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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:31 am 
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This may be of use to parents of children currently in year 4 and 5.

I've been to WHSmith and flicked through Letts Maths workbook for year 6 which says 'supports new curriculum' on the cover. I noticed a number of things in there that my older son did in year 7 and 8, in particular algebra - collecting like terms, formulating algebraic expressions, solving equations including brackets etc. There was also a section on 'nth term' and linear functions. All of this used to be secondary school maths, now has been pulled into year 6. I haven't looked at year 5 book, but I imagine it is also more advanced than it used to be.

It will probably have impact on the content of 11+ maths papers from next year onwards, so it may be worth holding back a bit before buying practice papers, until properly updated versions come up.

I know that both Bond and Letts have been a bit cheeky - I bought their 'all new' test papers just a few months ago and they were identical in contents to the papers I bought 4 years earlier. I still have the old used ones, so was able to compare them page by page. The only thing that is new is the design of the cover!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Mmmm - it's all very peculiar. If you read the year 6 national curriculum document to me it does not cover all that stuff whereas NC level 6 could have done. Also, if you look at the KS2 maths sample questions put on the STA website ready for the first lot of children to take the national tests in 2016 it's nothing like that.

And the year 5 national curriculum for maths to me has less content in it than the GL practice papers for maths. So I'm wondering the opposite - are GL going to have to reduce the content level in their real 11 plus maths tests in order to fit them with the year 5 national curriculum as children take the test at the start of the year 6 so it's only the year 5 curriculum that should be tested in the state sector, arguably, as the state sector does not prepare for the 11 plus and the new curriculum is heralded with the principle of broadening sideways rather than advancing up the years in content for the ones that are "exceeding expectations".
S


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:03 pm 
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mystery wrote:
So I'm wondering the opposite - are GL going to have to reduce the content level in their real 11 plus maths tests in order to fit them with the year 5 national curriculum as children take the test at the start of the year 6 so it's only the year 5 curriculum that should be tested in the state sector, arguably, as the state sector does not prepare for the 11 plus and the new curriculum is heralded with the principle of broadening sideways rather than advancing up the years in content for the ones that are "exceeding expectations".
S


It is rather odd, indeed. I have not read the curriculum document, so can't comment on that, but in a recent 'maths evening' for parents in our primary we were told that the expectations have shifted and the new curriculum is significantly more demanding than the old one - not just in maths, but across all subjects.

I'm not sure the level of content in the real maths tests would go down, especially given that schools are largely free to create their own papers (at least as far as I am aware). My youngest has just done the first round of the grammar tests and from what he told me, there were a number of questions there that he hadn't covered at school yet. Demand for selective school places is increasing, so from the schools' point of view, it probably doesn't make sense for the tests to be easier.

It's true that 11+ exams are supposed to take into account that children have just come out of year 5, but they don't. Comprehension, for instance, is way above what year 6 children usually do at school. The texts are much harder to read and questions are more difficult to answer. Also, bear in mind that a fair proportion of grammar schools' intake comes from prep schools and based on conversations with a few people I know who have children in private schools, they seem to be a year or two ahead of state primaries in what they do.

I was very naïve with my eldest and believed headmasters' speeches during open evenings. They said any child expected to achieve level 5 at the end of school was a good grammar school material. DS had level 6 in maths and English in his SATs but didn't make it to a grammar school and neither did 2 or 3 of his friends with levels 6.

With my youngest, I don't believe a word of what they say and have been teaching him maths ahead of what he did at school. He has got through to stage 2 tests and passed for one of the schools which uses only stage 1 results for their shortlist.

I think it all boils down to a rather vague phrase that 'tests are based on KS2 curriculum'. It all depends on how we are supposed to interpret the 'based on' bit...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:39 pm 
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I think what has happened is that teachers are feeling that to get the equivalent of an old 4b by the end of year 6 - whatever that is - might be harder under the new curriculum than the old one. But quite where WH Smith got the content you have seen from or whether the general feeling is that the new maths curriculum is harder for everyone including the high achievers, I haven't a clue.

Like you, I don't believe a word of anything anymore from school, the LA, the test providers, the book publishers etc etc!!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:53 pm 
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mystery wrote:
Like you, I don't believe a word of anything anymore from school, the LA, the test providers, the book publishers etc etc!!

And it's usually the first-time 11+ parents who pay the price for all this information confusion...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:26 pm 
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In DS's school, they were given the new SATs style paper at the start of the year. All he could remember about the content was that it was hard and the difficulty was similar to GL.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:42 pm 
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There are some samples available for the new tests https://www.gov.uk/government/collectio ... -materials


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:47 pm 
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mitasol wrote:
There are some samples available for the new tests https://www.gov.uk/government/collectio ... -materials

That's very helpful, thank you! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:39 pm 
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mumsdarling2 wrote:
In DS's school, they were given the new SATs style paper at the start of the year. All he could remember about the content was that it was hard and the difficulty was similar to GL.


But if he tried an old level 6 paper and then that, or an old 3 to 5 paper, and then that, it might put it into perspective. There is nit the stretch that level 6 provided nor the content that someone higher up is saying is in the wh smith year 6 book. And if those example materials are typical of what the highest performing child is expected to be able to do by the end of tear 6, and schools are told not to move on but to aim for "mastery", and if they are similar standard to gl then gl needs to be made easier for end year 5.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:06 pm 
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In case someone wanted to have a look themselves, the particular Letts book I referred to in my original post was this:

Challenging Maths Age 10-11: Age 10-11 (Letts KS2 SATs Revision Success - New 2014 Curriculum), by Paul Broadbent.

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