Supporting Families
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 07:12

11 Plus results by age: Kent passes the test; Medway Test discriminates sharply, especially against younger boys

There has been considerable discussion in the media in the last few days following reports claiming that children born in the early part of the school academic year, which runs from September to August, do the best in school, and in life. As a June birth I had a particular interest in this topic, especially when there has been reference to 11 plus testing also giving this advantage. Last year I collected the relevant figures for the Kent and Medway 11 plus tests for 2012 entry, and give these below, followed by my conclusions. However, in summary, where there are multiple choice tests which are age standardised, there is little difference. But when written work is also taken into account to the large extent that happens in the Medway test, then there is a real discrepancy between performance related to month of birth. This effect is compounded by the sharp difference in pass rate between boys and girls resulting in real discrimination against younger boys in the Medway test .


11 Plus Test results by month of birth
September 2000 - August 2001
Kent Test Medway Test
% Year
% Year
Sep 324 8.1
71 9.4 26.9
Oct 320 8.0 58 7.7
Nov 353 8.8 74 9.8
Dec 335 8.3
73 9.7 28.3
Jan 304 7.6 62 8.2
Feb 330 8.2 79 10.5
Mar 285 7.1
61 8.1 21.9
Apr 310 7.7 44 5.8
May 372 9.2 60 7.9
Jun 378 9.4
58 7.7 22.9
July 371 9.2 63 8.3
Aug 340 8.5 52 6.9
TOTAL 4022 100 755 100

I have collated ages into year quarters in the table above to smooth out variations caused by small numbers. 

In Kent where 21% of children are selected by age standardised multiple choice tests, there is little difference apart from a small surge in the youngest quarter. The only explanation I can suggest for this is that when the final 4% of succssful children are identified through headteacher assessment some panels may over compensate younger children when looking at school work.  

The real difference shows up in Medway, where two fifths of the total mark is awarded to a single piece of written English. Here there is a significant difference between the performance of children born in the first half of the year, who do well, and those in the second half of the year. Test performance which selects 23% of children is likely to be the main factor here, but if the English test is properly age standardised, then the Medway Review could be the main factor compounds the discrepancy for the final 2% of children, as it follows a stringent procedure that does not take age into account. 

So we have a third more Medway girls than boys being assessed suitable for grammar school this year, as shown in an earlier article, and nearly a quarter more children born in the first six months than in the second half  of the year. From this it is clear that the structure of the Medway Test works to discriminate sharply against younger boys, as well as younger children and boys in general. It is hardly surprising that Medway can support three grammar schools for girls and just two for boys, the remaining grammar school being mixed!

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:58

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