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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:44 pm 
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I'm not trying to flame, but I just wondered if anybody had come across any research - rather than gut instinct, anecdotal evidence, etc - which showed that tutoring children for entrance exams at Year 6 actually raised their chances of success at all? I've had a quick look around the interwebs but can't immediately find any.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:31 pm 
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I know there is research showing that practicing IQ type tests does raise your score initially but then increased practice makes no difference at all. I doubt there is any research on paid tutoring as who'd fund it? The tutors themselves? - they couldn't afford to and would worry about the 'wrong' results coming out... The schools? - they don't want to admit it's happening...

Await any answers to this thread with interest.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:54 pm 
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There has been a study in Northen Ireland (I believe) on the impact of tutoring.Essentially tutoring does have an impact and can raise VR and NVR scores by approx.15%.

Northen Ireland has since abandoned selective School examinations.

If there was a level playing field -all children tutored ,with the same quality of tutoring,then tutoring would have no impact.

Maths is another subject where scores can be raised by tutoring.Personally,we did DIY tutoring as this allowed for more flexibility in studying.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:14 pm 
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My wife tutored two children (always together) in VR over a period of 12 months. Initially, the scores were around 70% for child 1 & 90% for child 2. After 12 months, both children were scoring very similarly between 90-95% (with the majority of the errors just being silly mistakes).

Not scientific research by a long way, but it definitely appeared to have a real benefit for the 1st child, but much less benefit for the 2nd child (who was already scoring well at the beginning). Hence I wouldn't necessarily agree with the statement: "If there was a level playing field - all children tutored, with the same quality of tutoring,then tutoring would have no impact". In the context of the Yr 6 exams, I think tutoring helps different ability children achieve a similar level i.e. get to a stage where accuracy/consistency becomes the important factor (assuming the child has a certain level of ability to start with).


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Yes, but perhaps that child would naturally have shown similar improvements over the 12 month period? It would be interesting to compare the improvement in other subjects in which they were not tutored over the same timescale.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Depending on the location of the selective School,they are trying to take the top 5% to 10% of children in terms of IQ.The IQ distribution for a given population is predictable and well tested.

If there was no tutoring and no VR or NVR papers available then one test would be sufficient to determine the brightest kids (with a small margin of error).

With tutoring,the tests are not accurate enough to determine the brightest kids (which is also why the tests have some questions which are never seen on the commercially available papers ),so the Schools then have additional tests-Maths and English .Additionally,the brightest kids have more offers/scholarships available so the Schools end up losing the highest IQ students and the middling (IQ) students with the most tutoring get through.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:07 pm 
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chapuza wrote:
Yes, but perhaps that child would naturally have shown similar improvements over the 12 month period?
Agreed - you would also need "control" children with similar starting abilities who you didn't tutor. However, child 1 had trouble with specific types of VR questions, so tutoring was able to focus on explanation and practice of those VR types. I'm sceptical whether the child would have naturally improved their ability to the same extent over the 12 months (without any exposure to those type of questions). Furthermore, both children got academic places at Parmiter's, whereas similarly bright applicants from their school (all top table) who had less or no tutoring are currently on the waiting list.

Still anecdotal, but in my opinion, you'd be foolish not to tutor if you were applying for the Yr 6 entrance exams. How much is enough is a different question :)

chapuza - Have you decided yet between Parmiter's & SAB?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Clearly maths and less so English can be tutored for - after all, our kids have lessons in them every day at school and I'd like to hope they're learning something!

I'm not familar with the N Ireland exams so dont know what type of questions they include - any link to this study?

I have read stuff, as I said, that directly contradicts maddad's anecdote - ie that in IQ-type tests, initial familarisation with the tests leads to (I think, from memory) around an 8% (??) uplift on average - but years of further tutoring make no difference at all.

maddad - I wonder if one of the 2 children your wife tutored had done similar papers before eg Bond etc, hence the lack of improvement, versus the other who was a genuine VR or NVR virgin?

Certainly I am not aware of any research that shows that the more practice you do, he higher your scores - though willing to be corrected on this. As far as I know, once you've got the idea, all that making your child do hours of practice every day will achieve is to make you poorer and them crosser! :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:24 pm 
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I think there was a study in Buckinghamshire which indicated tutoring for VR made a difference, but it wasn’t widely publicised because it was contrary to the party line.

I’m a bit vague on this as you can tell :D and I certainly stand to be corrected, but maybe one of the mods can confirm or refute this…


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:25 pm 
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maddad wrote:
chapuza - Have you decided yet between Parmiter's & SAB?


Yep, we've gone for Parmiter's, almost entirely on the basis that he was much, much keener on them than SA (though for slightly bizarre reasons!). Also, our original 'game plan' was that SA was a backup if he didn't get P so it's really a case of not being seduced into changing our minds by him getting a scholarship - if he'd got a 50% scholarship rather than a 10% one then we may have been more swayable... Personally, I think I would have gone for SA but he's the little chap who worked his ears off this year so I think it's fair that he gets to decide.


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