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Wirral 11+ What you Need to Know!

Author: TheTutors Published: 28th August 2010 19:02

Wirral Borough Council provide a parents handbook with the following information for parents who wish their children to sit the 11+ grammar school selection tests.

Assessment arrangements for foundation and trust grammar schools.

1. The assessment is based on the results of two verbal reasoning tests.

2. The tests do not take into account what pupils have learnt at primary school.

3. They have been designed to predict a pupil's potential performance at secondary school and so preparation

for the verbal reasoning test, apart from the practice tests, is not necessary.

4. However, we will provide a familiarisation pack to pupils to help them prepare for the tests.

This is the full extent of their advice relating to preparing pupils for the 11+ tests, I have numbered each of the main points.

1. The assessment is based on the results of two verbal reasoning tests.

What you need to know. The Wirral test is a unique test compared to all other LEAs in the country. The two tests each contain 80 question in multiple-choice format to be completed in 50 minutes. There are 21 different question types with a range of variances and difficulty levels within each quetion type. The question types are commonly known as NFER.

2. The tests do not take into account what pupils have learnt at primary school.

What you need to know. This statement is correct when applied to the content of the National Curriculum. However, some schools provide advice and resources through their websites and others provide 11+ preparation through after school or dinner time clubs. One school on the Wirral is considering introducing verbal reasoning as an extra curricular subject in years 3 and 4.

The statement does not take into account that many children attending independent preparatory schools will most likely receive tuition for 11+ over and above what is recommended by the LEA.

3. They have been designed to predict a pupil's potential performance at secondary school and so preparation for the verbal reasoning test, apart from the practice tests, is not necessary.

What you need to know. The tests were originally designed prior to 1996/97, at the time they were considered to be an indicator of a pupils's potential performance. However, as the formats of the tests entered the public domain there was an increase in tutoring for the tests. Each time a change to the test has occurred the private sector has reacted to create preparation resources and offer directed private tuition. Nowadays it is well known that any child that attains a grammar school place would have completed a programme of out of school tuition either privately or at home.

NFER have recently published research that states that private tutoring does increase a child's score in 11+ practice tests. Verbal reasoning is no longer a strong indicator of potential performance,

Two years ago The Independent published results of a survey that concluded that a child passing the 11+  is more an indicator of the education attainment of the child's parents and their income bracket. Although a child does have to work hard to pass the test, it is the preparation that takes place that is most important.

Although the standard advice is that provided by the LEA, the reality is that parents choose not to follow it.

4. However, we will provide a familiarisation pack to pupils to help them prepare for the tests.

What you nedd to know. It is normal practice for the packs to be retained in school and children generally are not allowed to take them home. The packs are distributed to the schools at the beginning of the new school year and each school allocates a minimum of four hours teaching time. However, as stated previously some schools use independent discretion and do provide additional preparation time.

What is not generally known is that familiarisation packs are sent to the home addresses of out of county children. This gives parents far greater opportunities to analyse the packs so that they can purchase suitable secondary resources and allows them more time to to work with the packs, i.e. going over the more diffcult question types and evaluating the child's performance.

What you can do?

When preparing children for the tests it is most importat to use resources that are relevant to the NFER 21 question types. You will find that high street book retailers stock resources in Mathematics, English and Non Verbal Reasoning; these are not relevant to the Wirral 11+. You will also find that some authors write resources for alternative test providers and some publishers continue to produce out of date resources. One author claims to offer "Official Papers" and that simply is not true!

There is a core group of authors that write resources specfically for the Wirral 11+ and the NFER 21 question types. There is a sufficient bank of resources for parents to prepare children for the tests, including method & technique courses, short papers, full papers and interactive software. Some authors are now creating Apps for Android, mobile phones and i pads. Often the information you need and the resources available are free of charge or of low cost but still maintain high quality levels.

Bebington Civic Centre

Monday 21st March

6:00 to 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Wirral 11+ What You Need to Know!

A free presentation by Mike Edwards

Ellesmere Port Library

Monday 28th March

5:45 to 6:45 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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