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2010 Common Entrance Exam papers.

Discussion in 'Independent' started by Incommunicado, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Occasional commenter

    Does anyone have any interesting observations to make about any of the recent CE exam papers? Any subjects.
     
  2. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Occasional commenter

    For my part, I was delighted to see, in the French papers, exam rubrics printed in English. I was never happy about the fairness (to the whole ability range) of giving them in French.
     
  3. I thought the English Paper was still a nonsense - the choice of poem is still soooo obscure! Also, not happy with the Level 1 ...... it didn't really do what we wanted it to do and they layout of the paper was so confusing, our pupils spent the first 5 mins of the exam tearing the paper apart so they had the right level questions next to the text!
    Agree with you re the French, at least the strugglers knew what they were supposed to be doing!
    Our Maths dept was thrilled with the 3 levels of paper, but we have found that some senior schools gave B or C grades to Level 3 entrants, who then were disappointed when their friends doing Level 2 got As or A*s - it's always hard to explain to 12 year olds (and their parents!) that a B for Level 3 is "better" than an A at Level 2!
    Sam
     
  4. Science - too difficult, as usual.
    I thought there was a move towards two tiers of papers? A shame it did not happen.
    At my school the Common Entrance set have an average 'IQ' of around 92. We also have less time than normal on academic subjects because of emphasis on extra-curricular. A simpler CE paper would be appreciated. As it is, pupils leave year 8 demoralised because of all the C/D/E grades.
     
  5. Science will have a simplified paper covering all 3 subjects from September 2011 - shame not before!
    We have a very mixed ability range and likewise, have a great deal of emphasis on extra curricular. We must be quite lucky though as most of ours, this year, got As and Bs with a smattering of Cs and only a couple of Ds ...... it depends so much tho' on the senior schools themselves ...... we have some pupils who struggle and get As in their English from one senior school, whereas some very bright pupils who are going to more academic schools "only" get given Bs or even Cs - that's also a really tricky one to handle..... I wish they'd mark/grade consistently!
    S
     
  6. samjw
    I'm pleased to hear I am not alone. Yes, if we are using 'common' papers then why don't we use 'common' grade boundaries? At the moment it is a real mess because papers vary in their level of difficulty ( e.g. Biology easier than Physics or Chemistry) and senior schools use different grade boundaries. How difficult can it be to make the whole thing more standardised?
     
  7. Hi doublehelix
    I suppose the less academic schools want to encourage the pupils - after all they are only 12/13 - not GCSE level pupils .... but I would rather they admitted they were less academic by saying their "passmark" is a minimum of 3 Ds or something, with the more academic ones having, say, 3 Cs or 3 Bs - whatever - and then all schools standardise their marks .... but it won't happen!
    The senior schools just don't seem to realise the angst that they cause among pupils and parents because of the fluctuations in grading!
    It's made worse by the people who set the ISEB papers in the first place .... I went to an MFL briefing last September and the chap who sets the French writing papers - from Eton - gave us all examples of scholarship level, middling and "weak" CE papers ...... his "weak" candidate was the level of some of our scholars ..... and most of the prep school teachers there were saying the same as me!! I don't know if all the ISEB paper setters have the same expectations, but I think probably not as the level of difficulty varies between subjects as you said!
    S
     
  8. Hi samjw and doublehelix
    It is such a relief to know that I am not alone in despairing of the lack of consistency in grading CE. This year I wanted to cry when one of the most talented pupils I have taught was given a C for her English paper from a highly selective school, whilst 3 of her much less able peers gained As from another school. She was understandably terribly disappointed, although her percentage was higher. If this is what they do to children's self-esteem (and they are still children), it is no wonder this particular school has a reputation for high levels of eating disorders and self-harming amongst pupils!
    I, too, have experience of the brick wall of ISEB setters - at a recent English conference, I had the temerity to suggest that my weaker pupils had real problems accessing the studied literature essay titles, making it difficult for them to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding because they did not understand what was being asked. The response from the chief setter (Head of English in one of the super-selective London senior schools) was that they found that 'if they are properly taught there is no problem'. There was an audible intake of breath from the audience! Such people never see the children that we do in our non-selective prep schools because they are selecting the top pupils from already highly-selective prep schools.
    There - I enjoyed getting that off my chest! The big question, though, is how can we change anything?

     

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