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Thousands sit breakaway tests

16-11-2009

Irish News

Thousands of 10 and 11-year-olds have become the first group to sit new independent grammar school entrance exams.

On Saturday about 7,000 children at 34 different non-Catholic schools sat the first of three Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) papers.

Pupils were asked to answer 58 English and maths questions in one hour.

The content was said to be “matched exactly” to previous 11-plus tests, without science questions.

Those taking Saturday’s tests were the first group to attempt the questions – the paper was not trialled by peers in England before going live.

Grammar schools have split into two camps using either the CEA or papers set by GL Assessment.

For the first time, tests were held in grammar schools instead of primary classrooms.

Some primary principals had said bringing large numbers of pupils from different schools to an unfamiliar environment could cause stress for many children.

Schools made efforts ahead of the tests to avoid causing disruption.

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution opened pupil registration an hour and a half before the 10am start so parents and pupils would miss weekend traffic coming into the city.

Two Lisburn schools – Friends and Wallace – had written to people warning of potential traffic congestion in Lisburn in the morning.

Campbell College moved the stops for its Saturday sports buses, to allow parents easy access to the front of the school.

Today answer papers will be collected and delivered to two examination centres in schools.

One hundred markers have been recruited and each test paper will be checked three times for accuracy.

Next Saturday about 6,700 pupils from another group of schools, most of them Catholic, will sit two multiple-choice GL Assessment papers.

The second and third CEA papers will be staged on November 28 and December 5.

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