11 Plus Assessments
Most tutors will do assessments before a child starts with them, equally most parents will be familiar with assessments as most state schools give feedback on progress based on assessed achievement.
Assessments though remain quite an area of some mystery for parents. What we’ll try and do here is demystify some aspects of it for you.
Most tutors do their own assessments. Some of these are mere sales tools (once you have gone to the time and effort of doing an assessment you are less likely to walk away). Most are decent attempts to in some way gauge the current performance level of the child.
In our view most assessment results relating to Maths and English are worth listening to and it is interesting to see where your child is compared to other children. However where assessments stray into VR and NVR we’d caution against reading too much into them. VR and NVR performance tends to change rapidly with even a little extra teaching and we don’t think initial assessment tests in this area are ever a good indicator of how a child may perform once they have received some coaching.
Where tutor assessments are most interesting is where the tutor is honest enough to group initial assessment results with historic performance….. so for instance they might be able say that children in the top 5% have succeeded in 100% of cases, Children in the next 15% have succeeded in 70% of cases, children in the next 15% have succeeded in 40% of cases etc. The reason many tutors don’t expose parents to this information is that sometimes the news that even after spending thousands and very many hours of work their child’s chances may only be 40% is sometimes hard to hear. Where tutors are able to give parents a view that there are bands of potential and are able to say that some bands are more successful than others we think that’s an approach to be applauded.
11 Plus Exam Maths Assessment
Most of the very good tutors when they do a Maths assessment will look not only at the core concepts but also at the basics (times tables and four operations). Where children have a weakness in four operations or times tables it tends to always hold them back unless it is properly addressed. It is quite common to find a child who is dealing with some quite advanced maths topics but when they are asked to work through simple calculations quickly (which is a core part of 11 Plus Tests) their basic skills weaknesses come through, they can’t work quickly enough or accurately enough.
The best tutor assessments identify this and the best tutors focus on this like a laser beam to ensure their children are highly competent in this area.
We have developed a section of a typical tutor assessment which does exactly the job we have described above, it tests a child’s score skills. We have added this to the website to help parents see where there may be a weakness and to understand how important it is to put that right before moving on. For many parents the moment they see how their child struggles with this test is a telling moment… don’t worry problems are easy to fix if identified early, the trick is to identify the problems.
Maths National Curriculum Level Assessments
The Education Department used to ask schools to rank pupils on a level system ( eg 3a, 3b, 3c). This system was somewhat clunky to deliver in schools and has been changed now so that each school can do their own thing. We don’t think this is a good development as different schools will have different systems and some are bound to be better than others. Equally it leaves the assessment system open to abuse.
We’d suggest that the levels system remains valid and useful for seeing where a child sits compared to their peers. We have therefore made national curriculum level based Maths assessment freely available for parents to use. The assessments start in year 1 and cover every term through to the end of year six. We have also included lots of help and guidance to ensure parents properly understand the levels based system and what the results actually mean. It has been common for parents to approach us with questions about how the school have done assessments and where they might be able to double check results. We hope our free maths assessment levels resource goes some way to helping parents in this area.