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Displaying items by tag: Kent Test

Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:00

The Conundrum of Kent Test scores solved

Like many others, I have puzzled over the low pass mark of 106 required in each of the three assessments of English, Maths and Reasoning to produce 21% of children taking the Kent Test assessed of grammar school standard.

The Tests are nationally standardised so one would expect an untutored child on each test to score 113 to come in the top 21%. An initial look at these figures might suggest that Kent children are less bright than average, but a closer investigation of scores for the individual subjects, shows a very different picture and provides a full explanation of the conundrum.

Quite simply, whilst the majority of children have scored considerably more highly in the reasoning test than in the mathematics or English, a large number have failed to reach the standard in one of maths or English, dragging down the pass mark to provide the numbers.

As a result 4446 Kent children reached the pass level of 106 in English, and 4884 in maths, out of a total of 9902 taking the test, but less than half this figure will have passed in both!

In summary, Kent children have outperformed the national standard in all three assessments, whether through natural ability or the effect of tutoring on maths and English being open to question. However, the tutoring effect is still seen to the full in the Reasoning assessment, although this now counts for just one third of the assessment compared with the two thirds of previous years.

In my view, this data shows the new Kent Test has been highly successful if its aim was to select children with ability in both maths and English, and reduce the effect of tutoring, although the days of the bright male mathematician whose literacy skills are poor are over, if this pattern is repeated in future years.

The Judd School, which has been influential in the design of the new test, with its call to reduce the effect of coaching and improve standards of literacy in its intake, should be well pleased with this outcome and is surely likely to back off from its plan to introduce its own test for the 2016 intake.

I have already published an article on the Kent Test outcomes, and another on my reflections of the admissions season this year, both of which now need to be read in the context of the above. As soon as I receive the necessary data from KCC, I shall also publish a full analysis of Kent (and Medway) test outcomes. .....

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
Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:00

Amazing Week for the website: Kent Test Results

This version of the website has been running for four years, a previous one for another four years. In all that time I have never seen anything that compares to the activity on the site over the past four days. However, the signs were not propitious when my computer crashed on Wednesday morning and my wizard took three hours to remove the virus that had infected it, in the middle of my attempt to prepare my article setting out the news and my comments about this year's new style Kent Test. 

However, I managed to finish it just in time for 4 p.m. and the website has been hit like never before. The news item Kent Test Results 2014: Initial Outcomes and Thoughts has already had almost three and a half thousand hits in three days, smashing all previous records (UPDATE: 5513 exactly a week on). Most of my other data is for the past four weeks, with the Information Page on Kent Grammar School Applications for Entry in 2015 which has recorded 11,433 hits from the 31,587 visitors. Not surprisingly, the next most popular is the Information Page on Medway Grammar School Applications 2015.

Reprints of Newspaper articles posted this year have also proved a great hit. The most recent one, appearing in Kent On Sunday, about advice for secondary school admissions has already attracted 1857 hits in two weeks; shortage of primary places 1328 over the same period; hit rates rising all the way back to February, when an article I wrote on accountability of academies and their relationship with KCC has attracted an astonishing 25,201 hits. 

Over the years the site has attracted a limited number of comments, but the Kent Test page has again broken all records with 25 browsers initially posting their thoughts on the test and my article.  However, ........

Published in Peter's Blog
Sunday, 07 September 2014 00:00

Kent Test 2014: Final Thoughts before the test

I am currently receiving a number of enquiries about the Kent Test, mainly concerning the marking system and am happy to supply my latest thoughts here. However, please remember that I do not have a formal connection with KCC so these are my views alone.

The issues are certainly attracting strong media attention. There have already been a couple of radio programmes looking at the subject; I believe that Meridian is planning a news item on Tuesday, on the eve of the test, with the BBC proposing to look at it in the SE Politics show on Sunday. They won't be alone.

You will find the specification of the new test in the Information section to the right of this page, 'Secondary School Admission', 'Kent Grammar Schools'. This information article also includes links to some of the relevant news items about the test.

Apart from the issue of coachability, the main feature of the new tests is the introduction of a literacy element, and I am confident that the marking structure will require a certain standard to be reached in English. We are told that “The English will involve a comprehension exercise plus some additional questions drawn from a set designed to test literacy skills”, but remember it is still a multiple choice assessment.......

Published in News Archive

Updated annually, most recently July 2020

Non Registration for Kent or Medway Test
Sadly, each year a number of families fail to register their child for the Kent or Medway test in time, for a variety of reasons, often very understandably. It is likely that numbers will be much larger this year with families confused or overwhelmed by Coronavirus, and I have already been contacted by a number of these. Because of this, I would like to see an exception made in this unique year but have no expectation this will happen.   

Unfortunately, neither Kent nor Medway Authorities will consider late applications for registration for Testing in September.  In such a case, in Kent, you can only be arranged for your child to be tested after March 2021. The one exception is if you have moved into the Local Authority area after the deadlines, in which case you should contact the Local Authority for advice. In Medway there is, disgracefully,  no facility for late testing.  

Further details below

Published in News and Comments
Tagged under

judd school

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Following the decision of KCC to change the Kent Test to reduce coachability and introduce an English assessment for the 2015 and onwards Kent Test, Judd has decided to stay with KCC. I have left this item on the website, as I consider these plans were a major factor in the decision to change the format of the Kent Test.

 

The Judd School is planning to leave the Kent Test structure and set up its own admission tests in mathematics and English for admission in 2016. You will find the school statement here. This comes as no surprise as the school has made clear for some time that it is disillusioned with the Kent Test and believes its own tests will enable it better to select boys of the highest ability, and those with a stronger background in English. I have looked at the background to this proposal in a previous article

Judd will therefore be the first Kent grammar school not to accept Kent Test results for over ten years, since the grammar schools of North West Kent scrapped their own separate admission procedure. Five other grammar schools: Dover Boys and Girls, Harvey Grammar and Folkestone School for Girls, and Mayfield Grammar in Gravesend now offer success at their own tests for admission, but they have kept the Kent Test as an alternative route. Loss of this prestigious school will be a great blow to Kent County Council, which has introduced its own new test arrangement for 2015 entry in an attempt to keep all schools on board.

This article looks at the reasons behind the move, including the problems with the current Kent Test notably around coaching of the two reasoning papers as confirmed by data on individual subjects. It also considers the consequences and future of the Kent Test, and dips into the influence of the Test data on appeals to other grammar schools..........

Published in News Archive
Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:33

New Kent Test Arrangements Announced

Arrangements for the Kent Test  to be taken in September 2014 have now been announced. Kent County Council has only awarded a one year contract, with an option to be extended, because of the uncertainty over some schools choosing to rely on their own tests in the future which may call for a re-assessment of the process. KCC's press release reads: 

The contract for the county’s Kent Test (11+) for September 2014 has been awarded to GL Assessment. 

GL Assessment has provided the county’s Kent Test papers for many years, but the new contract will introduce some changes intended to deliver a more sophisticated assessment process while reducing the burden of testing for primary schools and children.

Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Education said: “We are pleased to be working with GL Assessment, which has a proven track record of helping the council deliver assessment decisions within a tight time frame. We are also excited about the potential for flexible development offered by the new process, which will give us a wide range of assessment information without requiring children to spend longer in exams.”

Discussions with the test providers will begin shortly to determine the finer details of the new process, however the main elements are:.....

Published in News Archive
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Wednesday, 16 October 2013 07:30

Kent Eleven Plus results

Kent Eleven Plus decisions are now available for parents online, a hard copy being sent by post tomorrow.The decision is just one of pass/fail, with marks available from the child's primary school. The pass marks for the Kent 11 plus Test have been varied slightly from last year. Children must either have achieved a total score of 360, with a minimum of 118 in each paper, or alternatively found to have been selective on the Headteacher Assessment (HTA) The pass is set to select 21% of children attending Kent primary schools (in those parts of Kent that were once the traditional selective areas), the same requirements then being applied for all other children in Kent and out of county as well. The aggregate score of 360 is the same as for 2013 entry, although the minimum in each paper has been relaxed slightly this year from the previous 119, to produce the 21% target. As last year, the maximum score is 423. Approximately another 4% are found selective through the HTA process. If your child is found successful at the HTA they are classified as selective and will be treated equally with any other child at grammar schools that ask for a pass as the academic standard (i.e. except for the super-selectives). If parents wish to know the scores on individual papers, they will need to contact their primary school. The number of children passing the Kent test has risen slightly this year to 5370, although the number of Kent passes has fallen slightly; further details below. 

In practice,.......

Published in News Archive
Saturday, 10 August 2013 21:27

Kent Test for 2014 entry goes out to tender again

Kent County Council has cancelled its initial tendering process for a provider for the Kent Test over the next three years, and substituted a new process, but still working to the first test being taken in September 2014. You will the specification here, but need to scroll down to the bottom and use the link to ‘final tender document’.

The main change from the previous proposal is that KCC is now asking for tenders for a new Test for grammar school selection, for one year only, with an anticipated extension period of another twelve months.

This change of approach is partly the result of KCC being pulled in a variety of directions by its grammar schools, who are seeking different outcomes from the Kent Test as explained below.

A key principle behind the laid down process is that: “The Council and Kent’s grammar schools wish to reduce the capacity for coaching/ preparation to undermine the effectiveness of selection tests used in the process”.  However, the means by which this aim is to be met is left to the tenderers and I am afraid I can't see how this it to be achieved.

The new specification tells us that the test will remain as multiple choice across two papers, designed: “to assess children’s ability in numeracy, literacy and reasoning skills in September (of Year 6)  taking account as appropriate of National Curriculum expectations”.

This task poses a number of problems, the first being the assessment of literacy,.......

Published in News Archive

Kent County Council is currently considering tenders for its 11 plus test to be taken from September 2015 to September 2017. There are just two realistic possibilities, NFER and CEM. You can find the main contract detail for the new contract here

The NFER has set Kent tests for many years, but there is a sense that this is time for a change, and the new specification gives a nudge towards CEM which I believe is the likely winner. I have recently come across a website that provides considerable detail about the 11 plus tests provided by CEM, the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University. Currently the Centre provides bespoke 11 plus tests for grammar schools in Bexley; Birmingham; Buckinghamshire; Shropshire; Walsall; Warwickshire, and Wolverhampton; together with Henrietta Barnet School in Hampstead and Chelmsford County High School (two super-selective schools). 

The website is www.11plus.eu which has no connection with the CEM Centre in Durham, although its name was surely chosen deliberately.....

Published in News Archive
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