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Friday, 04 October 2013 22:09

MedwayTest Result: Dramatic shift in fortunes of boys, together with a leap in the number of candidates

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
 boys 1460 871 331 38  22.7
 girls 1502 971 356 37  23.7
TOTAL 2962 1842 687 37 23.2
boys NOT RECORDED 758 278 37  
 girls  FOR 2012  899  375  42  


2926 1657 653 39  22.3
boys   239 132 55  
 girls   276 163 59  


   515  295  57  

 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:......

1) A small increase of 36 children  in the cohort, is swamped by a massive increase of 185 children taking the Test, comprising 113 boys and 72 girls. This increase in candidates with roughly the same percentage passing fully explains the sharp rise in the pass mark, which is reached by what is called local standardisation. The test was no more difficult to pass, it's just that there was a much higher proportion of weaker candidates, producing this effect (sorry if it is rather complicated to follow!). Last year was the first for a return to having the majority of children taking the test in schools after several years in large centres (leading to multiple complaints about test administration which have now gone away - see previous articles). A reader of this website has suggested that, whilst it has taken a year to kick in, more children are now taking the test in the familiar surroundings of their own school and this will be the new norm. I agree that this is the likeliest explanation. Indeed my fallible memory is that pass scores were around this higher level when the tests were previously administered in schools.   

 2)  Most years it is impossible to fix a pass mark that awards passes to the exact target figure of 23% of the cohort.  For the 2013 tests the pass percentage of 23.2% is just above the target, for 2012, at 22.3% it was below. 

3) The most remarkable change is in the proportion of boys (and girls) passing the Medway Test for entry in 2014.  Although there is an increase in the number of girls taking the Medway Test, the number passing has actually fallen to provide 23.7% of the cohort with passes, still greater than the average 23.2%. However, the number of boys passing has sharply increased by 53, bringing the pass rate close to the target figure of 23%, at 22.7%. As in (1) above, could the increase in boys passing be down to more bright boys taking the test because it is administrered in their own schools?  I have not yet obtained the comparative results for Kent children, who supply most of the additional Medway grammar school children, mainly coming from the Walderslade and Bluebell Hill area. 

4)The consequences may be quite dramatic although can be  affected by the pattern of Review outcomes. Quite simply, both Rainham Mark Grammar and Rochester Maths have been full for some years, with Chatham Grammar School for Boys taking the hit (although most of its intake have traditionally put the school as their first choice). The likelihood is therefore that Chatham Boys Grammar is likely to see a much larger intake incorporating most of those 53 boys which will provide a massive boost to its fortunes, in spite of its Special Measures status.  The popularity of Rochester Maths School fell sharply last year with the continued decline in the number of boys passing the Medway Test, and so they also will see more pressure on places for 2014 entry. As for the girls grammars, neither Chatham Girls nor Fort Pitt filled on allocation last March and Rochester Grammar, in spite of its selection of the highest scorers, took all girls who had passed  and applied to it as their highest choice. Again with the caveat that we don't yet know the Review outcomes, for girls who have passed the Medway Test there is now a much greater likelihood that they will be be awarded their first choice grammar school. 



Last modified on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 07:34

1 comment

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 15 October 2013 14:27 posted by Tracey Debell

    Interesting information! So does that mean that there will be a chance of no grammar place for a boys coming from further afield i.e. the Hoo Peninsula, what with Chatham Grammar taking from the Kent test also? PETER: Last year there were many grammar school places going spare. Even if one adds up the additional numbers there are not enough boys to fill the three schools if one counts Rainham Mark Grammar. You may not get the school of your choice, but there will still not be a shortage of grammar school places for boys (or girls) in Medway.

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