11+ Exams – Grammar / Independent Schools V CEM

What is CEM and NFer – Why use them for 11plus

In 2013, many schools and regions started to opt in using the CEM 11plus entrance test in place of GL-Assessment tests which had dominated the market for the last twenty years. CEM standing for the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, a research group based at the School for Education, University of Durham.

The reason behind this abrupt change was parents had started to complain that anyone with a deep wallet can send their child for tuition and get their child trained to pass the 11plus exams.

Their argument was confounded by the fact that the traditional GL-Assessment subjects and questions ‘styles’ (which in essence is ‘the syllabus’) are well documented on many websites. This situation was further escalated by GL-Assessment, the exam administrators, themselves writing publications on ‘How to’ subject guide and the availability of a number of online resources and tuition centres coaching children. With the GL Assessments tests now becoming more transparent and therefore more ‘preparable‘. It was deemed to ‘disadvantage’ parents not utilising tuition centres which favoured teaching the 11+ material but not gearing the child up to the demands of academic rigour ahead or taking into account of their suitability for such schools.

Not surprisingly various authorities have reacted to the above by seeking an alternative examiner, in particular searching for 11plus examinations that could not be “prepared” for and thereby supposedly eliminating the scourge of the tuition centre at the same time. Thus CEM, who market their 11 plus exams as “unpreparable” have surfaced as a leading candidate to replace NFER based examinations.

The 11plus Exams set by Grammar schools and Independent Schools have been dominated for the past twenty years by GL (Granada Learning) Assessments who commission papers from NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research).

Such tests are inevitably computer based and thus CEMs departure into written 11 plus exams it seems is both a departure away from computer based evaluation and the core values of ‘Adaptive Learning’ championed by the School of Education at the University of Durham.

The 11 plus exams, whose raison d’être is to measure the potential of a child in year 6 for entry into senior school at year 7, usually assess a child’s intelligence, speed and accuracy.

Granada Learning Assessment has for nearly two decades been the choice exam administrators for most UK Local Education Authorities (LEAs), independent grammar schools and many independent senior schools due to the excellent reputation of NFER.

Hitherto the four subjects traditionally tested in 11 plus exams are English, mathematics, verbal and non-verbal reasoning as demarcated by NFER. It is worth noting that for some super-selective schools English composition is also set which is independent of NFER.

It is worth noting that for some super-selective schools English composition is also set.

In recent years with a plethora of publications targeting the GL-Assessment “syllabus” (including a ‘how to’ subject guides by GL-Assessment, the exam administrators, themselves), coupled with a multitude of online resources and mushrooming tuition centres not only have the exams become more ‘transparent’ (thereby deemed “highly preparable”) but also deemed to ‘disadvantage’ parents not engaging a tuition centres. Furthermore many tuition centres have become ‘11-plus factories’ in that they sought to hardwire the child’s mind to process known GL styles of question, thus preparing them for the exam rather than the demands of academic rigour ahead or taking into account of their suitability for such schools.

At The Learning Hub, we realised this and put a strong emphasis on a child to be taught in a manner that starts from the very basics of their knowledge. The syllabus expertly created by our experts utilises are full knowledge gleamed from being an examination centre for GCSEs and ‘A’ levels and from having tutored successfully over a thousand children in our long and successful 14 year history.

This means that your child learns the full national curriculum now required for the 11plus in our special dedicated classrooms by teachers who understand the rigors and pressures of the 11plus exams and know how to effectively communicate this to your child.

This in simplistic terms means that your child is now future proof for all 11plus exams and restoring the strong advantage that a quality centre like the Learning Hub offers to ensure that your child is prepared for CEM, the next generation “unpreparable” 11plus exams and if required NFER based examination.

With our comprehensive and quality syllabus, parents have realised that sending their child(ren) is probably the best and safest investment they will ever make. This is important for whilst the trend is towards CEM, it does not mean that NFER (National Foundation of Educational Research) got it wrong. Both are highly respected research institutions in education pursing the same brief: measuring the potential of a year 6 child who has gone through the state’s national curriculum. The proof they say, ‘is in the pudding’, we always suggest check the centre of your choice out and always speak to the Head Teacher.