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Displaying items by tag: Medway Test - Kent Independent Education Advice

Update: The value of the following item is underlined by the interest shown by browsers. 1500 hits in the first two days makes this the second most popular item on the website this year - in third place is the article Medway Test Scores Blunder - Medway fails families yet againconfirming once again the lack of confidence Medway families have in their Council's education operation. 

The Council sent a letter to schools last week announcing that it is changing its Test provider from GL Assessment to CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) for the forthcoming Medway Test in September. Unfortunately, the two testing providers have different interpretations of the assessment procedure, as explained here. The CEM Verbal Reasoning Test is far more language based than the GL model (which is used by Kent), including vocabulary and normally comprehension, as can be seen by a glance at the above link together with model answers provided by commercial companies. It will account for 20% of the aggregate Test marks which, together with the 40% for the Free Writing Test, will make this a highly language based selection method. It will therefore discriminate against children from socially deprived areas who are often weaker in language skills, children with English as a second Language, boys, and those who don't hear of or appreciate the change being made. The Council’s letter to schools gives no rationale for this change of approach or warning of the effects of the change, so presumably it is not for educational reasons, but simply a cost cutting exercise. 

Neither does it do anything whatever to address the other serious problems I have previously identified in the Medway Test process, missing a golden opportunity in its recent review of the procedure, which appears to have reached no conclusions. It also comes close on after last year's debacle of the 2016 Test.   

In addition, the Council has suddenly dispensed with the services of its highly experienced Free Writing Test setter, and at the time of writing does not appear to have re-employed any of its trained markers, although there is no change in the processes. It is not yet clear who is going to provide these essential skills this year.

Published in News and Comments

Story as at Monday afternoon, 3rd October

Medway Council has failed to report this year's Medway Test results to parents correctly, causing considerable distress to families. You will find the full story below, but first, here is a statement by Medway Council giving the current situation for concerned families, published 12.30 Monday.  

MEDWAY TEST UPDATE: The total score and assessment outcomes published in Medway Test result letters is correct for all candidates, despite a publication error which led to the wrong extended writing score being printed in the letters to non-selective (non-grammar) pupils.

We worked as a matter of urgency to look into the Medway Test results after a figure was incorrectly published on non-selective (non-grammar) result letters. While individual scores published for maths, verbal reasoning and extended writing papers did not add up to the total score, the total score stated and the assessment outcome in the results letter is correct.

We have thoroughly rechecked the results and we will be re-issuing result letters today to those families affected with the correct figures, but this will not impact the total score or the assessment outcome for pupils. The deadline for review requests has been extended to 10am on Monday, 10 October, to give parents more time to prepare in acknowledgement of any uncertainty this has caused over the weekend.

We are sorry for the concern and confusion this may have caused parents at what is a very important time in their child's education.

Parents who would like further clarification on their child’s results can contact their school directly.

The story up to the release of the above statement at noon on Monday (updated to take account of it) 

Medway Council sent out wrong individual test scores for many children who sat the Medway Test last month. It appears this applies to all children who have not passed. It is clear from the many enquiries I have had, and the 4508 hits (by some way a record) on this page since I posted the first version of this article on Saturday evening, that there were many very distressed families left in limbo by this blunder.
Medway Council Logo

In summary,....

Published in News and Comments
Thursday, 29 September 2016 22:39

Medway Test and Secondary School Admissions

Medway Test results are sent out by email after 4 p.m. on Friday 30th September, or by post to arrive the next day. 

The Medway Test Pass Score is 513. Please note, as explained in my article 'Admission to Medway Grammar Schools' below, this does not mean the standard is any lower than last year's 521. The standard required is the same. The difference reflects the number of children taking the test And their abilities.

I run a Telephone Consultation Service to support and advise families living in Medway or Kent Local Authority areas, who are considering Review, looking at secondary school options, or thinking about chances of success at appeal, for schools in Kent or Medway Local Authorities.  

The pages of this website also contain much free information about each of these issues

You will find details of each of the possibilities via the links below, or to the right of this article. You may wish to start with the page on Can I help you?

Telephone Consultation Service

Medway Grammar School Review and Appeal

Admission to Medway Secondary Schools

Admission to Medway Grammar Schools

Individual Medway Secondary Schools. This contains information on each secondary school and academy. I am currently updating these pages. If the one you wish to consult is not up to date, please let me know and I will attend to it. 

These pages also contain links to pages providing comment and data relating to school admissions....

Published in News and Comments
The issues arising from an analysis of the results of the recent seriously flawed Medway Test for grammar school admission are even greater than last year, with:
A mistake in calculating the pass mark by Medway Council, according to their own rules - depriving 40 Medway children of grammar school places;
The Review process selecting fewer than half the number of children it is targeted to choose, because of insufficient quality of school work presented - another 30 children denied places;
Continued powerful bias towards girls and older children with 21% more girls than boys found suitable for grammar school. The highly unsatisfactory Review process selected fourteen Medway children born in the first quarter of the school year, compared to just one in the fourth quarter.
The Council excuse is that the process works as it all comes right in the end (it doesn’t)!
With the test and Review both being so biased towards girls and older children, and the inability of the Council to apply their own formula for calculating the pass mark, it is surely time for it to be replaced by a process that is fit for purpose.
The school with the highest percentage of pupils being found selective is St William of Perth Catholic Primary with 47%, followed remarkably by Temple Mill Primary with 42%.

For further information on all these headlines, read on…

Published in News and Comments
Updated 5th October

The Medway Test pass mark for admission to Medway Grammar Schools in September 2016 is an aggregate of 521, slightly down on last year’s 525, but you can read nothing in to the annual variation of the pass mark as this is arrived at by a local standardisation of marks, as explained below and elsewhere and is a factor of the proportion of Medway children who decide to take the test, not the difficulty. There is further detail about pass rates below. 

You will find a comprehensive survey of Medway Test arrangements and issues here, containing advice and information, with links through to Review Information and Advice and other articles.

I am afraid I am recovering from an operation and will not be able to offer any support to parents this autumn. To assist families trying to decide whether to go to Review, I offer what I hope is helpful advice below as an alternative.

Published in News and Comments

This article reports on the full details of the Medway Test for entry to Medway grammar schools in September 2015, and explores the implications of the results.  

To be eligible for  entry to a Medway grammar in September 2015, children had to score an aggregate of 525 in the Medway Test. This comprises age-standardised papers in verbal reasoning, mathematics (score doubled up) and a single piece of English writing (also times two).  So a child scoring 100 in VR, 95 in maths and 119 in English would pass with an aggregate of 528 made up of 100 + 2x95 + 2x119. There is no minimum score in each paper as in Kent.

Headline comments are that:

1)The figures confirm that the fall in numbers of children has bottomed out and rolls are again rising, which will come as a relief to those schools who have suffered from falling rolls in recent years.  An increase of 130 children in the age cohort is a welcome 4% rise from 2013 for the schools most under pressure.  

2) Even so, there is a fall in the number of boys taking the Medway Test, accompanied by a further increase in the proportion of girls to boys both taking the test and also passing, compared with the 2013 figures; see below.

3) There is also a fall in the number of boys being put forward for Review, a total of 36 children out of the 239 put forward being successful. This is only 1.2% of the total cohort, against a target of  2%, or 62 children. According to Medway Council: “The academic evidence supplied did not support a grammar assessment for the maximum 2% of the Medway cohort.” With growing concern over primary school standards in Medway, the inability to find another 26 children whose work is up to a grammar school standard only underlines the problems of literacy and numeracy in those schools.  

4) I have highlighted before the built in prejudice of the Medway Test, showing a discrimination against both boys and younger children.  For 2015 entry, the bias towards older children is similar to that in 2012, the previous time I analysed the figures, with 55% of passes going to children born in the first half of the year, and 45% in the second half of the year, on both occasions. Just 21% of boys in the cohort passed the Test this year, compared with 25% of girls.  

5) Remarkably, every one of the top four schools by percentage pass rate are Catholic Primary Schools, these being the only Medway state schools scoring over 50% grammar school passes. This is in spite of the fact that Catholic  schools are encouraged to support St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive, rather than the grammar schools.

6) The number of children from outside Medway, taking and passing the Medway Test continues to rise inexorably as Kent children hedge their bets by taking both tests, and London families increasingly look to Medway as an alternative, but the reality is that few of the latter actually arrive.

Medway Council is conducting a Review of the Medway Test at present and I would expect these issues to be central to the discussion, although I have raised most of them before with no response from the Council.

In the remainder of this article, I expand on these points, as well as provide the relevant statistics on which the article is based.....

Published in News and Comments

This has been a particularly busy admission season for me, primarily because the change in structure and scoring pattern of the Kent Test have considerably increased uncertainty about chances of access to super selective schools and appeal success to grammar schools across the county. My news item on the Kent Test saw the fastest rate of hits ever on the website, totalling 7000 in just over a week. The article on the Medway Test, with about a sixth the number of applicants has already attracted over 3000 visitors.

The other major factor has been the urban myth and misinformation circulating amongst parents, too often driven by some primary headteachers trying to be helpful and some secondary headteachers keen to encourage numbers.

I have covered most of the comment and information below in previous news and information items on this website, but now that most  Secondary School Common Application Forms (SCAF) have been submitted, I have time to reflect. Kent parents will know that exceptionally, KCC has extended the closing date to 5th November (nationally it was 31st October) to give parents good time to consult schools after the Kent Tests results were sent out, allowing for half-term in between.

I hear many good reports about the advice freely given by KCC School Admissions, and know that, as always, the Department has been massively overworked. However, they are not allowed to comment about individual schools as I am. Medway Council also runs an advice service. 

I explore these issues and a variety of others below......

Published in News and Comments

 

PLEASE NOTE: I AM ONCE AGAIN LIKELY TO CLOSE MY BOOKS TO NEW CLIENTS BY CHRISTMAS, AS NUMBERS USING THIS SERVICE, WHO SECURE MY ASSISTANCE FOR MARCH, ARE HIGHER THAN EVER

The pass mark for the Medway Test this year is an aggregate of 525. The total score for each child is made up of a verbal reasoning score, a mathematics score which is doubled up and an English score which is also doubled up.

So a child who scored: Verbal Reasoning - 110; mathematics – 102; and English – 103; would get a grand total of 110 + 102x2 + 103x2 = 520. This child would not pass as they have not reached 525 in total.

Unlike the Kent Test, there is no minimum score required in individual tests. Therefore, for example, a score of: VR- 75; mathematics – 140; and English – 85; scores 525 and passes.

For those parents whose children have not passed the Medway Test, there is now the decision as to whether to go for Review which must be made by next Friday, 10th October, and you will find extensive advice on how to make the decision elsewhere on this website.

An important new factor to be considered if you are  likely to go to appeal, was introduced without warning last year. ........

Published in News and Comments

Updated 19 November with Out of Medway Results 

I now have the main results of the Medway Review process, which you will find in the table below, along with the previous data from automatic passes.  These produce four main conclusions:

1)   the number of girls who were successful at Review is nearly twice the number of boys ( last year girls were MORE than twice as successful as boys). 

2)    parents of girls were nearly twice as likely to apply for a Review as parents of boys;

3)   Very few out of Medway Review requests were successful;

4)   For Medway children, both the automatic pass rate, at 23.2% and the Review pass rate at 2.0% of the total number of children in the age group are very close to the targets of 23.0% and 2.0%. 

I have previously considered the data for the automatic pass figures here, and you can compare the data with the 2012 test figures here. I have also looked at reasons for the underperformance of boys here, but can now add to these a possible lack of confidence by parents of boys in pursuing grammar school places in Medway...........

Published in News and Comments

The Medway Test pass mark has been published. Successful candidates needed to have gained an aggregate score of 528 across the three tests. Although this is well up on the last few years, 2013 entry requiring an aggregate score of 509, the level of the difficulty of the test remains the same, the pass mark being set to achieve the target 23% of the population of Medway children being successful, a very similar total to last year. For a more detailed explanation of the process for determining the pass mark, go to here, although there is further explanation below.  However, figures I have obtained from Medway Council show both a remarkable increase in the proportion of boys passing the test as explained below, accompanied by a leap in the number of Medway children taking the test (the explanation for the higher pass mark).

The comparative figures for 2014 and 2013 entry are as follows:

("Children in cohort" is the total number of Year 6 children in Medway, this figure being used as the base for the percentages quoted).

  Children in Cohort Candidates Successes % successes % of cohort
  MEDWAY AUTOMATIC PASSES AUTUMN 2013
 boys 1460 871 331 38  22.7
 girls 1502 971 356 37  23.7
TOTAL 2962 1842 687 37 23.2
           
  MEDWAY AUTOMATIC PASSES AUTUMN 2012
boys NOT RECORDED 758 278 37  
 girls  FOR 2012  899  375  42  

TOTAL

2926 1657 653 39  22.3
 
  OUTSIDE MEDWAY AUTUMN 2013
boys   239 132 55  
 girls   276 163 59  

 TOTAL

   515  295  57  
 
       OUTSIDE MEDWAY AUTUMN 2012
TOTAL
 
421
270
64
  

 Medway Reviews are being carried out this week, and will produce another 2% of Medway children ( around 59 in total) to be added to the pass list, along with others from outside. I will add these figures into the above table as soon as I receive them. I usually have the out of Medway figures broken down by Local Authority and will also publish these here, as soon as they are received. The 421 candidates from outside Medway will be predominantly from Kent and as they are self-selecting will have produced a higher pass rate than the  Medway norm. I will also be publishing the figures for the Kent Test as soon as I receive them. 

Regular visitors to this website will know that I have for some years been very unhappy at the way the Medway Tests appears to have discriminated against boys, but somehow, for 2014 entry, Medway Council appears to have addressed this concern. Indeed there are a number of changes in the patterns of entry and success in the Medway Test for Medway residents, the most significant being as follows:......

Published in News and Comments
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