Elite tests for brightest children to help create global standard

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The Independent Online

Elite national tests for the brightest nine and 13-year-olds will be made available around the world as part of government plans to create a global standard for the most able children.

Elite national tests for the brightest nine and 13-year-olds will be made available around the world as part of government plans to create a global standard for the most able children.

The tests, being pioneeredby 8,000 children, are pitched at the top 10 per cent of the world's brightest children. They are tested by schools as far afield as America, New Zealand, China and Hungary to ensure they meet international standards. The first details of the Government's tough new World Class Tests in maths and science are revealed in The Independent today.

The voluntary tests, to be administered and marked by computer, will be launched in schools in September 2001 and will be set several times a year. Ministers hope the tests will raise standards by spurring on the most able children by giving them a goal to aim for. But the tests will also help identify young people who would benefit from special tuition and summer masterclasses run by university staff.

Questions include asking 13-year-olds to find the seven pairs of numbers which will produce a total of 100 at the end of an unknown six-number sequence.

Another example asks teenagers to divide a five-sided shape into four triangles of equal area. All children will be able to enter the tests, although most are expected to be promising students selected by their teachers.

Teachers will be able to put children in for the exams, which will lead to a special certificate. But parents will also be able to screen their children using specially-written taster questions and enter them for tests independently. The Independent has been allowed exclusive access to the tests, being developed by the Government's exam regulator, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Parallel tests for outstanding A-level candidates are also being developed and will be tried out in the summer.

The tests for 18-year-olds, known as "Advanced Extension" exams, will be based on conventional A-level syllabuses, but will involve much more demanding exams.

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