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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:03 pm 
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Hi all,
Does anybody know what the format will be for those taking the test in 2016?
Where do we go to find out?
CEM had a contract for 3 years starting in 2013, which means that this Sept it would be the last year unless they have renewed the contract.
Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:23 am 
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Did it have an option for renewal?

I wonder why bexley would want parents to know so much later some years than others if it was c e m or not. N the second and third year of the contract there was no delay for parents in knowing it was cem.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:22 am 
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It was a 3 year contract with an option of renewal for a further 2 years.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:13 am 
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You could FOI them to ask if they have decided to renew with CEM or go out to tender and if so, what the tender timetable is so far --- or
something along those lines?

Do you think that the Kent type GL assessment test we had last year ( and will have again in some shape or form this year) is very different from the CEM test? Our maths timings were much faster and the newly included English seemed as though it needed to be faster or harder this year. It's two papers of around an hour in total once instructions and practice examples are done too --- so it does seem as though GL and Kent were trying to reproduce something CEM-ish. All the verbal reasoning questions sounded as though they were GL types from the GL practice questions but then, are there any types which are really completely different from those that CEM have dreamed up apart from jumbled sentences --- and couldn't GL put those in if they chose to if they thought they were good tests of something or other?

I know that people say you can practice Gl questions types until you are falsely good at them but I'm not that convinced - if the questions are novel, not recycled from the shop papers, and the difficulty level is high and the timing is tough it's going to be a "surprising" test ------- and from reading about CEM that's all they seem to have done - taken some very basic question formats e.g. synonyms, antonyms, shuffled sentecnes, Cloze, comprehension passages and upped the speed and the difficulty to scare the candidates and the parents and impress the Bucks school heads and hey presto, they have a national bestseller rather than something that as just confined once upon a time to the tougher selectives.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:54 pm 
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My eldest did both CEM and Kent in 2013. He came out from the CEM test saying he thought he had definitely failed. He didn't, in fact he had a very decent score. However, he didn't have the comparable score he had for Kent. When it came to raw scores, I was very surprised that his CEM ones were much lower, including NVR for which he had full marks for Kent and 88% raw score. What was awful was the speed not the content. I think we worked out that the average amount of time per question was 27 seconds and some of them went from A to F! I think I couldn't read the questions and ten options in 27 seconds, let alone work out the answer!
I know that the GL Kent was much tighter with timings for 2014, however I didn't hear the horror stories after the first Bexley CEM. Neither did I hear them for the next Bexley CEM. Maybe the 2014 Bexley tests was adjusted or parents already knew that speed was very important? We taught our son the subjects, but not to work at such speed.
My point being is that it takes a different type of resilience to do a CEM test. The child has to be absolutely focused and almost "feel" the question, not work it out. If you get distracted that's it! I tried to prepare my son for this as I had read on the forum about children being very distressed in other regions.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:56 pm 
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We did both last year and we worked at speed for maths. Slightly lower level questions for maths but do them fast.

In the Kent test DD had enough time left to check her answers in the maths paper well within the time allowed. However in the Bexley test she only just managed to finish the paper.

She did well in both tests but scored a lot higher in the Kent test, despite the circumstances in which the test was held for OCC.

Having said that I think the CEM test in Bexley is a lot fairer than the previous GL Bexley test. A lot more DC from local state primaries are passing CEM than under the old system. Some GS catchment areas seem smaller now which is good for local DC.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:36 pm 
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MerlinFromCamelot wrote:
We did both last year and we worked at speed for maths. Slightly lower level questions for maths but do them fast.

In the Kent test DD had enough time left to check her answers in the maths paper well within the time allowed. However in the Bexley test she only just managed to finish the paper.

She did well in both tests but scored a lot higher in the Kent test, despite the circumstances in which the test was held for OCC.

Having said that I think the CEM test in Bexley is a lot fairer than the previous GL Bexley test. A lot more DC from local state primaries are passing CEM than under the old system. Some GS catchment areas seem smaller now which is good for local DC.


Do you think the 2014 test was easier than their first CEM in 2013? A lot of parents complained after the 2013 test.

Similarly, do you think that local children are not being tutored? (Whether this is done at home, prep school or any other mean of paid/unpaid tutoring)

If I remember correctly, the old GL test was Maths and verbal reasoning. Do you think this favoured OOC children?
I also remember that in 2013 some schools were just getting to measure their catchment distance directly. (As the crow flies)
Are there any statistics about the smaller catchment area you mentoon?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:38 pm 
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salsa wrote:
My eldest did both CEM and Kent in 2013. He came out from the CEM test saying he thought he had definitely failed. He didn't, in fact he had a very decent score. However, he didn't have the comparable score he had for Kent. When it came to raw scores, I was very surprised that his CEM ones were much lower, including NVR for which he had full marks for Kent and 88% raw score. What was awful was the speed not the content. I think we worked out that the average amount of time per question was 27 seconds and some of them went from A to F! I think I couldn't read the questions and ten options in 27 seconds, let alone work out the answer!
I know that the GL Kent was much tighter with timings for 2014, however I didn't hear the horror stories after the first Bexley CEM. Neither did I hear them for the next Bexley CEM. Maybe the 2014 Bexley tests was adjusted or parents already knew that speed was very important? We taught our son the subjects, but not to work at such speed.
My point being is that it takes a different type of resilience to do a CEM test. The child has to be absolutely focused and almost "feel" the question, not work it out. If you get distracted that's it! I tried to prepare my son for this as I had read on the forum about children being very distressed in other regions.


Yes, the bexley test you describe for 2013 sounded appallingly badly designed - whether this was cem or the purchaser gone mad we will never know. At the time I could not help thinking that kent was very wise awarding their 2014 contract to gl shortly after the bexley cem mess.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:00 am 
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salsa wrote:
MerlinFromCamelot wrote:
We did both last year and we worked at speed for maths. Slightly lower level questions for maths but do them fast.

In the Kent test DD had enough time left to check her answers in the maths paper well within the time allowed. However in the Bexley test she only just managed to finish the paper.

She did well in both tests but scored a lot higher in the Kent test, despite the circumstances in which the test was held for OCC.

Having said that I think the CEM test in Bexley is a lot fairer than the previous GL Bexley test. A lot more DC from local state primaries are passing CEM than under the old system. Some GS catchment areas seem smaller now which is good for local DC.


Do you think the 2014 test was easier than their first CEM in 2013? A lot of parents complained after the 2013 test.

Similarly, do you think that local children are not being tutored? (Whether this is done at home, prep school or any other mean of paid/unpaid tutoring)

If I remember correctly, the old GL test was Maths and verbal reasoning. Do you think this favoured OOC children?
I also remember that in 2013 some schools were just getting to measure their catchment distance directly. (As the crow flies)
Are there any statistics about the smaller catchment area you mentoon?



I don't know if 2014 was easier than 2013. In 2014 there were complaints about the speed of the maths test in particular and some about SEN arrangements. I don't think a year has gone past without complaints about one thing or another tbh.

I don't think the trend in terms of tutoring has changed much, however some elements of the CEM test do not require tutoring. We only practised maths and DD did just fine. Under the old system at our primary only about 15% passed ( if it was a good year) since the change it is around 50% that is both 2013 & 2014. I heard of other schools in the area getting similar results. I don't know if the fact that some primaries who have now converted to academy status are providing some tuition. I don't think the old test favoured OCC but I do believe it favoured the Indies because most have VR etc. in the curriculum.

Townley still measures in walking distance and has gone from all applicants offered places to around 2 miles. Also C&S seems a bit smaller. A number of people who expected to get in based on previous years did not get places this year. On a positive note I think this is good for local children.

Having done both systems here in Bexley I would choose CEM over GL any time. I don’t know what GL was like for Kent children last year but for OCC it was nothing short of a disaster imo. For us CEM was better than GL. It would be nice if there was a system everyone is happy with but it is not going to happen is it?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:46 pm 
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Interesting, however I can think of a few reasons why your school did better.

1. Parents may be tutoring but not admitting it.
2. The school may have improved in teaching children English and Maths.

About the GL test in Kent. You say that the conditions for out of catchment children were bad. How so?
My son did the 2013 test as an OOC child and he had to do 3 1/2 hours of tests in one day whereas local children would do the tests in two days. I believe this has changed? Everyone sits the test in one day?


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