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 Post subject: Are we that unusual?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:17 am
Posts: 62
DD is in Year 5 with aspirations of Sale Grammar. She did the baseline assessments from the CPG books so I could decide which books to get - on everything except VR she got almost full marks and scored in the 10-11 range on the test. For VR she was on the 8-9/9-10 borderline because she made a lot of mistakes on the comprehension test. The odd thing was that before I realised they were different she did the non-CEM VR test and scored in the 10-11 range. She is scientific/logical and not a particularly keen reader but I was surprised by the discrepancy between the results. My question is - is this profile unusual at this stage for a child whose first language is English and who has no identified difficulty reading? I thought the comprehension was a lot harder than the other tests but I am a mathematician. Suppose I'm wondering to what extent we need to focus on comprehension. Her school (high-performing state primary which runs booster classes etc) have said that provided she does practice papers they wouldn't advise a tutor.


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 Post subject: Re: Are we that unusual?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:45 pm
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Schools that don't use CEM format tests, usually have a separate comprehension test as part of their exam, so I don't think you can avoid it either way. Do you know which test format your preferred school is using?

Comprehension tests (whether CEM or 'standard') require more than just fluent reading - children need to be able to identify relevant information in the text, some of which may be obvious and some not. Inference questions based on the text are usually the ones children find most tricky. There are books that might be useful in practising comprehension skills, e.g. Bond's 11+ English: Focus on Comprehension.

I think reading as much as possible and talking to your DD about what she reads and what she thinks the story is about should help.

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 Post subject: Re: Are we that unusual?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:14 am
Posts: 228
I know nothing about Sale grammar or its test but I would say that the overwhelming impression I get across this forum is that English comprehension skills are where the 11plus is lost and won.
You have done really well to identify this as an area to work on at this stage. Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: Are we that unusual?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:27 am
Posts: 152
I think it really depends on the child. I have twins in Year 6 (boy and girl). Girl pretty much an all rounder - no real difference between performance on GL or CEM preparation. Boy sat Alty (which is GL) and then they both sat Sale / Alty Girls which is CEM. The boy is definitely better at Maths / puzzles / codes etc than English - so he always did better in the non CEM style questions / papers than the CEM style. Having been through it all, the types of questions on the VR (certainly for GL) are not what I'd call a test of literacy - its things like spot a 4 letter word in a sentence, codes, sequences and only limited "understanding" questions if that makes sense - so matching words with similar / opposite meanings. So certainly if I'd have done those profile tests at the start of Year 5, I'd have expected him to score better in the non CEM than the CEM.

The CEM VR is much more "understanding" based - so comprehensions, the CLOZE exercises (where you have to insert missing words into a passage) - as well as the words with similar / opposite meanings (although personally I think the CEM vocab seems much harder than GL). So I'd say if your daughter is more logical / numeracy based, you do need to work on the literacy. Reading, reading and more reading, talking about the books, cross words, word puzzles etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Are we that unusual?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:45 pm
Posts: 154
Sale was CEM last year. I dont know about marking within the cohort who took the exam but Alty girls offered the same CEM paper. Good vocabulary is key to success imo.


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 Post subject: Re: Are we that unusual?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:44 am
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CEM for King Edwards, averaged raw marks of 52% to get Standardised score of 200. I think up there your scored on 300, but I don't think the raw scores are massively different. My DD did Walsall consortium and got 360 with 300 being the average SD score. Highest I think was 410, but the number getting over 360 would have been less than 100 of all the people that took the exam. Agree 100% with the vocab and reading points


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 Post subject: Re: Are we that unusual?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:44 am
Posts: 1425
CEM for King Edwards, averaged raw marks of 52% to get Standardised score of 200. I think up there your scored on 300, but I don't think the raw scores are massively different. My DD did Walsall consortium and got 360 with 300 being the average SD score. Highest I think was 410, but the number getting over 360 would have been less than 100 of all the people that took the exam. Agree 100% with the vocab and reading points


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