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Displaying items by tag: Kent Test

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:.....

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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,.......

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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,.......

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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 which has no connection with the CEM Centre in Durham, although its name was surely chosen deliberately.....

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The Judd School in Tonbridge (grammar) has outlined the likely prospect of a Judd Entry Test for entry from September 2015, completely breaking away from the Kent 11 plus. The two Folkestone grammar schools have already introduced their own alternative to the Kent 11 plus to be taken this autumn and in following years. Both developments are described below........

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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 .

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Monday, 18 March 2013 00:00

Kent Test: Proposed new arrangements

Kent County Council has at last brought forward its plans for replacing the current Kent Test, which has been the subject of considerable criticism for a variety of reasons, notably the unfairness and skewing  of outcomes because of the intensive coaching culture which has developed around the Test. A totally inadequate survey of headteachers took place over the Christmas holidays, that provided little useful information, although it is being used to justify the proposals below. You will find the Report to be discussed by the KCC Education Cabinet Committee here.

The main proposals are:......

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Friday, 08 February 2013 16:08

Headteacher Survey for Kent 11 Plus Review

At the beginning of January, I published here a critique of the appallingly designed headteacher survey on the current Review of the Kent test, carried out over the Christmas holidays. Paul Francis of the Kent Messenger has now obtained the results of the survey, which fully support my criticisms and suggest headteachers would have been better off concentrating on the Christmas turkey rather than wasting their time on this one.


Six of the seven questions were multiple choice with a yes/no response required and no opportunity to explain the respondent’s reasons. Only one of the six questions produced a clear opinion. Only one question, down at number four, allowed an open reply. This outlined the Kent Test make up and then asked "Should KCC change the tests in any other way (other than ‘what’ is not provided, so this becomes meaningless)". Because the question asked for possible changes, these were nearly all that were provided, and support for the status quo is negligible, contrary to the outcomes of the multiple choice answers. Only 56 respondents gave suggestions for change, out of a total of 135.

In other words, with just 10% of Kent’s headteachers putting forward proposals for change to a badly worded question, mostly just one suggestion across a wide spectrum of possibilities, this whole section is clearly invalid as an outcome and no conclusions should be drawn from it,  

My main fear is .......

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Updated with outcomes of Buckinghamshire's solution to 11 plus issues

The pressures on Kent’s eleven plus testing procedures continue to increase as further evidence mounts to underline the East/West divide. At the bottom of this article you will find Buckinghamshire's (13 grammar schools) solution to similar problems.  The main pressure is coming from the intensive coaching culture that pervades much of West Kent and which is responsible for seeing the Kent Test pass mark rise way above the natural level.  Kent selects 21% of eleven year olds across the county, the imbalance ranging in state schools from 10% in Dover to 36% in Sevenoaks, statistics which underline the extent of the problem. This range would increase even further if private schools are included (I am waiting for the figures from KCC). This means there are able children in East Kent being deprived of a grammar school place even though there are vacancies, and some children in West Kent securing grammar school places not on grounds of ability, but through intensive coaching. West Kent children who have not been coached can lose out in two ways if they don’t make automatic selection, as statistics show it is harder to gain a place amongst the additional 4% added through headteacher assessment, and far harder to win a place on appeal than in the east of the county......

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Kent County Council is currently reviewing its 11 plus procedures, my previous comments appearing here. A Headteacher Review Group was set up to consider the process and KCC is now consulting headteachers to find out their views on the group’s recommendations.

As headteachers have not been sent the Review Group Report, it is difficult for them to make an informed response, but some clues as to the Group’s thinking can be found in the Headteacher Survey.

There are just two recommendations quoted, which are sketchily reported. These are:

1) Coaching. “The Review Group listened to concerns about the pressures related to coaching, which it was felt did not work to the long term benefit of children or the schools which admitted them. The group’s recommendation is to source tests which are as resistant to coaching as possible, and for which practice or familiarisation materials are not commercially available”.

2) Administration. –“The review group also recommended a process which is sufficiently robust to identify children as suitable or not suitable for selective education at a grammar school, but which takes less time to administer and would enable pupils from inside and outside Kent to be treated in the same way”.

That appears to be it! I must admit I find it difficult to believe this is the full import of the Review Group Report, and my own thoughts follow later in this article. KCC’s consultation was sent out in the last week of last term, the busiest of the year, responses required by Monday 7th January, the first day of term, suggesting the Authority is not looking for a big response on this important issue. Indeed, I was trying to get hold of a copy of the consultation the day before the end of term and several headteachers knew nothing about it......

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