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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:44 am 
Thought I would start a new thread on this years English Paper as obviously this is what everyone is talking about after Saturdays Shocking English paper!

Just wondered if anybodys child had read this book before sitting the exam? I cant imagine many would of read this one.

My daughter loves reading Jacquline Wilson so obviously the English Paper was quite a shock to her!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:56 am 

My son had been told at the beginning of year 5 to read 'the classics'..this was hard enough..... A ten year old boy interested in the classics, but no way would I have encouraged him to have read this particular one anyway.

I've posted a few messages about the whole thing ...about how unfair this text was, what demoralising effect this has on kids and the reasons why the CSSE may or may not have done it deliberately to weed out the weaker ones/survival of the fittest etc etc.....don't want to repeat all that.

I had a brief word with my son's english teacher at school this am and she agreed it was not appropriate to use this book/text..it used to be an A-level piece.

Another issue is that the CSSE provide practise papers but not to this standard....the past papers come out too late for any well advanced prep..and stuff you can buy or get from a website doesn't compare.

No way could any tutor/parent have enhanced a child's chances of doing really well in this english paper(unless they studied this and nothing else).

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:33 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:22 pm
Posts: 158
Location: Essex
My son found the English tough, but not that tough. We'd encouraged him to read a couple of classics to familiarise himself with the language - he managed to finish "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" and started "Gullivers Travels".

I'm not as bothered as some about the inappropriateness of the text - yes it was tough (I would have struggled!) but surely that is the point - to identify which children could cope best with the rigour and pace of a grammar school education, not just to see which children's tutors, parents or prep. school had them best prepared to pass the exam!

As for the lasting effects, I don't really think it will be an issue. Saturday my son was very subdued but after he met his friends to go bowling on Sunday and found out they all found it tough, he was right as rain!

I think as parents we can too easily beat ourselves up that we didn't prepare them well enough and are trying to find someone else to blame (i.e. the CSSE exam setters) at the end of the day it seems that the CSSE have gone out of their way to find a text we couldn't prepare adequately for in order to find a truer judgement on the intelligence of the children themselves rather than the quality or quantity of their preparation.

I think they obviously did quite well at this from the reactions on here.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 1:06 pm 
Absolutely Garry, couldn't have put it better myself, i told my daughter that the English paper will no doubt be very difficult, and something she has never come across, i just told her to go in there with her head held high and to try her best and that is what she has done. No amount of tutoring or home preperation could have helped her in that situation, like somebody said its a bit like the survival of the fittest....may the best boy/girl win or the top 20% i guess! :?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:26 am 
I agree that the exam needs to be challenging in order to show which children really are the brightest......but having re-read the information booklet published by the CSSE, I find it says, 'The mathematics and English tests will be based on Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum'.
Having spoken to teachers in state primary schools, I am almost sure that children will not be exposed to difficult texts like 'Tess' in the normal course of a week!! 'Classic' books read/studied tend to be more on par with eg 'Carrie's War'. So can the CSSE really state that tests are based on KS2??

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:24 am 
Thank you!.....at last someone who understands what I'm getting at.

I'm all for challenging children and making sure the most deserving (as in brightest) get the right palces, but can't see how such a stretching text proves anything.

I'm not moaning.....I'm luckier than most, my son is supposed to be quite bright, despite being a July birthday, He's done acting, verse and prose Lamda exams for years and has a reading age of nearly 14 years.... if he struggled with this pieces it's no great shakes, as I know that most others will too and looking at historic data (i.e. his mock results) he should do well, but that's not the point.

I think the bar gets higher and higher and how far do you go before it gets out of hand? 10 year old kids are studying stuff that A-level students find boring....

Honestly, how many adults out there know how to pronounce the word autochthonous let alone know the meaning and "to stand apathetic beside his portable repository of force"..???

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:05 am 
Just for fun:

Autochthonous. Perhaps it's pronounced: "or-tock-thon-us"?

K :)

 Post subject: English text
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:47 pm 
The 11+ is always stated to be roughly key stage 2 standard and that, in my humble opinion, has always been rubbish. The English certainly has never been and parts of the maths are not always consistant with the cirriculum either. There are two points to make here, I think.

The first is that very able children are often (not always though) very avid readers and the very brightest are reasonably likely to have read some "heavy" literature. Whilst this does not mean they will do brilliently on a horrendously difficult English paper, they are more likely to be familiar with the type of English used and thus do better generally. Children who are not "naturally" extremely bright (which is the majority) are unlikely to have dabbled in this type of book. Thus schools like Chelmsford and Colchester are more likely to grab the "really" very able.

On the other hand, and as a second point, if it is your first time round for 11+, as a parent, and you are not really knowledgable about what types of texts come up in the English paper, your child could be scared stiff and then be worried and not do as well on the other papers. Whether your child is a "really" able or not, experience and knowledge go a long way.

Good luck to everybody

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:43 pm 
The english paper is always a tough one, this year is no different to any other. If it was set at a key stage 2 level, most of the children sitting the exam would sail through it. It has always been the most difficult of the three papers, not least because it is also the one paper that is difficult to revise.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:57 am 
Here, here. Anyone wanting their child to sit the 11+ not only wants their child to go to a grammar school but also to be surrounded by other academically able pupils. What is the point in setting a paper where 80%+ of the kids will get over 85%. How do you differentiate between the naturally able and those who have been tutored to that level. Difficult papers provide a bigger, more accurate spread in ability. I would suggest that in excess of 8 out of 10 kids sitting the 11+ would get at least a level 5 at Key Stage 2, so if you pitch a paper at that level, you are not going to get a decent spread. If you feel your child is naturally able then you should welcome difficult papers, if however, you've spent a lot of time and money of rote tuition then you should be worried. It looks like the consortium may have moved the goal posts and about time to.

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