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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:05 am 
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Kent may be moving to CEM. We do not know yet as the tender process is currently under way.

In Kent we have grammar school places for approx 25% of the school population. A few schools only take children who achieve the very highest scores in the test (our "superselectives"). The test is taken in September of year 6.

The new test which is being devised will have to be suitable to distinguish between the superselective candidates and the others. What approach do you think CEM (if it wins) would take with the maths questions in order to discriminate well across the range? Do you think they would have some questions that cover topics that could be considered level 5 or level 6 material? Or do you think they will have some problems which are harder to solve but only involve material that a child expected to meet national expectations would have covered by the end of year 5 - i.e. level 3a/4c. Or somewhere in between?

It will be multiple-choice and there probably won't be that much maths as I think they are intending to make it so that all the 11plus tests can be taken in one primary school morning.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:33 am 
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mystery wrote:
It will be multiple-choice and there probably won't be that much maths as I think they are intending to make it so that all the 11plus tests can be taken in one primary school morning.


Wouldn't that still allow for 45 mins to an hour for a maths paper? How long is the current Kent maths paper?

Makes me wonder how/ whether CEM writing tasks are handled. I've just looked at the CEM website but there seems to be no reference to it with regards to entrance assessments. There's a handbook for years 3-6 but you need to be a school to purchase it ... Sorry, I'm changing the topic :oops:

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:27 am 
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Currently in Kent there is an NVR paper, a VR paper, and a maths paper. They are each 40 to 50 mins I think. The discussions in Kent so far seem to indicate that they are wanting to cut to two papers of around 40 to 50 mins each, probably with all three subjects mixed up as in some other CEM tests.

There can be no writing task in a multi-choice paper. I wouldn't think many / any state schools or authorities would take on an entrance test that required someone to read piece of writing and mark it would they - way too costly.

In Kent I think they will probably retain the writing task which is used at the headteacher assessment for borderline cases but does not in the normal course of events get marked.

I don't think it's a case of CEM is like this, this and this, but a case of the bidders coming up with something that Kent likes. Let's say that maths was one-third of the papers - that would probably be 33 mins of maths at the most - unless they decided that non-verbal reasoning was unimportant and divide 100 mins (say) equally between verbal stuff and maths - giving approx 50 mins for maths type questions.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:31 pm 
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I see. So, I'm guessing the written piece is a sort of level 5 SATs piece, being taught to include all the punctuation/ grammar/ story genre/ techniques they've learned up to then?

When I looked at the CEM website, it said they could provide something bespoke in the way of assessment exams in 2-3 years, so if they are looking to roll this out by Sept 2014, they will presumably have to model it on an existing CEM entrance test somewhere else in the country. Shall do some research about what they look like when the kids are in bed!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:39 pm 
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I think that's right - I'm guessing it will be a combination of Bucks - lots of grammars but no superselectives - and the schools in Birmingham which do use CEM. What I haven't got my head round at the minute is if the Birmingham / Warwick schools that use CEM are multi-choice only.

I'm not sure how clever the writing piece has to be to get you through the headteacher assessment if borderline. It seems unfair if it has to be fantastic as it's possible for loads of kids to have passed the multi-choice tests despite being barely able to put pen to paper!

It's not possible to get much feeling for Bucks as they won't sit it for the first time until this September I think. Bucks forum participants say you only will need "year 5 maths" ... 'fraid I don't really get what that means but I think Bucks is very uniform across its primary schools unlike here in Kent. The school a couple of miles from ours is about a year ahead of ours (top group versus top group) and the school close to where I live is about a year behind our school.

Also as Bucks has no superselectives CEM maybe would construct their maths element differently from ours --- if it is CEM. This is all mad speculation!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Yes, there does seem a lot of variety - between classes of the same level, let alone school. Will do a lot of reading on the boards here tonight!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:06 pm 
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mystery wrote:
What I haven't got my head round at the minute is if the Birmingham / Warwick schools that use CEM are multi-choice only.
They're a mix or standard and multiple choice. So m/c for parts like cloze and NVR, but standard format for maths.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:18 pm 
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Thank Okanagan. So Bucks might be the first multi-choice maths around? Why do you think they go standard form for the maths in West Mids? Is it so they can analyse thought processes even if the answer itself was wrong?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:28 pm 
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Probably so that it cuts out the chances of a lucky guess.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:13 pm 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
Occasionally, in B'ham, the Maths is multiple choice. It's usually in the form of 'Quick Maths' which covers all the lovely stuff that dc are also taught in y5, like fractions, decimals and % and (other) conversions; algebra, ratio & proportion, etc. It's just very, very time pressured for most dc.

We haven't had the Quick Maths in B'ham since 2009 but perhaps it will be introduced again this year. Pops up every 4 years, for a bit (I think). But if Bucks is completely mc for the maths, perhaps that's why the folks say that...?

Only nvr and comprehension have been truly retained as the mc areas in B'ham. Our 'cloze' was standard too until this year - we got 2 sections for cloze: one mc and one standard (i.e. 'missing letters' format).

I don't think it's how long the kids are given for a section but how the section is weighed overall. For B'ham, nvr is the shortest (in terms of minutes) but still accounts for 1/4 of the exam. Maths lasts double the time but carries the same weight for nvr.


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