The CEM 11+ exam (or test) has been commissioned from the Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring at the University of Durham...
in response to the worry by grammar schools that children were being "tutored" for their 11+ exam.
Schools feared that children were tutored to such an extent that the 11+ exam questions were so available to parents and tutors that "question spotting" was comparatively easy. This meant that the 11+ exam could be easily prepared for and this would benefit children who had parents able and willing to pay for private tuition or who would prepare their own children at home.
The CEM 11+ exam is marketed as being "tutor-proof". The reality is that any exam, at any level, can be tutored and scores improved in order to gain a pass mark.
Until the CEM 11+ arrived on the scene the main supplier of 11+ exam papers across England was GL Assessment. The company was previously known as NFER (the National Foundation for Educational Research)and in 2007 NFER was purchased by Granada Learning and re-branded as ‘GL Assessment’ commonly called GL.
Since around 2007 GL Assessment have developed and administered 11+ exams in the majority of grammar schools in the UK. Since they have been in the market so long their question types and content have long been in the public domain and available to schools, parents and private tutors.
The CEM 11+ exam is relatively new but already the content of their exam and the question types are well known by everyone interest in the 11+ exam and how to pass this important exam.
The exam was designed to address fears over question spotting and coaching to the test was common practice amongst wealthy parents in particular.
When published the CEM 11+ exam found favour in some regions as schools and Education Authorities believed it was more ‘tutor-proof.”
This perception was increased as CEM placed a lot of emphasis on the fact they did not produce or endorse any published practice papers, that they continually changed the format of the tests, and that the CEM 11+ exam was perceived as more difficult than other versions of the 11+ such as the GL version.
CEM aimed to reduce any advantage created for children who were tutored for the tests as opposed to those who were not.