Last updated July 2015
Once again parents will be able to register for the Kent Test online via www.kent.gov.uk/ola by 1st July 2015 . If they register online and provide an e-mail address, they will receive their child’s assessment decision via e-mail on 14 October 2015. I do recommend this process as each year postal results for some children are delayed.
News and Information Items relevant to Kent Test and Grammar School Admission
Kent Test Results 2014: Girls on top (also including Headteacher assessment and out of county results)
You may also find an article I wrote for Kent on Sunday in September 2014 about secondary admissions helpful.
Application Process for 2016 entry
Registration for testing opens
Monday 1 June 2015
Closing date for registration
Wednesday 1 July 2015
Test date for pupils in Kent primary schools
Thursday 10 September 2015
Test date for out of county pupils
Saturday 12 September 2015
Assessment decision sent to parents
Wednesday 14 October 2015
Once again parents will be able to register for the Kent Test online via www.kent.gov.uk/ola. If they register online and provide an e-mail address, they will receive their child’s assessment decision via e-mail on 15 October 2014. I do recommend this process as each year postal results for some children are delayed.
Test Specification for 2016 entry
Kent candidates will take the tests on Thursday 10 September 2015. External candidates will take them on Saturday 12 September. Everyone will take the tests on one day.
The first test will be an English and Maths paper in multiple-choice format with a separate machine readable (OMR) answer sheet. The English test is the first section. The whole test will take an hour to administer, plus any admin time before formal timing begins. Each sub-test will take 25 minutes, and will be preceded by a five minute practice exercise. Children will be required to stop at the end of the English section and wait for instructions before they start the Maths paper. The English will involve a comprehension exercise plus some additional questions drawn from a set designed to test literacy skills.
The second test will be a Reasoning paper in multiple-choice format. It will take about an hour* to administer, including the practice drills and questions. It will contain a verbal reasoning section and a non-verbal reasoning section of roughly the same length, with the verbal reasoning being the first part. The non-verbal reasoning will be split into four short sections, administered and timed individually (as in the previous tests).
There will still be a writing exercise which will not be marked but may be taken into consideration in borderline cases referred to the local Head Teacher Assessment Panel. 40 minutes will be allowed for the writing task, including 10 minutes to plan the piece.
*Exactly how long the reasoning test takes will depend on how quickly the practice drill and questions are completed before each timed section.
Scores will still be age standardised, using a national standardisation. The score range on each paper will be 69 or 70 to 140 or 141 as now, so the maximum aggregate standardised score would be 280 or 282.
Until Kent pupils have taken the tests it will not be possible to predict the threshold for grammar school but it is probable that it will be set in a similar way, using a minimum aggregate score and a minimum level for a single score.
Wherever the threshold is set, those schools which rank children by aggregate score for admission will continue to work down their list of applicants in score order, taking the highest scorers first, so the only effect of the changes will be that the scores involved will be different because fewer tests are involved.
You cannot appeal against a Kent Test Result, only against a decision not to be awarded a grammar school place you have applied for.
When results are sent out on 14th October, they will simply confirm whether the child has passed the Kent tests or not. Further details will be supplied to the primary school headteacher who will be able to give parents the exact scores. Parents will be able to ask their primary school for this information. Those who consider appealing are in for a long wait, as you cannot appeal until you are allocated a school on 1st March 2016. The first appeals are generally heard by the beginning of May. Feel sorry for those given an assessment on 14th October 2015, whose appeal is not heard until the middle of June 2016!
The pass mark is set to select 21% of Kent children and may vary from year to year. This variation does not mean that the test varies in standard. Kent County Council set a new test structure for 2015 entry explained in the Test Specification above, and some of the articles whose links are provided at the beginning of this article.
All parents of Kent grammar school applicants will have their decision letters placed in the post on 14 October 2015 to arrive on doorsteps on the 15th. For those parents who registered on line and provided a valid email address, an email will be sent after 4pm, on the 14 October. For those parents who registered online but did not provide a valid email address they will be able to log onto the OLA website to view the decisions after 5pm. These contain just the pass/fail decision, for individual marks contact your primary school. If you wish to contact me about not passing the test, please find out marks first.
Consult the article on In Year Admissions if you are looking for a new grammar school at other times.
Primary school headteachers are provided with the results at the beginning of October. They have the right to apply for a 'Headteacher Assessment' (often called Headteacher Appeal) for children who have not reached the pass standard. This is carried out on a confidential basis without parents being informed. A Panel of headteachers then considers a selection of work submitted by the primary school, the English written paper taken as part of the Kent Test and a report containing evidence from the Primary headteacher. This process produces a further 4% to bring the total of 25% across Kent. As you will see from the statistics in the article above, the reality is that overall around 28% of children are judged selective by these two processes, as HTA is controlled by panels of Headteachers who do not work to a formula. Children from outside Kent are considered on the same basis but do not count in the statistical exercise. If the child is successful in the headteacher assessment, then the decision is regarded as a pass on an equal footing with those who gained automatic selection through test results. This means that the child is found selective and this decision is recognised at all Kent grammar schools. Importantly, Government has confirmed that this process is an assessment, not a review. The difference in definition is important as government legislation places severe constraints on applicants applying for a Review in authorities such as Medway (go to Review).
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE ONLY TWO REASONS FOR TAKING THE KENT TESTS AFTER THE DUE DATE:
- 1) YOUR CHILD IS ILL FOR ONE OR BOTH TESTS AND THIS IS CONFIRMED BY A DOCTOR'S LETTER;
2) YOU MOVE INTO KENT AFTER 1 JULY 2015 AND SUBMIT YOUR SCAF BY 10 DECEMBER
OTHERWISE YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL APRIL AND SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS THROUGH THE IN YEAR ADMISSION PROCESS WHO WILL ARRANGE TESTING (Contact KCC admissions to confirm process).
A total of 28% out of the whole cohort of children living Kent were found selective for 2015 entry. The proportion of children in the west of the county taking the tests is lower than in the east, whilst the proportion passing is higher. You will find comprehensive statistics here.
- Five Kent grammar schools also offer places through their own tests. These are: Dover Grammar School for Boys; Dover Grammar School for Girls; Folkestone School for Girls; The Harvey Grammar School, Folkestone; and Mayfield Grammar School, Gravesend. Eligibility for admission depends on success at either the school's own test or the Kent Test, although if the school is oversubscribed, as happened with all four schools for 2015 entry, places are awarded through the oversubscription criteria which do not take into account which test was passed to achieve eligibility.
- The following schools will offer some or all of their places to the highest scoring applicants. You need to read the oversubscription criteria to determine the rules: Dartford Grammar School, Dartford Grammar School for Girls, Judd School, Maidstone Grammar School, Rainham Mark Grammar School, Rochester Grammar School (Girls), Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Skinners School, Tonbridge Grammar School (Girls). For some of these you will not know the pass mark before applying, although there is guidance elsewhere on this website (use the search engine). Depending on the school, the mark may only be determined by the scores of those applying and will become public in March 2016 when decisions are announced.
- Details of Kent Test result statistics for 2014 entry are posted here. Medway Test result and Review statistics for 2014 entry are here.