The announcement that Wirral Council had decided to switch from the CEM to the GL assessment for the 11+ certainly caused a few raised eyebrows and an increase in heart rates. However, is the concern justified? At ELC we think not. Let us explain.
Prior to the change in the Wirral 11+, students were expected to tackle comprehension, maths, literacy challenges and also non-verbal reasoning challenges. Following the switch to GL assessment this has now seen the previous verbal reasoning assessment brought back in.
'Why change?' you might ask. The logic seems to be that the CEM version of the exam was pressuring students too much simply through the time constraints. GL assessment is known to be more generous with the times and thereby give students more chance to show their ability without trying to rush through question after question.
We have heard that it is 'impossible' to get the verbal reasoning aspects covered in tutoring as well as the maths/literacy. However, we disagree. After carefully reviewing the structure of our lessons and homework platform we were able to identify key activities that could have the verbal reason challenges woven into them.
So far so good. But what about the difficulty of the exam? We always hear rumours that the exam has been made more challenging. However, logic dictates that you must ask the question 'what would be the point of that'. The 11+ exam on Wirral is in place to determine which children are the most able at literacy and numeracy. Simply making it harder will only result in the same outcome, i.e. the students who are most able in literacy and numeracy will finish at the higher end of the grade scale and therefore by default achieve a place at Wirral Grammar, Calday Grange or West Kirby Grammar.
Ultimately, our advice regarding the 11+ exam remains the same. Read as often as you can (a habit of 15 minutes a night is a great one to get into). Look to address key maths areas through your tutoring and then make sure you allocate time for homework to be completed in the week reinforce knowledge and understanding.