't believe the pass rates they've been feeding to parents to get them to enrol their children, especially after hearing what they've been teaching all year :shock: there are now a lot of worried parents out there :( and I think you are right to question their claims.


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