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Displaying items by tag: Kent Test

The recent Conference on the Kent Test and Admission to Grammar Schools in Kent which took place at County Hall Maidstone on Wednesday, was a great success, with those attending including: primary and grammar school representatives and headteachers, parents, school governors, appeal presenting officers and panellists, tutors and media representatives.

The Conference was set up to focus on five themes: the New Kent Test, sat earlier this month for the second time; alternatives to the Test, with five Kent grammar schools now setting their own tests as an additional way of qualifying for grammar school; how primary schools approach the Kent Test and the controversial issue of coaching; appeals to grammar schools; and the range of expectations of standards for admission to Kent grammar schools. The four speakers, myself included, gave presentations that covered all these issues between them,  and you will find a copy of my own presentation here, with coverage by Kent on Sunday here

Kent Test Conference

Matthew Bartlett at Kent Test Conference
photo courtesy of Kent on Sunday

 

Interestingly, and topically there was considerable emphasis placed on opening grammar school admissions to a wider social profile, given the announcement by KCC the day after the Conference that they were setting up a commission for this very purpose. Matthew Bartlett, head of Dover Grammar School for Girls, underlined this theme by talking about how the alternative Dover Test had widened opportunities for local girls, a school with 10% Free School Meals, whilst still producing some of the best examination results in the county.......

Published in Peter's Blog
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 18:41

Kent Test Results 2015, Initial figures

UPDATE 18/10 WITH ADDITIONAL DATA SEPARATING PERFORMANCE OF BOYS AND GIRLS

THERE IS NOW CONSIDERABLE EXTRA DATA IN THE TRANSCRIPT OF A TALK I GAVE ON THE KENT TEST AND ADMISSION TO GRAMMAR SCHOOL AT THE RECENT CONFERENCE IN COUNTY HALL. 

Kent Test results have  now been published with to me the surprising feature that the pass mark is the same as last year, an automatic pass being awarded to candidates scoring 106 on each of the three sections - English; maths and reasoning – along with an aggregate score across the three sections of 320. I say surprising, for reasons outlined in an article I wrote after last year’s test, which was the first of the new style test designed to reduce the coaching effect and introduce an element of literacy to the test. This total will again be around 21% of the total age cohort across the county, further details to follow as I receive them.

An additional number of children will have been found to be of grammar school standard through what is called the Headteacher Assessment, usually around 6% of the total. You will find full details of the whole Kent Test process hereOverall, these two processes last year yielded passes for 27% of Kent children in the age cohort.  

As with last year, the number of Kent girls being found suitable for grammar school is higher than the number of boys, although as I don't yet have the size of the cohort, it is impossible to predict with confidence last year's finding that 2.9% more of Kent girls passed than boys, although I anticipate a similar finding.

As last year, I  shall be publishing a second article later when I receive more data from KCC. 

Initial figures released by KCC are as follows:....

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As regular browsers will know, I make considerable use of the Freedom of Information Act to secure information about education matters in Kent and Medway for parents. However, it is important to use the service responsibly and not make requests that will obviously be refused on grounds of unreasonableness. Two recent requests about the Kent Test:

I understand head teachers will now know our child's results under
this act please can I know my child's results too?

 

Please could I see a copy of the Kent Test for the
years 2014 & 2015?

 

Very reasonably and politely, Kent County Council responded:

Published in Peter's Blog
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I was invited to speak at the National Tutoring Conference on 1st April 2015, to the title: "The Kent 11 Plus test was changed to make it less susceptible to coaching. What happened next?" The following is the script I planned to follow, but as those who have heard me speaking before will know. Do not assume I kept to it!

Kent is the largest Local Authority in the country, with 20% of the nation’s grammar schools, 32 in number, all admitting students through success in the Kent 11 plus. Around three years ago, the Cabinet Member for Education in Kent uttered those immortal words: “not fit for purpose” about the Kent Test. There were two main issues, firstly that tutoring was introducing an unfair skew into the outcomes, and secondly that the absence of any element of literacy in the assessments was allowing too many children who were unable to write properly through to grammar school.

I hope you will find that many of the conclusions in this talk apply to grammar schools in other parts of the country.......

Published in Newspaper Articles
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Monday, 26 January 2015 16:22

Kent Test Results 2014: Girls on top

As in previous years, I have prepared a variety of statistics relating to the Kent Test, published below along with my comments. 

Headlines:

  • Overall, 28% of girls and 25% of boys across Kent were assessed as of grammar school standard, a considerable shift in favour of girls' success over previous years, when the two figures have been very similar. 
  • 20.6% of children in the "selective areas" of Kent gained an automatic pass, close to the target figure of 21%. The new Kent Test for 2014 saw considerable change in the pattern of passes, with children required to reach a standardised score of 106 in each of the three assessments of reasoning, English and maths, with an aggregate score of 320. You will find further details here. More girls than boys took the test and more girls than boys passed. The figures for 2014 entry showed a bias towards boys success in the test, but the introduction of English has tilted it the other way. 
  •  Another 6.2% of children, attending linked primary schools in these areas of Kent, secured selective assessments through Headteacher Assessment, target 4%.
  • 49% % of Head Teacher Assessments were successful. As usual, the proportion of referrals and the percentage of passes is highest in the East and lowest in the West of Kent. Also as in previous years, many more girls than boys were found of grammar school ability by this route. With the girls also coming out on top in automatic passes, there is a fall of 82 in the number of boys  passing in spite of an increase of 165 in the number of boys attending  Kent state maintained schools in Year 6, and a rise of  141 girls passing against a decrease of 114 in the number of girls in Year 6. 

Note: All these statistics come with a health warning, as the number of children in private schools is not always known (possibly 6% across the county), and such schools are often omitted from statistics.

Published in News and Comments
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

Last Updated July 2019

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 understandable. 

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 2020. 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

Illness at time of Kent or Medway Test
If your child is unwell at the time of the 11 Plus, resist the temptation to send them into school ill. I recommend a doctor's certificate on the day to show they have a medical condition, and you must inform the school in advance. Arrangements will then be made for the child to take the tests late. Some schools will tell parents their children are obliged to take the test in any case. In such circumstances contact Kent County Council or Medway Council (good luck with this) Admissions Department immediately for advice. 

Each year I am approached by parents whose children have underperformed because of illness and the only remedy is to hope that an appeal panel will take this into consideration when considering an appeal in May or June. This can only happen if you can provide written evidence at the time of the child's illness, from doctor or school. 

Non-registration for Kent Test
There are two alternative routes forward in Kent, both of which come to the same outcome. You can either put your child's named down on the Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF) for a grammar school; they will not be offered a place and you can then appeal, when arrangements will be made for the child to take the test, probably in May. 

Alternatively, you can make a late application for a grammar school directly to the school on 22nd April, which is technically called an In Year Application. In Kent you apply directly to as many schools as you wish. Arrangements will then be made for your child to be tested. Some parents will also use this process to apply to further grammar schools, other than those on the original SCAF.  

Whichever of the above routes you have chosen, arrangements for testing are down to the individual school. Whilst the tests will be of similar format to those taken in September, the child's older age will be taken into account so that the pass level is of the same standard. 

If successful, and the school of your choice still has vacancies (likely to be around half a dozen grammar schools , mainly in East Kent) you will be offered a place. However, in most cases, the schools will be technically full and you will need to go to appeal. This is likely to be after the main appeals, so there will be pressure on places, but you still have chances of success, depending on the school. 

Medway Council, unlawfully, has no arrangements for late testing. 

 

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