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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:22 am 
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The following appeared on my Twitter timeline a few minutes ago.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/9653189/Grammar-school-tests-to-be-made-tutor-proof.html


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:57 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
Interesting - but we have supposedly tutor proof tests in Warwickshire and Birmingham - and all it means is that there aren't officially any past papers released. The tutors still get feedback from the kids one year, and use that to prepare the next lot, so the tutored kids still do better. And they still test to the end of KS2 maths for example, although the exam is at the end of Y5 and the state schools won't teach ahead of schedule. So I'm not sure that the issues are really addressed.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:11 pm 
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They are overhauling the Bucks one too. We currently only have VR. My feeling is that it will be (a little) fairer next year, but after that it will revert to the usual situation of tutoring asked on the previous year's tests.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Oh it looks like another load of Kent political guff doesn't it, appearing to try and keep everybody happy? A bit like supporting both a grammar school in Sevenoaks and a grammar stream at an academy and a free school? It's even wrong in this first article about it - preventing sale of past papers - there's no such thing as past Kent papers being on sale. Maybe this article was not checked over by KCC before publication. I'm not holding my breath; hasn't this been done before?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Well, apparently they're doing the same in Bexley. It's mentioned in the current secondary school booklet. Though that really is all the info we have, the fact that they are doing a review.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:42 am 
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http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/ ... hools.aspx

This article seems to claim the reason for a urgent review is because of the numbers being offered places from private schools has risen significantly. The numbers quoted do not seem to differ significantly from previous years though.

There are lots of reasons why a higher than "looks fair" number of children from private schools will pass and get offered places. I don't think a review by some primary headteachers is going to resolve that.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:37 am 
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That article is wrong in so many ways.

I can't think of anything worse than leaving it up to school teachers to decide who gets a place at grammar school.

Both of my dc's have been labelled as 'nice but dim' at various points in their primary schools, one of them even had his teacher call him 'stupid' to his face (what sort of teacher does that?). Both of them went on to top SS's without any intensive coaching.

The 11+ is far from perfect and there is a lot than can be improved but relying on the subjective opinion of a teacher (or indeed of anyone) is far worse. People are naturally biased and there is plenty of scientific evidence that show it's impossible for people to be objective even when they have the very best of intentions.

Tutor 'proofing' by not publishing practice papers (what they incorrectly refer to as past papers in the article) sounds like a good idea at first but actually will mean people will rely even more on tutors and people with knowledge of the exams that will no longer be easily available.

The whole application (appeals etc) process should be far more open than it is, it shouldn't take FOI requests to KCC to understand the process and get relevant information for applications and appeals like it does at present (either that or you have to hire an expensive 'consultant').

Nothing is perfect but introducing the fallibility of humans and increasing secrecy is not the way to make any process fairer.


DaddyOh


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:22 pm 
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Tutor 'proofing' by not publishing practice papers (what they incorrectly refer to as past papers in the article) sounds like a good idea at first but actually will mean people will rely even more on tutors and people with knowledge of the exams that will no longer be easily available.

Agree with you. They will just end up on ebay for sale for years to come. It is not possible now to put the 'genie back in the bottle'.

The last few years have seen a huge jump in those scoring the maximum score particularly in West Kent. I suspect that a large part of this review is that the SS's are realizing that not all the DC's are achieving what they need to keep their scores up.

It reminds me of the evolution of giant redwood trees. Desperate to reach the sunlight they have evolved to a ridiculous, though impressive, height. But because all the other trees are doing the same, then it is either evolve or die. Or, in our case, as someone has already pointed out, 'play the game' or get squeezed out by those who do. Unfortunately this is not sustainable or desirable in the long term.

The system does need a review. The 11+ as it works now is not fit for purpose. I think a test that examines the DC's overall ability in terms of articulation and reasoning would be better and could easily be varied from year to year to prevent tutoring. I don't see this as being difficult to achieve. Checks and balances would be possible with peer review.

The only advantage of the 11+ is that it means they can shove the marking sheets in one end and have the results pop out the other. I think there is more to a DC's ability than just this.

It may take longer to assess but when we are looking at the next five to seven years of education, isn't the extra effort in assessment worth it?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:53 pm 
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Does anyone know the percentage of private school pupils that enter Cranbrook School, kent? This is not mentioned in any articles. But since it is a grammar school, although entry at 13, it should be of equal interest. And rumour, speculation etc puts this percentage at up to 80%.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:58 pm 
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Possibly it will be quite high NKM, but a certain number of the intake may be made up of children who have only been in the private sector for a couple of years, i.e. years 7 and 8, having left the state system at the end of yr 6 and had to wait for a couple of years to enter.


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