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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:43 pm 
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Just wanted to pick brains on whether it was sensible to use CAT scores in Y4 as a suitable guide as to suitability for selective and super selective schools?

For example a score of 110 or so in Y4 is unlikely to change much in 2 years and would suggest a child might not thrive in a grammar?

A score of 120 and above might suggest, if attainment etc were up to par, that a child should attempt 11 plus exams and might be in with a chance of a super selective school?

Of course these scores should only be used as one tool to judge but how much attention should be paid and how much of an indication are they of raw unalterable IQ/potential for an academic school?

Thank you


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:29 am 
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They can only be used in conjunction with performance at school, teacher assessment, attitude to learning and your own knowledge of the child. Also depending on the county you live in the breakdown is important between the tests, particularly vr.

My youngest achieved well over 120 last year, but his academic ability and attitude to learning are not up to gs imo, and he does not want to go either, he does however want to get a "not embarrassing" mark in his 11+ (we are opt out) which I think suggests the reason behind his great cat result, he pulled out the stops and used his gentle little brain when it mattered to him. (+ his love of nvr puzxles)

Also in year four the children rarely finish the test, so check and see what the raw scores are, our teachers believe the percentage correct from the number completed is quite important at the age of 8. They can get in a pickle, as they are rarely speed tested up to that point in school, and therefore do not complete sections, but they nearly all finish by year 5.

Also the confidence levels are quite big, rightly so, as my ds1 got full marks in one, great marks in another and awful in a third, he simply got wound up in tests sometimes, but managed to stay collected for his 11+.

Hope this helps, search under cat in the forum for your area too.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:10 am 
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Cranleigh wrote:
Just wanted to pick brains on whether it was sensible to use CAT scores in Y4 as a suitable guide as to suitability for selective and super selective schools?
A single set of CAT results should be treated with a degree of caution.

Often discussed on the forum, for example:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=17357&p=207889&hilit=CATs#p207889

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:57 am 
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I should think that the test publishers will put a considerable amount of information into their various technical briefings about the test to warn schools not to use the results in such a hard and fast way.

Unfortunately some schools do just grab hold of one result and view it in a particular way with potentially life changing consequences. It must be useful to have a very high cat score to wave around at appeal, and it must be helpful if a child is identified early enough through cat testing as not achieving highly enough. But in general, one test on one day is not reliable enough on its own for decision making in terms of what to aim at with a child nor how they will do in a different test.

If you have some cat results and school is using them in a very particular way, get the full test names and test versions and the complete result and search the test publisher website as much as you can for info on interpreting the results.

Also take into account whether your child was well and motivated on the day or not, and if they had distractions of some sort. All this will affect the final result. Did your school do them in earlier years too? Will they do them again?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:00 am 
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My personal experience of this leads me to say- treat with caution. I don't want to give personal details but have enough evidence to suggest they are not all they are cracked up to be. Many more factors at play than what these numbers say.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:07 am 
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CATs come with confidence intervals. That's all you need to know really! :)

As an example:
VR 116, 90% chance true score in the range 109-121
Q 113, 90% chance true score in the range 105-118
NVR 102, 90% chance true score in the range 96-107

If you haven't been given a printout showing what the confidence intervals were, try asking the school. They ought to have this information accompanying your child's results.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:43 am 
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Thanks so much.

As ours a state primary - which unusually (?) does CATS/NFER on Y4 - our children are not aware they were tested so goodness knows how they manage it!

Anyway, tutors use it as a benchmarking tool to see if a child might be suitable for a selective school. Students are not prepared at all so playing field level. Not the only criteria & certainly not in isolation - they'll look at current attainment in school.

DC should be around a 5c at end of Y5 all being well. V young in year. (I am told CATS take age into account). Apart from grammars etc we might try for a very selective independent that has a new pre-test. The advice is from the school not to try to prepare.

I have been advised to have a shot at pre-test - if we decide school is in the running - but only if CATS score reassuringly high?

Any advice? Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:28 am 
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Where do you test your dc? Etienne - how did you get the scores ? Any websites would be very helpful. Thx


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:55 am 
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Cranleigh wrote:
Thanks so much.

As ours a state primary - which unusually (?) does CATS/NFER on Y4 - our children are not aware they were tested so goodness knows how they manage it!

Anyway, tutors use it as a benchmarking tool to see if a child might be suitable for a selective school. Students are not prepared at all so playing field level. Not the only criteria & certainly not in isolation - they'll look at current attainment in school.

DC should be around a 5c at end of Y5 all being well. V young in year. (I am told CATS take age into account). Apart from grammars etc we might try for a very selective independent that has a new pre-test. The advice is from the school not to try to prepare.

I have been advised to have a shot at pre-test - if we decide school is in the running - but only if CATS score reassuringly high?

Any advice? Thanks


Really it depends how much you like the indie, how much they intend to charge for sitting the pre test...ie, it won't hurt to try if it is a reasonable fee, and how comfy your son is doing extra tests.

Is he in year 5, and has he done his year 4 cats and sats?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:57 am 
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Don't all schools tell you not to prepare if asked?

If you like the school I'd just give it a go and have a range of other easier to get into back-ups too.

Yes the confidence intervals are important - but this is assuming everything was ideal and "standard conditions" on the day.

I can't help thinking that this idea of giving children tests when they are not aware they are sitting them can backfire on those children who would have cranked themselves up a bit for something where they knew the idea was to do their very best.


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