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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:34 pm 
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Etienne wrote:
Is your son exceptionally good at Maths, and is there any other strong evidence for it? I'm just wondering if you could try and make a case that his sort of ability does not show up in an 11+ based solely on VR. I recall a case where a child had taken part in a Maths olympiad, and the panel accepted this argument!


I'm quoting Etienne here from another thread so as not to hijack on someone else's discussion...

Our son scored 118/119 on the Bucks VR tests, which was a big surprise to just about everyone, with him having been predicted to be a safe pass. We have no mitigating circumstances to quote and can only put his not passing down to a blip. His year 5 report scores were 5c, 5b, 5b and he is ranked 8th by his HT.

We have already submitted our appeal but obviously need to start working on our case for the panel.

Our son is very talented in Maths and ICT & was awarded a Silver at the Primary Maths Challenge. I was surprised to learn back at the beginning of this year that the Bucks tests are solely VR. Not that he shouldn't have passed based on this, but was unable to show his strengths in other areas. Would it be reasonable to focus some attention on this at the appeal hearing?

Another surprise to us was that this year his school has only a 16% pass rate, which I think is pretty poor. This is something of a tricky subject to bring up at appeal I think, but IMO it does bring up some questions about tutoring and preparation at the school in general. What puts it into context for us is the school a few miles down the road had a 58% pass rate... It does make you wonder what would have happened if we'd put our kids there.

Any advice from those more familiar with the intricacies of the appeal hearings would be appreciated....


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:54 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Justunder

When I saw your user name appear as the newest registered member I thought "bet that's coming my way"! :D

Strong maths is definitely a point worth raising, regardless of the effect on VR skills! However, I know from my own experience that children (especially boys) who are strong in Maths, Science and ICT tend to find VR more difficult than those who excel at English.

For my own son's appeal 2 years ago I did find some evidence on the internet that children who have dyscalculia (poor at maths) will tend to have higher VR skills than the average. Unfortunately it was a quick mention on a special needs website and did not really constitute solid proof of the issue.

Despite that, I think a panel will accept "strong maths = possible weakness in VR" as a secondary argument - "worth a mention", as Etienne would say. :D

Quote:
Our son scored 118/119 on the Bucks VR tests, which was a big surprise to just about everyone, with him having been predicted to be a safe pass. We have no mitigating circumstances to quote and can only put his not passing down to a blip. His year 5 report scores were 5c, 5b, 5b and he is ranked 8th by his HT.


Quote:
Another surprise to us was that this year his school has only a 16% pass rate, which I think is pretty poor.


Do you know what happened to the 7 children ranked above him? If they all passed and preferably a few below him passed as well, then it will help your case, as he will stand out as a "blip". You will receive a copy of the Order of Suitability with your appeal papers, so if you don't know the answer now, you soon will.

That is the context in which the school's poor pass rate will have to be examined. Otherwise, as you say, it is a tricky issue to raise.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:16 pm
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Thanks for the quick reply Sally-Anne

Sally-Anne wrote:
When I saw your user name appear as the newest registered member I thought "bet that's coming my way"! :D


Well there speaks the voice of experience! :)

Quote:
Strong maths is definitely a point worth raising, regardless of the effect on VR skills!


Well I don't think he has a great weakness in VR specifically, just that his Maths & Science abilities are stronger and are ignored/untested in Bucks...

Quote:
Do you know what happened to the 7 children ranked above him?


Unfortunately not at the moment. We get a copy of the OoS with our appeal documents when they are returned?

One other thing I did forget in my original post was our son's age. His birthday is early July and we believe he's the youngest in his year group. I know the scores are standardised for age to a degree, so should we stay away from this as a point in the appeal hearing?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Justunder

You are quite right that the results are standardised for age.

However, a late birthday is again "worth a mention", because it puts your child's academic achievements in context among his peer group.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:14 pm 
I'm not sure that children stronger in Maths are discriminated against in the Bucks 11+ exam. Although it's called "VR" it is actually not pure VR but contains a number of basic maths questions/patterns/codes/logic questions etc. Many children with a weakness in maths slow down considerably here and lose marks/time. So it's probably horses for courses.

Geoffrey


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Sorry Geoffrey - as a Maths teacher in a Bucks school I know that the VR is a very poor indicator of Maths ability. I have taught KS2 Maths level 3s at GS!!! Every year a few are very weak level 4s and struggle ....
My Upper School Maths teacher friends have the opposite issue with Maths level 5s - sometimes very high 5s at that!


I would prefer a mix of VR and NVR


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