|University of Durham CEM tests|
Some counties have adopted the new University of Durham CEM tests to decide which children go on to grammar school. Sounds like a waste of time and money to me.
Lots of money and research has gone into creating these tests which are supposedly 'preparation proof'. I have a couple of issues with this.
Firstly, there are only so many styles of questions which can be used to test an 11 year old so eventually the same types of questions will have to be reused. They may change the format slightly but I would imagine after a few years it will be possible to figure out the scope of the questions used and therefore prepare.
Secondly, this seems a bit like when the americans spent millions researching a pen that would work in zero-gravity conditions only to find the Russians simply opted for a pencil (Actually that story is urban legend but you get the point - more). My point is that the test should be an 'is this child suitable for grammar school?' test. At grammar school you will be tested on work for which you have been preparing for years. Therefore why not forget the fancy 'preparation-proof' tests and use the same old tests BUT let everybody practice as much as they want. Schools should be allowed to encourage 11 plus practice. That way I feel you will get either children who are naturally clever or those who have worked hard to get to the required standard. Both of these groups will do well at grammar school in my opinion.
Now where did I leave my space pen?