SUMMARY OF KEY DATES
- 8 September 2016 - Deadline for Registration for 11+ with school of choice
- 16 September - 11+ Examination: CEM Paper 1, CEM Paper 2 and English Writing
- 20 September - Open Evening 6 - 8.30 pm
- 26 & 27 September - Open Mornings 9 - 10.30 am (by appointment)
- 2 October - Mop-up day for absent 11+ students (pre-arranged with the college)
- 5 & 6 October - Open Mornings 9 - 10.30 am (by appointment)
- 10 October - Last date to submit Special Consideration requests
- 18 October - Guidance Letters distributed
- 31 October - Deadline for Submission of Common Application Form to LA
- 1 March 2018 - National Allocation Day
- 1 April 2018 - Date by which to submit an appeal to LA
STRUCTURE OF THE TESTS AND SOME EXAMINATION TECHNIQUE ADVICE
There is a major change to the 11+ Examinations this year.
The introduction of the CEM papers has provided us with much greater statistical information on each candidate’s performance – we receive separate scores for the various components of the tests.
We realised very quickly that there was a very high correlation between the scores achieved by candidates in the Mathematics section of the CEM papers and the performance of candidates in the separate Mathematics paper. We have therefore deemed it unnecessary to subject our students to a domestic paper when CEM scores are providing the same information.
There is also a standard Comprehension question in the CEM papers in exactly the same style we had been setting in our own English examination, making this aspect of the 11+ redundant as well.
The only aspect of the 11+ that CEM papers do not test is English Writing so this has been retained. It seems unreasonable to ask students to return for a second week to do the English Writing so this has been added to the same day as the CEM tests.
We are aware this increases the length of the day but the Writing Task will only last 20 minutes and there will be a break before doing the examination.
Very creative writers might be frustrated that they don’t have time to display the full range of their skills, but we are confident that they will be able to write enough to demonstrate to us that they are fluent and accurate in their writing, and therefore able to access our selective stream curriculum.
These are papers produced by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at the University of Durham.
They were successfully used for the first time in September 2015 and test a wider range of skills than the GL Assessment Verbal Reasoning papers that we have used previously.
There will be two CEM papers and they will assess verbal ability (comprehension, vocabulary and verbal reasoning) numerical reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.
Unlike GL Assessment, CEM do not make practice papers available commercially – the rationale for this is that the test outcomes will be more likely to reflect natural ability and the capacity to work independently, than the impact of private tutoring.
Having said that they have made available a familiarisation booklet which will give students a feel for the appearance of the tests, the range of disciplines tested and the answer formats used. This is available on our Open Evenings.
Because the papers are scanned and analysed by the provider we need to ensure that the results are received in good time to issue our guidance letter and with this in mind we have programmed the two CEM papers to be taken on one day.
Another advantage for the school is that the instructions to students and timings are available on a CD played in each examination room so that we can be certain they will receive the same instructions and each room will have independent and equal time allocation.
The scores will be handled in the same way except that our ranking of students on this test will be by combined score rather than the better of the two – each paper tests different skills and therefore scores have to be added together and cannot be averaged.
There is a choice of writing topics – the candidates choose 1 from 3 questions – so should find something to which they can relate.
We feel the need to preach caution against coming to the examination with a prepared text – what the student writes needs to be structured to answer the question that has been set. A brilliant piece of writing which is unrelated to the question will not receive very high marks.
The children won’t always have the option of writing a story – there are many types of writing – to persuade, inform, or report – so fictional writing is only one of the options that can be examined in the writing paper.
Standard of questions
All the tests have been set to reflect what has been taught in the primary schools according to the National Curriculum for Year 5. Students are not expected to have done any additional material for their 11+ examinations other than familiarise themselves with the style of questions in the CEM papers using the information supplied.
There may be one or two questions that the students find more challenging. This is to extend the brighter children and for the school to discover the budding geniuses amongst their candidates.