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Saturday, 10 August, 2002, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Bright pupils' flair for maths
computer room
The tests can be sat online
Gifted children appear to be better at mathematics than problem-solving, test results suggest.

Initial results of the World Class Tests - brought in to stretch the top 10% of pupils at ages nine and 13 - showed a higher percentage of nine year olds passed in both mathematics and problem-solving than 13 year olds.


We want to explore effective ways to seek out hidden talent

Martin Ripley, QCA
Around 4,400 children from England, the US, Australia and Hong Kong sat the tests - devised by the exam watchdog the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) - between November 2001 and July 2002.

Analysis of the results showed 57% passed, of which 30% scored a merit and 6% a distinction - 43% failed.

Youngsters from Hong Kong came out as the brightest, with almost all of its 56 children entered either achieving a distinction or merit in both mathematics and problem-solving at nine and 13.

But the QCA said this could be because teachers there were better at estimating the abilities and suitability of children to sit World Class Tests.

British and American children got better results than their Australian peers.

Hidden talent

Martin Ripley, director of the World Class Arena at QCA, said: "We want to explore effective ways to seek out hidden talent and to allow more students to demonstrate they are world class.

"The project has generated international interest and the support of leading academics and government officials.

"Our research, and the results so far, are encouraging for the UK."

World class tests are part of the gifted pupil strand of the government's Excellence in Cities initiative, aimed principally at improving the education of talented children in English schools - but they are also designed for schools internationally.

But all schools can enter their pupils for the exams, which are computer as well as paper-based.

See also:

23 Jul 02 | Education
03 Mar 01 | Education
02 Jul 01 | Education
16 Oct 00 | Education
26 Jun 01 | Education
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