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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:44 pm 
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Mike wrote:
Hi Patricia

I will always argue that you place too much emphasis on the vocabulary content of the tests.
?
Mike


Vocab IS the MOST important. There is NO grey area. It is black and white.

Children will rote learn codes, maths , where does the letter come from etc.

If you do not know the meaning of a word, out of context, you will not be able to answer the question with certainty. It will be an educated guess, not a 100% absolute answer...

WIth regard to the second test, read my post again, there is and advantage, but you CANNOT teach to pass the second test only. I [and anyone else] would be an absolute fool to do so.

The website that published the types on the first test were ridiculed for giving ALL entrants taking their test at a later date [ in the main from out of county and independent schools ] an unfair advantage. They were telling them what to teach for the FIRST test AND the SECOND test....slightly different scenario.

Patricia


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:50 pm 
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Forgot to add:

How easy would my job be without the out of context vocabulary...

The children would be scoring 100% all the time turning the 11 plus into a farce. :wink:

Patricia


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:46 pm 
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Hi Patricia

Its more a question of balance and giving equal emphasis to Vocab, Maths and Coding.

I do not think types A and J require a high level of vocabulary. In fact from the sense of understanding the meaning of a word type A and J are not vocabulary questions they are word recognition questions and some of the M type questions are anagrams, homophones, etc

Within types B D F H Q M S there is a range within the question variance that allows for easier low level vocabulary that should not be outside the range of an above average ability student.

It would be difficult even with out of context vocabulary missing from the tests that sudents would attain 100% scores all of the time because of the complexity of the Maths and Coding questions.

Regards

Mike

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:32 pm 
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Dear Mike

Mike wrote:

Its more a question of balance and giving equal emphasis to Vocab, Maths and Coding. Mike


The balance is weighted towards vocabulary/spelling

Mike wrote:
I do not think types A and J require a high level of vocabulary. In fact from the sense of understanding the meaning of a word type A and J are not vocabulary questions they are word recognition questions


Word recognition, do not need to the the meaning BUT they have to recognise that the word is a word. ? fob ? cog ? lop? [ask a 9/10 year old] Spelling is a major factor too.

Mike wrote:
and some of the M type questions are anagrams, homophones, etc


and some [the majority] are same meaning, opposite meaning and relationships

Mike wrote:
Within types B D F H Q M S there is a range within the question variance that allows for easier low level vocabulary that should not be outside the range of an above average ability student.


The first 2/3 of a section of 7/8 are standard level followed by increasing difficulty. You would expect to see about 4 of these types on each paper plus an A or J.[or both] Get 1 or 2 of each wrong and the child has 'failed'

Mike wrote:
It would be difficult even with out of context vocabulary missing from the tests that sudents would attain 100% scores all of the time because of the complexity of the Maths and Coding questions.


I totally expect my students to get 100% marks in these areas. There is no reason to get them wrong, all the information is present for them. The complexities are rote learned.

Vocabulary IS and always WILL be the biggest problem with Bucks 11 plus. If the child does not know the meaning or recognise the word they are stumped. Codes sorted, Maths sorted. Where does the letter come from sorted. Zs sorted. Others, non vocab sorted.

What does Wretched mean? What does Industrious mean? What does Economical mean? Ask a 9/10 year old to explain, without any clue, just say.... What does Indolent mean?

Patricia [member of : Society for the Prevention of Flogging the Dead Horse :wink: ]


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:53 pm 
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Location: East Kent
because of our high concentration of grammar schools in East kent we do not have the intense pressure, BUT I too believe that vocabulary is key. a child need s tohave a good vocabulary to know whether or not a question makes sense. i always give my pupils a book to write down unfamiliar words and we always have a dictionary on hand to look up words that crop up in questions.

A lot of my teaching involves building on vocabulary and mental maths skills.


in fact , aside from the 11+ the better a child's vocabulary the easier it is for them to build on their learning .


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:31 pm 
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Hi

In either of the Bucks tests the students can get 11 questions wrong and still pass the test.

If there is an equal distribution of Vocab, Maths and Coding and students are expected to get 100% in the Maths and Coding questions then all the errors occur in the Vocab questions. Surely, if greater emphasis is given to tutoring Vocab then the expectations would be that there would be less errors.

In my experience there is a reasonably equal distribution of error across all three areas, and particularly at the highest difficulty level for Maths and Coding when more complex and obscure questions occur, such as double functions and reverse mirror image.

When we were asked to write the Vocab Builder CD it was suggested that we use between 8-10,000 individual words. When we got past 3000 we found it difficult not to duplicate words. The NFER word list in the free download section contains around 750 individual words and it is unlikely that students would require a vocabulary containing more than 1500 words to complete NFER tests.

Within the Vocab multiple-choice questions students are given the answer to choose from. By a process of elimination [reasoning] students can work towards the correct answer without needing to know what the absolute correct definition of a word is.

Authors create ambiguity within questions to lead students away from the correct answer and this is were the difficulty actually lies, not in the language acquisition of the student.

For example FAT and HER makes FATHER, the change of intonation with the T and H is were the difficulty lies not in knowing the words FAT, HER or FATHER.

The Tutors, IPS, AE Tuition and Susan Daughtery, who write method and technique courses for verbal reasoning, all use elimination techniques for multiple-choice questions. Most also recommend that students do have a dictionary available to check for meaning of words. None of the authors suggest that greater emphasis should be given to the Vocab questions.

Regards

Mike

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:58 pm 
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... fewer errors ... :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:04 pm 
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Dear Mike

My reply to your statements in blue

In either of the Bucks tests the students can get 11 questions wrong and still pass the test.

11 incorrect very approximate, more likely 8 incorrect.


If there is an equal distribution of Vocab, Maths and Coding and students are expected to get 100% in the Maths and Coding questions then all the errors occur in the Vocab questions. Surely, if greater emphasis is given to tutoring Vocab then the expectations would be that there would be less errors.

There is NOT equal distribution [see post above] each paper 2 codes, 2 maths 1 where does the letter come from and Z s. The rest. Yes Vocab and Spelling. Very approximate thats: 50% vocab/spelling 50% others


In my experience there is a reasonably equal distribution of error across all three areas, and particularly at the highest difficulty level for Maths and Coding when more complex and obscure questions occur, such as double functions and reverse mirror image.

A good tutor/parent teaches the complexities. 100% expectation. In my experience The absolute MAJORITY of errors occur in the vocab sections, extremely small a/m in codes and maths [always silly mistakes ]


Within the Vocab multiple-choice questions students are given the answer to choose from. By a process of elimination [reasoning] students can work towards the correct answer without needing to know what the absolute correct definition of a word is.

An attempt can be made to eliminate. BUT how can you eleimate if you DO NOT KNOW THE MEANING. A good example from B.Sparks. HIDE REVEAL DIVULGE CONCEAL SHOW. Most children can eliminate HIDE and CONCEAl [same] REVEAL and SHOW.[same] They are then left with DIVULGE oh dear, child does not know the answer, which pair to put it with? 50% wrong/right.

Authors create ambiguity within questions to lead students away from the correct answer and this is were the difficulty actually lies, not in the language acquisition of the student.

But of course the child STILL needs to know the meaning of the other words to gain the correct answer [for B D H M S ]

For example FAT and HER makes FATHER, the change of intonation with the T and H is were the difficulty lies not in knowing the words FAT, HER or FATHER.

Yes, but can not gaurantee 100%, some words go together to make a word the child does not even recognise as a word in the first place. Recently 5 of my students had not heard of the word RAMPART [RAMP and ART] I have a personal list of over 200 tricky compounds with questions on each. I am such a lovely tutotr that I include loads of false compounds. :wink:

None of the authors suggest that greater emphasis should be given to the Vocab questions.

I cannot be held accountable for authors who [if that is truly the case] choose to ignore the fact that if the child does not know the meaning of words [out of context] then that child will get it wrong. However they will get the codes and maths correct [or should because all relevant info is there.]


Patricia


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:22 am 
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Hi

I understand from your previous postings that the pass mark for Bucks is around 86%. The tests consist of 80 questions and I make 86% of 80, 68.8 giving a possible error of 11.2 questions, not 8.

Also, you identify 9 out of 21 questions that are vocab based, and I do not agree with 2 of them, either way this is less than 50% of the question types.

Perhaps this emphasises the importance of Mathematics!!!

We have never worked to a 100% pass mark, we teach the students what they need to know to pass the tests. We have always felt it is important to let students know that they can get some questions wrong, and not to worry about it.

It would be more revealing if you had used the full question set from BS rather than to pick just one example at the higher end of the range. The NFER example EAR NEST is just as difficult, but the rest of the questions in the set are reasonably easy.

Authors tend not to choose to ignore the importance of vocabulary, we certainly do not, we choose to work equally through all the 21 question types ensuring that students have the skills to answer enough questions to gain a pass mark.
We write questions out of context with a full question variance and, at the higher difficulty levels, with more complex ambiguity. We also spend a lot of time analysing the content of available material to ensure that our questions contain a level of vocabulary similar to the real tests and in some cases higher.

Students cannot pass the test by only focussing on Vocabulary. Where students need to know the meaning of a larger range of words (B D H M S) they can acquire the vocabulary by completing a full range of verbal reasoning papers. In the same way they can learn all the variances within all the other question types.

Regards

Mike

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Mike Edwards is a co-author of The Tutors product range.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:30 am 
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Hi

Concisely, students need a reasonable vocabulary to pass the tests. They do not need to be "walking dictionaries".

Regards

Mike

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