We are super aware that asking a student to sit down and do a test is not going top be the easiest thing you have done today. Why wouldn't they want to sit and answer 36 maths questions for 45 minutes?! But we do have a few points here that we hope will make the assessment part of Spotlight a little easier.
The Spotlight assessment is not like school tests
First of all, there is no one from school - teachers, peers, heads of department - involved in your Spotlight at all. It's not a reflection of how well you've done your homework, or listened to the teachers, or engaged with a particular subject or topic. This sits entirely independent of all of that. It's an entirely clean slate to show what you can do.
We're not trying to catch you out
Spotlight is a clever assessment. It's adaptive. This means the level of the questions will change depending on how you're it. If they are too hard it will select easier ones, if too easy we'll find slightly harder ones until its too tricky. We always say if you're finding the questions a bit difficult, you've likely qualified for those higher-level ones and it means you're doing really well!
Getting some questions wrong doesn't impact your score
We know this sounds a bit weird but its true. Our scoring system only looks at the question difficulty and your age, not on the number of right or wrong answers. It's not about whether you got 15 out of 20 right, you may have 10 right and 10 wrong - but what we're interested in is if those 10 are easy or hard for kids of your age. This helps us see what kind of thinking you're good at, and what you find more challenging.
What's the objective here?
The goal of our assessments is you help you out. To help you see what aspects of school you've managed to grasp, and what sort of things are more difficult. Following your assessment, a consultant is going to delve into the results and discuss these with your parents. It is going to help you understand better where your strengths lie, and provide support on those bits that are harder, so hopefully they'll become less tricky. It's also going to help look at your direction of travel, set some goals and inform some future decisions. We hope, with this information, you'll have a clearer sense of what you can achieve.
I'm a bit nervous about getting started
If you need a parent or grown up sitting with you whilst you have a go at the first few questions, that's totally fine - this isn't an exam! They answer all the questions for you, but they can give you hand reading the instructions and starting out each module until you're comfortable with what you are doing. We want you to (and your parents) to be finding this experience comfortable - not stressful!
What if I'm stuck on an answer?
Have a go. Take your best guess and move on to the next one. One single question has absolutely no impact on your overall score. Get that tricky one out of the way and move on to one you find less horrible - this is totally fine!
Can I take breaks?
Between the different modules, yes, please do. Take whatever time you need, but we recommend getting the whole assessment done in one day, that way we can get you your results promptly. Don't stop during a module if you can help it, they are timed and we don't want you to miss out on showing us your answer to that really easy question we throw in at the end. (Parents - we don't really throw in an easy question at the end).
If you have any questions or worries about taking the Spotlight assessment, do feel free to contact the team. We know these are not always easy things to do. Parents, we are fully in favour of biscuits for motivation, in fact, whatever incentives are necessary are positively encouraged - do whatever works for you, we will support you (except answering the questions for the candidate, that's not helpful at all!).