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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:46 pm 
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I'm not trying to flame, but I just wondered if anybody had come across any research - rather than gut instinct, anecdotal evidence, etc - which showed that tutoring children for entrance exams at Year 6 actually raised their chances of success at all? I've had a quick look around the interwebs but can't immediately find any.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:49 pm 
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Strange post. I mean isn't the answer obvious? Would you enter a marathon without some training?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:24 am 
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Does tutoring do any good? Depends what you mean by 'good' in terms of getting your child in to a grammar school. Yes, of course it does in that it's perfectly possible to tutor a child like a trained monkey to 'pass' exams in stuff like 'Non verbal reasoning.' The problem comes later on when said child can't construct a coherent sentence, or finds s/he has to get at least a B in English order to stay on at school. Heigh ho, time for a tutor again...


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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There was some research carried out a few years ago which showed a 5% gain after 4 (I think) one hour sessions in VR. After that the advantage was not increased.

And on the other hand, the previous Government funded one to one tutoring in schools for children not meeting their NC expectations and research on that showed it to be the most effective intervention yet.

I work one to one with students (in the state sector) and after ten sessions they go up on average one GCSE grade. Some do not go up, and some go up by more. So far none has gone down so I am still in a job!

Make of that what you will.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:59 am 
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It depends what you mean my tutoring. A child surely need to learn and practice the material he will be tested in 11 plus exam.
You can hire paid help(i.e. tutor) or you can coach your child yourself at home if you have time and confidence to do that.
In my experience, a child does need extra tuition/coaching for verbal reasoning and English/Maths(for super selective independent schools) as primary school may not cover some of material by the time tests are taken.
Non verbal reasoning is a different story all together. This test has been designed to test spatial ability of a child regardless of language skills. Experienced parents who have coached their children for NVR can tell you that you can only increase the scores of your child in NVR by small % after extreme practice. So in my opinion, a very able child will do well in that anyways and no.. it is not a monkey’s business. It is the only test that gives equal opportunity to able children who are not tutored and who do not have an English speaking background.
In short, yes, extra coaching and tutoring does help and it gives your child an extra edge. Plus it is not just the material that counts, it is the time keeping and exam taking skills that are important and can result into pass/failure in two equally bright children. But some parents are taking tutoring and practicing to extreme and I think that then it becomes counterproductive.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:12 am 
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I'm not so sure about the value in English or Maths but it is very clear that there is a huge advantage in VR and VNR, These tests are simply about practice and technique and timing....the more practice you do and the better your techniques, the faster and more accurate you become, hence you get a better score. In VR, it's all about vocabulary, if you don't know it, then you're going to struggle.

There are always stories about someone getting in with only seeing a VR test for the first time once before, and I take my hat off to them, but for most children those with the most tuition (and whether that is from the school of mum and dad, or the local tuition centre at exorbitant cost doesn't really matter) will get the best scores.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:04 am 
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I think in order to be in competition with other children who ARE having tutoring for the 11+ - unless your child is highly highly intelligent and could sit a paper without any practise and do well - then tutoring is a definite must. Right or wrong - this is the way of the world of 11+ at this current time!!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:42 am 
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I think it can definitely help a child pass, although I'm not sure it is always a good thing. I did have a discussion with one of the mums at school after her child passed. She told me her child had always been middle set for everything, but they called on the services of a tutor and they managed to pass the 11+ and secure a GS place . I do worry that a child in that situation might struggle to keep up, but she was confident they would be ok.
We had the opposite - my son was not properly prepared and narrowly failed one and passed another, fortunately he has still got a GS place. With hindsight I would do more home tutoring/ training to prepare them for the test, but we had some pretty extreme extenuating circumstances in the 2 years leading to the test and focussed rather late. And it didn't help the school were incorrectly grading my child. I don't think I would call on a tutor to push my child up through considerable grades, I'd be worried it might backfire in the future. :?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:50 am 
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For us, tutoring was vital for familiarisation with the manifold VR & NVR types, so that valuable exam time wasn't spent looking at examples and trying to fathom out quickly and accurately what was expected, and then possibly being tripped up by the next set of questions that might ask for the opposite. Some might say that this speed of thought, ability to change direction, follow instructions etc weeds out the very best candidates. We would say that a bit of practise and familiarisation added to our DD's already high ability to answer questions correctly, but to do so in the numbers required, in the time given on the day. She was only just 10.5 when she sat the test! She was not over-tutored or tutored for year and years - if I'd thought this was necessary I would never have considered entering her. Tutoring didn't make her more clever, just more able to do these tests. She got her place at Tiffin Girls. Job done.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:40 am
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From personal experience, I think that tutoring/preparation (whether external or internal) makes a big difference, even to NVR. You only need to read this forum to see that some parents spend years making sure their child knows all the question types that might come up. Even with NVR there are certain things that you're looking for - reflection, rotation, number of lines/spikes/dots...With the number of applicants for the superselectives, I reckon it's more about speed and technique than anything else, which could be worth more than a few percentage points.


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