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Wednesday, 14 November 2012 22:27

KCC Review of the Kent Test, and high scoring in the Test.

This article covers a variety of new Kent Test related issues, including the forthcoming review, relative success of private and state schools, high scorers (including numbers of children with each high score in the Kent Test), and concluding with a note to posters on the eleven plus exams website forum. Please note that I do not publish pass rates in the Kent Test for individual schools, as I consider such league tables unhelpful, depending extensively on the calibre of the children being tested, and the amount of coaching undertaken by pupils from each school. State schools should have no influence on the performance of their children, except through the quality of maths teaching, which can perhaps be identified from the proportion of children achieving a Level 5 in Key Stage 2 SATS, as reported on the Education Department website, and through the consideration of work for a minority of children through the Headteacher Assessment. Some local newspapers reproduce such tables, but I am afraid I am unable to respond to requests about individual schools. There is also further information about test results in several articles below, including the most recent one......

Review of Kent Test

There appears much speculation about the Review of the Kent Test, with the recommendations of a Headteacher Panel  likely to become public in the next few weeks. Of course these recommendations are not policy and, as with previous reviews, will need to go out to consultation with schools, a process that will take some months. There is no necessity to go out to consultation with parents and I would be very surprised  if this were to happen. In any case, the contract to administer the tests is also coming up for renewal (currently with NFER), and so I would be very surprised if, in spite of some comments to the contrary, any new form of assessment comes into being before the test for entry in 2015 (i,e, September 2014 sitting). 

One must remember that the Kent Test was introduced to identify those children appropriately placed in a grammar school. Those schools that choose to use it to identify high scorers, are in fact using it for a purpose for which it is not intended. I do not anticipate that the Review will alter this position, and indeed it should not. I suspect therefore, that in the longer term those schools may introduce an additional tougher test to discriminate between those who are the highest scorers.

The problem can be seen from the two following tables which show clearly the influence of those private schools which coach explicitly for the eleven plus, especially in the West of the County.  Whilst a small minority of these schools discourage 11 plus applications as they want children to remain in their own schools or connected senior schools, it is readily apparent from visiting a few private school websites, that a main attraction is offering explicit support for grammar school, and super selective grammar school entrance. Private schools can of course carry out such preparation in a way that state schools are not allowed and so have a built in advantage for their pupils. It must also be borne in mind that some of the private school successes may choose to stay in private education. 

State v Private Schools and the 11 plus

Number of children tested and passing the Kent Test in state and private schools

Grammar School Candidates Tested State  Passes State Tested Private  Passes Private No of private schools
% of all passes
from Private Schools
All of Kent 8383 3620 572 452 41 11%
Sevenoaks 552 331 101 83 8 20%
Tonbridge 288


98 85 5 38%
Tunbridge Wells 350 200 107 85 6 30%
West Kent 1190 669 306 253 19 27%
Rest of Kent 7193 2951 266 199 22 7%

As can be seen, this table underlines the powerful influence of private schools in West Kent, who secure over a quarter of all grammar school passes, against the rest of Kent where the proportion falls to less than 7%. I accept that private school children may be drawn from a wider geographical area than state school children, but see no reason why these results are not generally accurate. In this article West Kent refers solely to the Kent districts of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge, and does not include North West Kent (Dartford and Gravesham).  

The next table underlines the increased dominance of private education in West Kent on high scorers. 


Number of children tested and passing the Kent Test with a combined score of greater than 407 in state and private schools

Grammar School Candidates Tested State >407 State Tested Private > 407 Private No of private schools
% of all › 407
 from Private Schools
All of Kent 8383 1085 572 258 41 19%
Sevenoaks 552 160 101 51 8 24%
Tonbridge 288


98 67 5 58%
Tunbridge Wells 350 104 107 59 6 36%
West Kent 1190 313 306 177 19 36%
Rest of Kent 7193 772 266 81 22

Here we can see that over one third of all children who score an aggregate of greater than 407 come from private schools, and over two thirds of all children who score over 407 from private schools are situated in West Kent.  I believe that, with the majority of the private schools targeting success in the eleven plus, in a way that state schools are not allowed, this shows that many (not all) are highly successful in their aim. 

High scorers in the Kent Test

There has been great interest this year in the number of high scorers in the Kent Test, especially with the range of scores in each test being extended from 70-140, to 69-141, meaning that the highest aggregate has increased from 420 to 423 for 2013 entry. My original understanding was that this was merely seeing the 140 score stretched to cover the two scores of 140 & 141. However, the following table suggests this is not so. Each entry refers to the date the test was taken, for entry in the following year. 

High Scorers in the Kent Test
Aggregate Score September 2011 Scores September 2012 Scores
423   662
422   68
421   67
420 589 85
419 98 80
418 76 76
417 93 83
416   70

This shows that the number of children gaining the top four scores in each of the two years is very similar - 856 in 2012, 882 in 2013. 

However, great caution must be addressed to these figures as, for example, in 2012, 326 of these top scorers came from schools outside Kent, whereas just 277ooc children actually took up places in Kent grammar schools, and only 129 were admitted to grammar schools recruiting on high scores. In other words, a high proportion of these high scorers probably never had any real intention of applying for Kent grammar schools. 

Eleven Plus Exams Website

Please note that I spend considerable time and effort both obtaining the myriad of information published on this website and analysing and organising its presentation, so am rightly upset when parts of it are reproduced without acknowledgement on the forum of the highly commercial eleven plus exams website. My efforts are purely to ensure that this information is in the public domain, as I believe parents have a right to know the facts with regard to admissions, appeals and many other aspects of what I call the periphery of education, but I believe use of it by others entitles me to that acknowledgement. I ask for nothing more.  As many browsers will know, the 11 plus website takes a highly moral tone with regard to references to kentadvice, apparently and unsuccessfully intent on trying to  keep it  a secret. Indeed when I made one of my rare incursions on to the site last week to update and correct a link which had been posted to an item below, it was instantly removed and replaced by what to me was a highly offensive and personal attack, some of which was self-evidently untrue. As it happens, the poster clearly recognised she had gone over the top, and the posting was later removed (we all know the perils of rashly posting on social networking sites!). I have tried to take this up with a (fairly) courteous private message to the moderator, sent  last  Sunday, but have not even received the courtesy of a reply - presumably the only acknowledgement I shall get that the poster is in the wrong. For myself, I won't be making any more corrections to wrong or out of date data, or otherwise posting on that website.  SUBSEQUENTLY - any indirect reference to me appears to be censored. What are they afraid of? Oddly enough this form of censorship does not appear permitted according to Forum rules, although when I have pointed out blatant breaches this is ignored!





Last modified on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 17:10

1 comment

  • Comment Link Sunday, 18 November 2012 20:33 posted by Stressed Kent Mum

    Thanks for getting this info and posting it, its appreciated. PETER: My pleasure

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