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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:05 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
You could certainly call some aspects of CEM VR "English". DG

Yes you could, but that's not what CEM chooses to call it.

So I think we have to at least consider that a change is in the offing.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:24 am 
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The majority who get in come from private preps? :shock:
Nyr speaks sense here. The real hurdle is getting into the top 300.
Imagine if preference was given to local girls within the top 600 - still easily the top quarter. If those girls were allowed to sit the second round as priority, this would be a game changer. They could probably give PPs a straight pass in if they clear the top 600 too.

HBS has an image problem for some - seen as a school for pushy parents from all over the S.E. with plenty of money to pay for tutors and private schools and not a local school at all. Local parents are put off applying, knowing the lengths many have gone to in preparation. Maybe this will start the turnaround.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:26 am 
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But there would be fewer mails asking how to travel there from Kent or Heathrow, so I guess the number of posts on this board would decrease!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:24 am 
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About a quarter of girls admitted into Y7 in the last few years have been from private schools. I guess quite a few choose to stay in the indie sector.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:58 pm 
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They may have attended private schools but it was not those schools that got them a place at HBS.

It was the private tutors or study centres that they attended that got them to the level required in both CEM and standard format English and Maths .

Those parents who did not spend their money on private schools but instead used the same tutors and study centres would have saved themselves a lot of money.

It is very interesting that they are abandoning CEM Numerical reasoning for NVR.

Any opinions on why they would move to NVR? DG


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:39 am 
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CestMoi wrote:
The majority who get in come from private preps? :shock:
Nyr speaks sense here. The real hurdle is getting into the top 300.
Imagine if preference was given to local girls within the top 600 - still easily the top quarter. If those girls were allowed to sit the second round as priority, this would be a game changer. They could probably give PPs a straight pass in if they clear the top 600 too.

HBS has an image problem for some - seen as a school for pushy parents from all over the S.E. with plenty of money to pay for tutors and private schools and not a local school at all. Local parents are put off applying, knowing the lengths many have gone to in preparation. Maybe this will start the turnaround.


Agreed. I have seen the image and profile of the intake change considerably since my dd joined the school (she's in Y12 now). In my dd's year of entry the majority of girls were from state schools and a lot from the North London/Finchley / Barnet/Whetstone/Golders Green areas which are relatively nearby. The racial identity of the school was pretty mixed, as it should be. Now, it seems the vast majority of the intake comes from miles and miles away, bussed in by Air Fenella, with a racial profile that is simply not representative of London. Why is this ? if the intake of another London GS was overwhelmingly white, there would be an outcry. There needs to be some kind of balance here. The point of a GS is to provide education for LOCAL bright kids whose families are not in a position to access private education. My dd is exactly such a student: a North London kid, went to a perfectly ordinary local primary school, did some DIY at home and got through the exams.

My guess is that the school sees the need to attempt to restore some kind of racial balance and also to try and cap journey times. I hope it's successful. I realise this is a sensitive issue but it needs to be discussed, IMO.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:57 am 
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I think CEM has impacted this.

It is the most tutorable format I have ever encountered and rewards intensive preparation rather than natural ability.

Those who are prepared to go to great lengths can make it through the first round but then some do fall at the second round where natural ability kicks in. DG


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:14 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
I think CEM has impacted this.

It is the most tutorable format I have ever encountered and rewards intensive preparation rather than natural ability.

Those who are prepared to go to great lengths can make it through the first round but then some do fall at the second round where natural ability kicks in. DG


Well you would definitely know, DG! it seems ironic, since CEM was intended to be 'untutorable', IIRR? I wonder why NVR is being brought back though - what are your thoughts about this?

Personally I think a good, rigorous English exam including extended creative and / or discursive writing in round 1 would impact the intake a lot. Of course the problem with this is that the marking process is highly specialised and time consuming - I guess this is why round 1s are the faceless box-ticking exercises they are.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:11 am 
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The CEM tests did present more of a challenge than the GL ones when they were first introduced but have proven to be very amenable to rigorous preparation, and a researcher who worked on the original CEM tests quite openly admitted this to me. The very, very few disadvantaged girls in contrast to the over-represented privately educated girls, with easy access to top-up private tuition, who rank in the top 300 in the Round 1 tests underscore this.

In my view the outcome of English tests, particularly for creative writing, are even more heavily influenced by specialist tuition, otherwise there wouldn't be the need for quite so many English tutors and it would take a skilled assessor to determine if a script littered with literary devices is in any way creative or just well-rehearsed. DD tells me that the Head of English at HBS hates the over-use of these devices in 11+ scripts, so there is some hope. Discursive writing may be better for testing but again the output could be heavily influenced by tuition and cultural capital - apologies for repeating this, but I do feel strongly about it - and disadvantage very bright girls who don't benefit from frequent debates at the dining table.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:38 am 
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nyr wrote:

In my view the outcome of English tests, particularly for creative writing, are even more heavily influenced by specialist tuition, otherwise there wouldn't be the need for quite so many English tutors and it would take a skilled assessor to determine if a script littered with literary devices is in any way creative or just well-rehearsed. DD tells me that the Head of English at HBS hates the over-use of these devices in 11+ scripts, so there is some hope. Discursive writing may be better for testing but again the output could be heavily influenced by tuition and cultural capital - apologies for repeating this, but I do feel strongly about it - and disadvantage very bright girls who don't benefit from frequent debates at the dining table.


IME it's pretty easy to tell when a child's writing is rehearsed and stuffed full of a catalogue of pointless literary devices. A good teacher can tell. :wink:


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