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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 3:59 pm 
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Location: Herts
St Paul's School for Girls has introduced a first round online CEM test using the standard format of English VR, Maths and NVR.

All applicants will have to complete this test online at the school in late November 2016.

Only those who do well will then be invited to attend the English and Maths papers on Monday 9th January 2017

CEM as a first round to get the numbers down; wonder where they got that idea from!

What splendid news this is for all those CEM mock providers and publishers of CEM material and CEM tutors! (government approved exclamation mark)

Only a matter of time before other private schools follow suit in order to reduce the enormous cost of admissions and to stop the huge waste of time of having to mark hundreds of English and Maths papers which are nowhere near the standard.

I hope St Pauls have secured themselves a watertight contract to prevent CEM from selling the same online test to other schools as they have done with the DAO and SW Herts English CEM this year.

This is bad news for state school pupils who are currently way ahead in the CEM game as prep schools have so far ignored CEM. Most prep school parents I meet have never heard of CEM, even though HBS is the first choice school for a good number of them.

Prep schools will now have to get CEM on the radar or else they will face many of their students not even making it to the English and Maths round.

City and St Pauls have tried online testing before in 2010 but then it was quietly abandoned.

But now St Pauls have clearly decided this is the way forward. They are not even going to bother with the school reference until they have the outcome of these tests. This will also save them a lot of time and money.

I assume others schools will wait and watch and see how this goes and then we may see more schools go the same way in November 2017.

This will mean prep schools will have to move their preparation forward to be ready for November.

Candidates who have already been preparing for any other CEM such as HBS will be delighted. They will have a key advantage. Will prep feeder schools to St Pauls now be encouraging their candidates to participate in CEM super Saturday? Who will be the first organisation to get online CEM like ( not allowed to call it CEM) testing out in the marketplace?

I wonder if anyone who has prepared well for a full CEM test would actually fail a short online test? DG


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 7:28 pm 
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Independent boys and co-ed schools have been using CEM for a while, mainly as part of the pretest for 13+, but increasingly at 11+ for co-eds. The computerised version is used where the questions vary in difficulty depending on your previous answers, so a different technique from the paper versions, and potentially each pupil sitting a different set of questions.

Ds sat CEM for his independent school 2 years ago, though admittedly everyone sat it, it didn't cut the numbers down. I think Eton were involved with CEM around 10 years ago?


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 7:30 pm 
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The online CEM has been used for late testing in Bucks for several years too.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 9:32 pm 
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I thought CEM insisted late testing had to be done with the same paper. DG


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 9:49 pm 
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http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/education/sch ... dure-2016/

See details here - not all schools use it.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 11:01 pm 
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Location: RBK
Quote:
St Paul's School for Girls has introduced a first round online CEM test using the standard format of English VR, Maths and NVR.

All applicants will have to complete this test online at the school in late November 2016.

Only those who do well will then be invited to attend the English and Maths papers on Monday 9th January 2017

CEM as a first round to get the numbers down; wonder where they got that idea from!


SPGS had online test even in 2012.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 6:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:20 pm
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tiffinboys wrote:
Quote:
St Paul's School for Girls has introduced a first round online CEM test using the standard format of English VR, Maths and NVR.

All applicants will have to complete this test online at the school in late November 2016.

Only those who do well will then be invited to attend the English and Maths papers on Monday 9th January 2017

CEM as a first round to get the numbers down; wonder where they got that idea from!


SPGS had online test even in 2012.

My DD took a CEM computer test at SPGS in 2014 so it is not new. She said that the SPGS computer test was less intense in terms of time pressure and vocabulary used (vs HBS paper-based CEM first round exam).

The CEM computer test used by SPGS (or a version of it) is certainly used by other schools because SPGS stated that "This test should only be taken once. If candidates sit this for entry to another school first, we may take into account the data produced from their first attempt as the resulting data may be shared."

We treated the HBS first round exam and SPGS computer test as completely separate due to their differing (though overlapping) subject coverage and format ("adaptive" computer vs uniform paper-based). For the former, we bought some CEM-based materials (eg Bond CEM exam pack) and, for the latter, we tried to give DD mouse-clicking practice (see, for example, http://www.schoolsofkingedwardvi.co.uk/ ... tion-exam/) in addition to our generalist preparation in the different subject areas.

Looking back, the HBS first round was helpful in reducing exam anxiety for DD because all of the subsequent 11+ exams were less time-pressured (but the contents of a couple of the indies were more challenging).


Last edited by LostInTheShuffle on Tue May 24, 2016 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 7:20 am 
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Location: Herts
Thank you for this detailed feedback.

When SPGS first started online testing in 2009 they shared a test with City and you could choose which location to take it.

Your comments seem to indicate that perhaps there is only one online version of the CEM test so if lots of schools started to use it you would only sit it once and results would be shared.

I am surprised that schools like Habs girls who are currently getting 600 applicants each year and growing would not use this to reduce the number of English and Maths papers they have to make.

Surely it would make huge sense for them to do this in the same way as DAO and HBS are using CEM to reduce the numbers they have to mark.

I don't think SPGS has so much of a numbers problem do they?

Do you know how many applied when your dd applied?

I am very interested to hear that she felt it was more straightforward.

DG


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 8:01 am 
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DG, I think that you are trying to compare the entrance process of state and independent too closely.

There has been an increasing trend for Girls independent schools to follow the boys in terming of pretesting. Wycombe Abbey, the closest boarding competitor to SPGS, has been using this form of pretest for a while, with girls having an assessment day including group tasks, online adaptive test and interview in November, then being given conditional offers depending on their results in the January written exams. Preps will have been used to preparing for the online adaptive CEM and GL for a number of years. The fact that parents are unaware of the name of the test author, doesn't mean that they are unaware of the existence of the pretests.

Finally, it is worth remembering that from the independent school perspective, pretesting was introduced not to reduce the number of papers to mark, but to provide more certainty to parents and to reduce the need for "back-up" applications. Whilst not unknown, it is usually fairly unlikely that a pupil gaining a conditional offer after a pretest would then fail to gain a place after the written exams - at most a boy wouls sit 2 schools, his preferred and one back-up. It would be interesting to see whether this is the message that is being given to the preps by SPGS. The chances are that HABS are not marking 600 English papers. At our local independent school with 700+ applying each year, VR is marked first, with those who pass getting their maths papers marked, and then finally English papers get marked for those who have scored highly enough in the other papers. The marking process isn't transparent to parents, and of course is only one factor in making an offer, the others being the reference, the interview and what else the school knows about you.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 8:23 am 
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I don't see the big difference in the North London marketplace currently between private schools and state grammars. Perhaps the difference is greater in your area but CEM is the big difference currently. The English and Maths papers are the same format though the private English papers are more straightforward.

Yes the privates have the ability to interview but they are only going to interview the students who do well in the English and Maths papers. VR has been abandoned by all the girls schools.

The advent of Cem at DAO, HBS, Latymer and SW Herts has made a difference because students from prep schools don't know anything about it. This has led to an increase in parents from prep schools using external tutoring.

There are many parents who invest in prep schools in order to get into a state grammar but those who continue to believe that the prep school can get them into a state grammar end up disappointed. Not a single girl at Habs prep got a place at a state grammar this year although plenty applied.

There are currently no North London private schools using any type of online testing.

If some of the heavily oversubscribed ones do move to CEM online testing it will have quite an impact. It will reduce the amount of schools students currently sit which has increased for the girls with City, ST Albans and NLCS coming out of the consortium.

It will also mean that the prep schools will have to pony up in CEM which will then mean that prep students will be in a better position to get through the first round CEM testing at the state grammars.

SPGS state that they are not even going to ask for the school reference until the student has passed the CEM online testing.

Under those circumstances I would imagine the feeder preps will be very focused on CEM at this point. DG


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