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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:42 am 
Does anybody know if teachers who administer the NFER 11+ VR familiarisation and practice tests, along with the actual exam, are required to undergo any sort of training? (For those new to this the 'familiarisation' tests are the part where they teach the children how to do the questions, and the 'practice' tests are the 3x 50-minute 80-question tests done under exam conditions, to prepare the children for the real thing)
(I'm in Bucks.)

Two issues give rise to this:

1. During the familiarisation tests, the children in my child's class were taught a method for doing the C questions which proved very slow. (I timed the two methods with my child, both of which were practised for some time, and the teacher's method was much slower.) One child challenged the method, and was told that when under pressure, he would struggle with his method. The teacher was not open to suggestions, and only 'their' method was 'right'.

2. During the practice tests, the teacher failed to follow the instructions for administering the tests set out in the NFER handbook. The teacher did not read out instructions verbatim (as directed in the handbook), and did not write up the exam timings in the manner directed. The teacher began the test with a random selection of phrases, including 'Go'. My child found this very off-putting. I know of one other child who commented to her mother that she didn't realise the test had started. A second teacher administering tests to another class did follow the instructions.

Incidentally, the response from the school to my complaint about point 2 was aggressive. Perhaps they knew they were wrong?

In addition, I was alarmed by this post from bucksmum:
bucksmum wrote:

My son will be doing his 11+ this year and he attends a primary school in Bucks. Recently the school tested his year group with 11+ practice papers (VR, NVR and Maths) published by NFER. After the tests the parents were informed of the results and we had the opportunity to meet his teacher and discuss the performance. At the meeting we had the opportunity to go through his papers - We were told that even though he was tested on all three areas only VR will be applicable to 11+ in Bucks (Which was my understanding as well).

However, my concern is the VR paper format - I was under the impression that Bucks VR paper would be in a multiple choce format where the children have to mark their answers in an answer sheet. The test paper we were shown was a green colour paper published by NFER and it was in standard format with 75 questions. As the teacher assured me that this would be the format for the exam paper in September I am a bit confused.

Can someone enlighten me on this please!!!!

Is there no training for these teachers?

Failure to teach adequate technique, and failure to administer the tests correctly, could put some children at a severe disadvantage.

Any thoughts or similar experiences out there?[/code][/i]

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:30 am 
Well Bucks may be different, but here in Kent the familiarisation tests are just that; they are designed to give kids some idea of what to expect. They are not coaching sessions! No-one tells the children how to answer questions. At our school they are not even marked as it could damage a child's confidence to do badly so close to the tests.

For the "real thing" schools are paired up by KCC so that teachers from each school invigilate at their partner school. The teacher taking the practice will therefore not be the one present at the actual tests.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:22 pm 
The teachers must give some indication of how to set about answering the questions, surely? Otherwise you would simply be giving the children the familiarisation sheets, and leaving them to get on with it. But perhaps that would be safer....!

I guess the county is significant here, because preparation should be consistent across the cohort.

Joe 90

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm
Posts: 960
I don't kow whether this applies in all 11+ LEAs, but here in Kent, schools are specifically forbidden to do any 11+ preparation except to set the the familiarization tests shortly before the actual tests. Many schools do provice preparation - in the case of one of our local primaries, 4 hours a week from the September they enter year 6, but they are not supposed to. Our school did no preparation at all - one set of practice papers the day before the real thing, that's all.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 14003
Hi Joe90,

All Headteachers in Bucks [and associated schools] get this guidance booklet -

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/schools/leade ... anuals.asp

Hope this helps - you may wish to look at the post by drummer on how many reached qualifying from your child's primary school.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:13 pm
Posts: 128
Like Kent, Bexley schools are not allowed to 'coach' the children. The LEA provide a couple of familiarisation papers a couple of weeks before the tests.These are gone through in class with the teacher doing little more than reading the instuctions and then talking through the practice question where appropiate.

I think whatever sytem each area operates is fine as long as it is done consistently, which was not the case in your child's school.

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