Children to take computerised 11 plus this year

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Online 11 plus practice tests that are easy to use

The computerised 11 plus is on its way, in fact it's already here! In September this year, children hoping to gain a place at Folkestone School for Girls or The Harvey Grammar School (boys) in the District of Shepway in Kent, will be taking a computer-based test provided by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) accompanied by a 30-minute creative writing test (on paper). The test covers the same topics as the paper-based CEM test used in other parts of the country: English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. As far as I am aware this is the only computerised eleven plus test in England at the moment so it could be considered as a pilot which, if successful, might be rolled out to the rest of the schools which use the CEM test. Eleven plus tests currently used for English grammar schools generally contain a high proportion of multiple choice tests which are machine-readable. The current CEM test, used for entry to around 40% of grammar schools in England, is entirely machine-readable and therefore could be adapted to become a computerised test. Computer-based tests do not test the creative writing ability of pupils which is why schools using the new Shepway test as well as a number of other schools (for example, Colyton Grammar School in Devon) using the CEM test also have a writing test as part of their eleven plus. The three Torbay grammar schools currently have a one-hour written maths test as well as a one-hour English test (comprising a writing task and a comprehension paper) in addition to the CEM test. There is also a limit to the number of children who can take a computerised test at any one time. The Shepway test at Folkestone School for Girls is taking place over a five hour period, from 9 am to 2 pm, presumably because there are not enough computers for everyone to take the test at the same time. A computerised 11 plus test would be a logistical challenge in some of the London Schools such as Newstead Wood School in Bromley which have over 1000 children taking their eleven plus exams each year. There is also the possibility of a technological failure - imagine the consequences of a power failure just as 1000 children were about to complete their online tests!

Including the two schools in Shepway, 68 of the 163 grammar schools in England currently use the CEM test. If you are in a local authority area other than Kent and have a child in Year 5 there is no need to panic as most grammar schools in England have already published the format of their eleven plus tests so they are extremely unlikely to change them at the last minute. Having spent a year developing my own online 11 plus practice test site I know that these things cannot be rushed!