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 Post subject: Interesting observations
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:07 pm 
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In the past few years one of the more noticeable trends in 11 plus success is that the ethnic diversity of the grammar schools intake has been increasingly at odds with that of the general population. There are many ways to view this, certain ethnicities may well be inherently brighter, they may put more value on a selective education and therefore comprise a much greater percentage of the candidates, the test may favour certain types of candidates etc etc.

This years SGS results after the change to the 2 stage test have been interesting. I cannot comment on the ethnic diversity, but nevertheless there seems to have a been a considerable change. Previously the test would favour the mathematician. Some of these would be natural maths geniuses, but it also true that a well coached child may well be elevated to a better performance if enough practice is done. Mathematics ability is not necessarily indicated, though for sure a child needs some aptitude.

What the SGS test has done is to remove, at the primary stage, the opportunity for boys who have had their ability substantially coached to thereby compensate for lower abilities in language and inherent intellect. This favours the child who is naturally bright, but also the child who is naturally exposed to extended vocabulary. I would hazard a guess that this skews the results in a quite different direction.

If the change in tests is a bid to change the demographics of the successful candidates, and it would seem that Nonsuch's inclusion of a comprehension test last year was just such an attempt, then the future and the way to prepare for the test is going to change significantly.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:30 pm 
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ThreeKids wrote:
This years SGS results after the change to the 2 stage test have been interesting. I cannot comment on the ethnic diversity, but nevertheless there seems to have a been a considerable change. Previously the test would favour the mathematician. Some of these would be natural maths geniuses, but it also true that a well coached child may well be elevated to a better performance if enough practice is done. Mathematics ability is not necessarily indicated, though for sure a child needs some aptitude.

What the SGS test has done is to remove, at the primary stage, the opportunity for boys who have had their ability substantially coached to thereby compensate for lower abilities in language and inherent intellect. This favours the child who is naturally bright, but also the child who is naturally exposed to extended vocabulary. I would hazard a guess that this skews the results in a quite different direction.


But I don't see how the selection process has changed from previous years - except that it is done on two dates as apposed to one.

Two years ago there was english comprehension (MC), verbal reasoning (MC), writing and maths. The writing and maths were only marked if a certain mark was reached in the multiple choices.

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=16587


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:58 pm 
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999 mum wrote:
But I don't see how the selection process has changed from previous years - except that it is done on two dates as apposed to one.

Two years ago there was english comprehension (MC), verbal reasoning (MC), writing and maths. The writing and maths were only marked if a certain mark was reached in the multiple choices.

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=16587


I think the key word in the post you referenced is 'Modest'. I don't think it is so modest anymore. I suspect there is now pretty much a requirement to pass each phase of the test.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:12 pm 
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The entrance tests should through up the bright children; but the multiple choice VR/NVR were easy to be coached intensively and many children were getting very high scores. At the same time, english and maths abilities were said to be not upto grammars' standard.

The new tests are experiments to find bright children who are also good in Literacy & Numeracy. In our local school, the top set of both these subjects has very diverse ethnicity. So I don't feel that new tests would change ethnic composition very much. Besides, if NVR/VR could be intensively coached, so could maths and languages. Only the focus would change.

Having said that, it occurred to me that the new tests may result in change of composition of children coming from State or Independent preparatories. Perhaps English/Maths tests would favour prep students more, atleast in the initial years of the new format.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:24 pm 
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A number of current and past students at TGS have been less than impressive in their creativity and literacy. The stage 2 tests and their heavier weighting are a fantastic way of ensuring a more well rounded student IMHO. Such a shame it is not done the other way around and they only test the level 5 English and maths girls on their VR and NVR.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:01 pm 
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Schmedz wrote:
A number of current and past students at TGS have been less than impressive in their creativity and literacy.


There would be small number of students in every grammar fitting the above description and these are usually shunted out after GCSE and before A levels.


Schmedz wrote:
The stage 2 tests and their heavier weighting are a fantastic way of ensuring a more well rounded student IMHO. Such a shame it is not done the other way around and they only test the level 5 English and maths girls on their VR and NVR.


Totally agree with above. It would be really good if English/Maths are tested first and VR/NVR is tested at second stage.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:31 pm 
I thought this was quite interesting in terms of ethnic grouping:

http://www.cchs.co.uk/ch/content/downlo ... mar_12.pdf


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:57 pm 
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That assessment would not apply much to Tiffins as

a) Tiffins draw students from a largely multicultural area as opposed to Chelmsford which is largely White area according to the statistics given in the report.

b) Tiffins remain open selective. Only tests have been changed and some ethnic communities may be weaker in English but are superb in maths.

c) Even if Tiffins bring in catchment/proximity policy, the areas in 5-10 miles radius has very large and diverse population. There is unlikely to be any adverse effect on ethnic population, rather ethnic population in Kingston/Richmond may actually benefit from catchment/proximity policies.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:37 am 
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I really don't think this is about minor tweaks to the balance of English v Maths.

It's more likely cultural/social.

Probably it's that the ethnics who have parents who came to the UK are just more likely to apply for this system and more likely to invest in tutors to enhance their chances of success.

Not scientific, but in my son's year 6 class (ordinary state primary class, 30 kids) there are 11 white boys and 4 ethnic boys. Of the 11 whites, none applied to selective school. Didn't even apply. Of the 4 ethnic boys, all sat at least one exam, and 3 (including my son) sat the full set of four.

If white families (present company excepted) are not as interested in this system then they will be under-represented with regard to overall population. Regardless of whether you think exam is fair or discriminates against native English speakers due to too much maths and NVR.

I think families who move to UK from overseas tend to me more ambitious than even average family in the home country.

And maybe many aboriginal white families believe that success/failure in life doesn't depend on 11+ and that these are not necessarily "good schools" so much as concentrated collections of "bright students"...

Sometimes I think concentrating on the selective schools is a lazy way to consider my son's secondary education...but that's another issue.

Anyway, important thing is your child as an individual, not the ethnic group. If they are good at entrance exams, then they will pass.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:56 am 
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Indeed very valid observations, Golgo13.

'Full set of four' made me chuckle.

I am also surprized by some friends who would consider Tiffins, but would not even attempt at the two Sutton grammars, which are on direct bus route from Kingston/Malden area. :roll:


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