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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:01 am
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I stand vindicated. As stated in previous posts Nonsuch are not happy with the level of English their students are entering the school with and they want to change the entrance test to include an English Comprehension Test. So, do you think it's a good thing or a bad thing? 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:53 pm 
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I think that's good, as able girls will have no problems with comprehension.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
We have English comprehension in Essex, but it still means that children who are very weak in English pass (this in itself is, of course, relative as they are still capable of entering a GS). Comprehension is a learnt analytical skill and doesn't test the skills required for English at secondary level.

The Essex English test is notoriously hard, yet a significant number of pupils get through with low English CAT scores. A written element is essential if you really wish to test English, but that opens up the argument of subjectivity. With 1000+ pupils taking the 11+ there is simply too much to mark for a written piece to be viable.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:37 pm 
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moved wrote:
With 1000+ pupils taking the 11+ there is simply too much to mark for a written piece to be viable.


Why? Sutton Grammar manages to do it.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:57 pm 
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The QE Boys, HBS and Latymer schools all test comprehension/composition and grammar in the 2nd round, when numbers are down to around 500 (from 1200-1700 in round 1). St Michael's in Finchley tests all these in the 1st round, but only have around 450 applicants due to the 'Catholic girl with 1st Holy Communion and Priests Reference' criteria. If numbers were an issue they could test NVR and VR in R1, then Maths and English in R2 when numbers are reduced.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:09 pm 
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Sutton Grammar, Wilsons and Wallington grammar all do. Up until this year they have marked the English composition piece for all boys. Sutton for the first time this year are asking for a minimum mark in computer marked papers before looking at the English piece.
Each of these schools get well over 1000 sitting test


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:27 pm
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If Nonsuch want a reliable test to select their year 7 pupils, they should hold the tests as close as possible to the school entry date not 50 weeks before it. On Sept 21st, only 3/52 girls are likely to be 11. Holding a test this early so that information can be provided for the application form may be useful to some parents (particularly Surrey parents if they don't change from 3 to 6 preferences) but the loss of opportunity for many girls who don't mature academically quite as early as their peers (even allowing for age standardisation) far outweighs this benefit.

Including a multiple-choice English test will not identify girls who can write English but will identify girls who can recognise correct written English.

I can't help but think that Nonsuch are searching in vain for 'quick to mark' solutions to problems that they have created - 1) moving their test forward to September 2) excluding girls who would benefit from a grammar school education because of where they live.

Selection tests must be fit for purpose, not just for administrative convenience. Discuss.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:31 am 
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Running Mum - I agree with you . . . . Nonsuch have lost the thread . . . . and the new head teacher is not strong enough IMO to lead. They are clearly not happy with their girls - Lord knows why - they have the cream. They are also proposing a one-shot chance at entry in year 7. In the past if one's DC failed the test and a place came up mid-term, said DC could re-apply to take (even harder) test for that place - now they are getting rid of that too!

And (takes a deep breath) are proposing to up the 6th form entry from 43 points to 50 - putting even more pressure (if that's at all possible) on their students. 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:21 pm
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Oh dear, I really feel the need to defend the school a little here.

In the last newsletter, the school confirmed that of the last gcse cohort, 95% had achieved at least 5 A*. Now I think that's a pretty amazing result and science and maths can't account for all of those A*. Even if English isn't up to scratch when some of the girls enter the school, it obviously doesn't prevent them achieving when it matters!

To be fair Running Mum, the school did try to remove the catchment for the last set of admissions, but the uproar from locals was so intense that the school was forced to reinstate it.

Also, Tiffins has for some time now excluded girls who "failed" their test from applying again. In their case, you are deemed to have "failed" if you don't achieve at least the score of the final person to be admitted to the school. At least for Nonsuch, you only have to achieve the mark which is deemed to show you are of selective ability. Many girls who achieve this mark may not get offered a place (eg not in catchment and not in top 80) but at least they will get a second crack of the whip.

I agree though that upping the requirement to remain in the 6th form seems harsh :x


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:08 am
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This is simply acknowledging the truth that many girls at Nonsuch got in through being crammed, and find it hard to write well. An army of tutors can only do so much. I think you will find that those so called amazing results of 95% at high grades are not achieved 'in house' but with much external help.

Nonsuch do not have the cream, and that's the problem. At first they thought the answer was to widen the catchment net, but that is simply illogical. Then, they tried threats of culling even more deeply. Now, the 12 - 13 years will become even more competitive.

Why does it eat them up so much that they are 'only' no. 13 in the League Tables?


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