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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:14 pm 
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Choccy74 wrote:
jearund wrote:
CAT test scores are useful evidence if you go to appeal but our primary doesn't do them either and I assumed it was just private schools that did - state schools aren't allowed to prepare them for the 11+ either as I understand it, their focus is entirely on SATs. Happy to be corrected on this though if anyone has any information to the contrary.


We're at a state primary, I assumed they all did CATs, lol. Other than having a meeting for parents to inform us about the process, the school have stated that they're not allowed to help with 11+ prep.


This was an eye-opener to me - and I see others have also said their state schools do CATS. I guess it must be down to individual head teachers to decide then. Ours doesn't even have a parents meeting to explain the grammar school process as far as I can remember, but they may have mentioned it in the context of the overall schools application process. Although it would have been a bit late by then!

Ironically, for a school that doesn't prepare the kids for the 11+, they had 8 grammar school passes out of 60 children in DD's year (2017 test)!

So are CATs basically 11+ tests (verbal reasoning, NVR, maths and comprehension) but just not timed?

Re putting kids under pressure, I completely agree with Kenyancowgirl and Octsmum but our comp options aren't good. One "Requires Improvement", one is massively oversubscribed and we are too far away, and one is very much aimed at the lower achieving children in the catchment area and I think does a great job with them - lots of vocational courses for example - but even the Ofted report says they don't push the brightest ones enough and DS is high-achieving. Hopefully the answer to this will simply be that he gets a grammar school place but I will be nervous until it's all over as I know that if something goes wrong on the day, you're stuffed (unless you can persuade the appeal board that there was a good reason). DS sat a mini practice exam at his centre the other day. We haven't had the results yet but from what he said, he sailed through the maths and comprehension, ran out of time on the VR (so that's points thrown away - we'll need to work on that!) and missed out a question on the NVR so accidentally put the rest of the answers in the wrong boxes. He realised his mistake and managed to change most of them but not all and doesn't know if he managed to completely rub out the wrong answers. I guess this is what the practice tests are for but if something like that happened on the day, it could be a deal breaker. I didn't tell him that, I just told him well done and that he had done exactly the right thing (no point making him stressed too!).

So for us I feel the stakes are high (and I'm aware that many others are in the same boat). We all just want what's best for our children. I was less worried with DD as she would probably have enjoyed the non-academic school and still done well but I just can't see DS there - he'd be bored without other bright kids to challenge him. Oh well, fingers crossed!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:50 pm 
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I may be wrong here but I was under the impression CAT tests are timed. When we got our results, the first thing the teacher said was that my child had managed to complete all the papers in the time given. It wouldn't make sense really for a child to have an indefinite amount of time to complete them otherwise some children would be there all day!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:51 pm
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jearund wrote:
Choccy74 wrote:
jearund wrote:
CAT test scores are useful evidence if you go to appeal but our primary doesn't do them either and I assumed it was just private schools that did - state schools aren't allowed to prepare them for the 11+ either as I understand it, their focus is entirely on SATs. Happy to be corrected on this though if anyone has any information to the contrary.


We're at a state primary, I assumed they all did CATs, lol. Other than having a meeting for parents to inform us about the process, the school have stated that they're not allowed to help with 11+ prep.


This was an eye-opener to me - and I see others have also said their state schools do CATS. I guess it must be down to individual head teachers to decide then. Ours doesn't even have a parents meeting to explain the grammar school process as far as I can remember, but they may have mentioned it in the context of the overall schools application process. Although it would have been a bit late by then!

Ironically, for a school that doesn't prepare the kids for the 11+, they had 8 grammar school passes out of 60 children in DD's year (2017 test)!

So are CATs basically 11+ tests (verbal reasoning, NVR, maths and comprehension) but just not timed?



We were told that it cost £1k for the school to get the CATs tests done by an external company, my DD thinks that the answer papers were the 'line in a box' type, which were then sent off and we got the results a few weeks later.

We had a parents meeting, back in November I think it was, about applying for secondary schools, and following that a presentation specifically on grammar schools. I found this really useful, being totally unaware of the grammar school process previously.

The CATs results were for Verbal, Quantative, Non-verbal and Spatial. It was timed, my DD remembers that it felt quite rushed, and the results have a column for 'No. of questions attempted'. What I personally found interesting was that it also gave their Group Ranking, i.e. where they ranked in their class, which we never normally know.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:16 am 
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Looks like some - possibly most? - CAT tests are timed, but not all, and they can be in different formats. Our eldest's class did it online and not all simultaneously, so it did not feel much like a test apparently. It did not have the type of subsections which seem to crop up regularly in the 11+ which require a pace of 3 (or more) answers per minute in order to complete the questions, interspersed with the sections which require longer (and slower) answers. Giving experience of this kind of time pressure was probably the most significant thing I did with my kids in preparation for the 11+ because it is so completely different from normal school tests, which most fairly able kids expect to finish with time to spare.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:38 am 
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Thanks everyone for the replies - crowd sourcing is proving invaluable here! So I'm curious as to why some schools choose to pay all that money for the CAT tests? Does it benefit the school in any way? At our school all the effort is put into the SATs in Year 6 because good results in those reflect well on the school - they don't use how many pass the 11+ as a measure and the only reason I even know the stats from DD's year is through DD herself.
Personally I think that as grammar schools are state funded and are a real option in Gloucestershire for brighter children, it's reasonable to provide some sort of preparation (and that CAT tests sound like the right thing, to get them used to those types of question and working under time pressures). But I think the rationale is they don't want to spend money on something which is only going to affect a few students (and I know how strapped for cash schools are). Hence my question whether there is any benefit to the schools or do they do it purely for 11+ preparation?
I'm envious at the idea of actually being told your kid's rank. I learnt very early on with DD that the school won't tell you anything about that! You're left to work it out from what group your DC tells you they are in - and what they can tell you about who the top few are. We always knew class rankings when I was at school and I found it helpful (it encourages a bit of healthy competition!) and with the 11+, you want to know how your child stands up against others because that's what it's all about!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:29 am 
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jearund wrote:
I'm envious at the idea of actually being told your kid's rank. I learnt very early on with DD that the school won't tell you anything about that! You're left to work it out from what group your DC tells you they are in - and what they can tell you about who the top few are. We always knew class rankings when I was at school and I found it helpful (it encourages a bit of healthy competition!) and with the 11+, you want to know how your child stands up against others because that's what it's all about!


Yes, I have to admit that it did give me a warm, fuzzy feeling reading that across the four sections my DD was 8th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st in her class :)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:20 pm 
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Choccy74 wrote:
jearund wrote:
I'm envious at the idea of actually being told your kid's rank. I learnt very early on with DD that the school won't tell you anything about that! You're left to work it out from what group your DC tells you they are in - and what they can tell you about who the top few are. We always knew class rankings when I was at school and I found it helpful (it encourages a bit of healthy competition!) and with the 11+, you want to know how your child stands up against others because that's what it's all about!


Yes, I have to admit that it did give me a warm, fuzzy feeling reading that across the four sections my DD was 8th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st in her class :)


Exactly! That's very reassuring for DD Chocky! :-)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:57 pm 
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Our primary doesn't provide any info on the 11+ either, I've just asked the teacher whether they think DD has a chance. Our catchment school is inadequate but has been taken over by a new academy and we were impressed at the open day and the new head teacher seems fab. But it's still early days for them. We have a chance at getting in to another but it's massive and we are only just in this year's catchment circle. Just hoping for the best


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:42 pm 
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My DS is taking test this September. He hates reading books and shows NO interest in English ... I'm bit worried.

Can anyone advise what is the standardised score expected for each grammar school in Gloucestershire?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:56 am 
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Hi Thriny.
There isn’t an expected standard or pass mark for the 11+ in Gloucestershire; the scores are ranked against each other, with each grammar school deciding where their cut-off for qualifying will be (eg this year Crypt qualified up to rank 900, Pate’s to about 230.) The qualifying standard depends on the cohort as a whole in any given year.
All you can do is prepare your child for this test as best you can so they have a good chance of achieving a qualifying rank. Good luck!


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