What is the 11+


What is the 11 plus test?
The Eleven Plus test is a selective examination given to children in their last year of primary school (year 6) to determine whether the child is suited to the academic rigours of a grammar school education. The 11 plus exam is used extensively by grammar schools in Bucks, Berkshire Kent and Essex to select children based on academic ability. Until recently most local authorities and schools used NFER 11+ exams papers administered by GL Assessment. However more LEAs and some schools are now opting for an 11+ exam set by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University which is referred to as the Durham CEM test, which encompasses English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. Approximately 30 percent of children qualify for a grammar school place each year, and around a further 5% are deemed qualified after a successful appeal against non-qualification. Some LEAs allocate places by catchment and others by score.


What does the 11+ exam consist of?
Each local authority sets their own content and some schools act independently to decide what will be covered in the exam. This means that some children will sit four separate exams in mathematics, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning where as others may just do Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning papers.


What is Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning?
Verbal Reasoning (VR) involves the child thinking about words and text and solving problems, sequences etc. It requires the child to have a good grasp of English grammar and a wide vocabulary and makes demands on the child’s mathematical capabilities. VR tests are generally designed to provide an overall measure of scholastic ability without having a specific curriculum content, principally assessing inferential and deductive skills. The tests have high reliability and are relatively good predictors of subsequent academic attainment.
Non Verbal Reasoning (NVR) involves the child thinking about pictures and diagrams, and solving problems based on these items. It also makes demands on the child’s mathematical capabilities, however it makes less demand on the understanding of written language. Like verbal reasoning tests, NVR tests are comprised of a variety of item types, including series completion, codes and analogies. However, unlike verbal reasoning tests, none of the question types requires learned knowledge for its solution. In an educational context, these tests are typically used as an indication of a pupil’s ability to understand and assimilate novel information independently of language skills. Scores on these tests can indicate a pupil’s ability to learn new material in a wide range of school subjects based on their current levels of functioning. These tests also have high reliability and they are relatively good predictors of future academic attainment.


What is the 11+ Durham CEM exam?
The CEM exam assesses performance in verbal, numerical and non-verbal reasoning and the exam content changes each year. The verbal reasoning section includes comprehension and reading skills and a wide knowledge of vocabulary is an advantage. The numerical section tests mental arithmetic and recognition of mathematical patterns and includes problem solving.


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