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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:01 am 
KenR, perhaps you can provide some clarity to my question. I understand that the test for the KEGS is 2x45 mins, plus some reading test. Question.

1. How are the two 45mins tests divided for NVR,VR, Maths and English comprehension. I.e for each test, how many questions are set. Most of the practice papers that we are using, have say for example, 80 VR questions in 30 mins, and similar for englis, mathsd and VR. How do KEGS fit NVR/VR/Maths/English into 2x45 min tests. ?

2. What is standardisation? I have read the NFER site, it gives a small example but does not mean much. Using your method for calculating your child score, what would be the requirement for my son who will be 10yrs and 4mnths (Aug child) any ideas?

Any help helps....

 Post subject: KE Exam Further Info
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:57 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1284
Location: Birmingham

The only information that is available about last year's test is the detail that was provided by KEMum via her daugther who had a good memory:-

(Note: my son had forgotten completely what was in the test!!)

My daughter explained:

10 mins proof reading
10 mins word recognition with definitions
25 mins maths and verbal reasoning

15 mins break

10 mins non verbal
20 minutes maths
15 answering questions on proof reading and finding the meaning of made up words.

She said that the words were hard - ie meaning of words - inaugurate was one, and pompous another. However, in my experience children struggle terribly with word meanings. Maths - some was easy and some was hard. For example, how long did it take to fill different sizes of containers? Something like that, now I think that is harder than NFER papers which we practised - she is very good at maths, so if it was hard, I believe her. She was getting 90ish% on NFER. The words were 81 in 10 mins.

So in each 45 min test there will be a series of questions which will be classified as either Eng/VR, Non Verbal Reasoning or Numerical/Maths. Questions of the same type will be added together and a raw score produced. Te total number of questons of each type shouldbe similar to the total number I mentioned in my previous response.

Once you have the raw scores for each category these are age standardised (see a section about standardisation on this web site - there is a link from the home page)

The key thig to note about standardisation process is that it is a statistical proces that varies from exam to exam and year to year. So you can't state accurately what the standardised score is for a particular raw score for a child of a paticular age. However, what you can predict is that the standardisation process wil be very benefitial for your child as he is very young (August Birthday). The spread in raw scores cold be as much as 5-6% for children at opposite age extremes for the same Standardised score. So if you child is scoring well in NFER tests that sounds good news.

Hope this helps

 Post subject: question for KenR
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:55 pm 
Hi KenR

My son will be 11yrs old at the end of november and I am extremely worried that he will be disadvantaged because of his age. He is also taking the KE exam in Nov and I was hoping if you would work out a standardised score for me. It seems so confusing to me and you seem to be more proficient in this area.

I have read your previous posts and have to say you are a star, you have given a lot of help to other worried parents.

Keep up the good work.

Much obliged

 Post subject: KES & KE Exams
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:57 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1284
Location: Birmingham
Hi Andy,

I did obtain some information last year from the Foundation about the 2005 entry exams which I requested under the Freedom of Information Act. As a charity they didn't actually have to provide the information but they sent this anyway.

The following are some quotes from a previous thread which I think is posted under an 11 plus exams thread. I think it's titled regional variation or something like that.

Following on from my previous posting, you might be interested to know that following my FOI letter to the KE Grammar School Foundation they have supplied full details of the Standardised Scores, Raw Scores and Age profiles for the Sep't 2005 Entry (Exam held in Nov 2004).

I should add that they did point out that as a Charitable Trust they were not covered by the FOI Act, however they kindly send me the full details.

There are several pages of information which will probably take me some time to digest and analyse. At first sight, given that competition is intense in B/Ham as there are very few Grammar Schools, I was quite surprised that the Pass Standardised scores were not higher. In the Tests, there are 3 sections(VR, Numerical, & NVR) that are Standardised across 2 papers, and the scores added together to get a Pass Mark. For the 6 Grammar Schools in the Foundation the Standardisation Pass Mark ranged from 317 to 347. This equates to a highest Average Standardised Score across 3 sections of 116.

You may recall that the KE Foundation uses The Univ of Durham Curriculum Centre to set the tests not the typical NFER paper. They are under much more intense time pressure. The raw pass scores at my son's age (10.85 years) was also much lower than for the usual NFER type of VR and NVR paper. In the numerical sections this was only 56% (46/82). Much higher for VR and NVR.

Very Interesting reading.

Hi Patricia,

If you look at the figures I quoted in my post for my child's Age profile 10.85 years, you will see that the raw scores do indeed seem to be significantly lower than for other LEAs using the tradional NFER 11+ test route.

When these are converted to a Standardised Score however the results are similar to other LEA results, this is what you would expect. The average Standardised Score in each section required is about 116 which I think is about the 86th percentile.

To other Guest posters, please remember that these are the results for the 2004 11+ Exam, not the 2005 Exam. The results, and particularly the Standardisation, can vary from year to year, although I doubt in practice if they will be signififcantly different (assuming the exam was similar - which is was I believe).

Interestingly, I believe the inflated figure of 93%, which has been suggested as the pass mark, was probably the upper end of the range for the old NFER Exam tests. Those exams were last used 4 years ago.

This is all really interesting stuff here! Do you all think that the mean would be 100, or do they have a higher mean. I know that in most IQ tests the mean is 100 with SDs at 15 point intervals. Are the entrance tests the same? So if a child scores 118 as a standardised score in a standard NFER test, would this be directly comparable with an entrance test? The tests are supposed to be scientifically constructed, so if my child scores 125 standardised score on an NFER test, they should get into grammar, despite the entrance tests for KE in Brum being written by someone else. Am I right or seriously misguided!!

The Standardised Scores are by definition a normal distribution - this means that the mean or 50th percentile is always 100. As with all Educational the Standard Deviation (SD) is 15 points.

So if you child was scoring about 118 as a Standardised Score in an NFER Test that would be about the 87% percentile.

There are two problems however:-

How do you know your child is scoring a standardised score of 118 on a particular test - this does vary by test and candidates, and

The conversion of raw marks to standardised scores for a particular Grammar School will vary with Age profile - the difference can often be quite significant.

For example, in the Birmingham KE VR Tests in 2004 , to achieve a Standardised Score of 118 a child aged 11.18 years on the exam day would have to achieve score 71/100, whereas a child who was only 10.22 years would only have to score 65/100. Quite a difference.

You should also note that the raw 'pass' scores are significantly lower than the previous NFER tests (and most of those used in other Grammar Schools around the country).

How do you know that your child is scoring 125 in NFER? You can only guess. I assume that your child is scoring 90%+ in practice papers?? If they are scoring consistently highly in NFER tests then there is a good chance they will do well in the new style KE tests, unless the change in format completely thows them.

The above information relates to the KE Foundation Exams - not sure about the KES exam which is in January. Not even sure if they go through an age standardisation process. They should do.

In the case of KES however they do hold interviews for both Scholarship and borderline candidates. They may even get a report from the primary headmaster - (not totally sure about this).

As an aside, for the KE Foundation exam we found that the particular school that the Foundation allocate as the exam centre was also a factor. My son did the exam at KE Camp Hill boys and I have to say that we didn't like the way it was organised.

The boys were allocated an exam form room according to surname letters and parents and children had to wait in rows in the main assembly hall until your room was called. My son was waiting for about 30 minutes until his room was called. He (and us) found this very stressful. I understand that other school centres handle this differently (and better). Be prepared for a stampede if you have to take the exam at Camp Hill Boys!

Hope this helps

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:01 pm 
Thankyou Ken,

That was some read!! Phew. However, it made more sense after digesting all the info.

Thanks a bunch mate!

 Post subject: KE Exam Centre
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:46 am 
KenR, you are a saviour to us, the parents of hopeful children. Two points I would like to make,

1. When the registration form goes off to the LEA/KE, will we get a candiate number and the centre where the exam will take place, is there choice for the centre?

2. We went to the open day at Camphill, I let my son do alll the asking and be shown around, seeing that he wants to go there, we just let him get involved and we stood back a bit. The amount of pushy parents and kids who looked uneasy at being there was eye opener. My wife and I got the impression that a lot of parents want the schools more than the children, which is more of a observation than a critizism. The head gave a speech and made some interesting points about the disadvantages of intense tutoring, which I thought was amusing, as when we were leaving, a guy was standing outside handing out leaflets for mock exams and tutoring schools. For these" tutoring schools" its BIG business and creates false hope for many parents.

I hope you continue providing some useful tips and insights to us as they are as valiable, if not more so, than the test themselves, at least I know what my child may expect and can help the best way I can, love and support.......

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:24 am 
I have seen these people handing out leaflets too after the open evening, but I don't think that the schools allow them onto school grounds - or at least they didn't last September when my youngest went to the open evening.

I would say to you not to be put off by the type of people that are at the open evening. There seem to be an awful lot of people asking questions and lots of stripey blazers and it can all be a bit intimidating. Neither of my children went to private school, in fact, their primary school was a bit on the "bog standard" side, but it didn't disadvantage them in anyway.

I think the essence of the test is speed. They need to be very quick at reading and making responses, which is difficult for any school/tutoring organisation to do. They also need a good vocabulary, which is hard to teach.

I am sure Ken will reply to your questions, but you will be notified where the child takes the test together with a letter that they take with them on the day. The girls' school had coloured spots on the letter - I think they split them into 3 age groups and then put them into class rooms/hall depending on their surname. I think if you live close to Camp Hill you will probably go there for the test.

Wish your child every success.

 Post subject: KE Exam Centres
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:45 am 
Hi Friend

In answer to your questions:-

1. The exam centre is allocated by the foundation, there is no choice. I suspect with allocations starting at the KE School of your 1st choice and then moving to alternative exam centres when this has filled up. They do use quite a lot of other schools as alternative exam centres. We applied early using the online forms and put Camp Hill boys down as our 1st choice - hence we were allocated that as the exam centre.

2. As I mentioned, we originally wanted Camp Hill boys and put this down as our 1st choice although we were worried about the academic competitiveness of the school (and parents). We didn't really consider other KE Schools because of the distance and travel.

Following the exam, we found that my son had narrowly failed Camp Hill Boys but passed KE Five Ways (or 2nd choice). He started last week. Now that its all over and we can reflect rationally this was probably the best thing that could have happened. We are really pleased with KE Five Ways and ny son has settled in well. It's not as pressurised as Camp Hill Boys and as we have found out there is a very good network of school buses (the school contracts with the Green Bus company) - works extremely well.

We have found out since my son started that children attending Five Ways do travel from all areas of Birmingham.

Don't know where you live, but there's an open day this Friday and Saturday might be worthwhile going so you can compare with Camp Hill Boys.

As regards tutoring everyone seems to do it -and many have to contiue with tutors right through to GCSE and A levels just to try to help their children keep up!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:57 am 
As regards tutoring everyone seems to do it -and many have to contiue with tutors right through to GCSE and A levels just to try to help their children keep up!

I just wanted to say that my older child has never had a tutor whilst at grammar school and doesn't struggle in the least - finds some work challenging, but not so hard that we needed a tutor! We haven't found Camp Hill to be an educational "hothouse", or to be overly competitive. My children are happy and have never complained about feeling stressed, etc. They are girls, I can't speak for boys.

 Post subject: KE Camp Hill Girls
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:03 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1284
Location: Birmingham
Hi KE Mum

You are quite correct - Not everyone uses tutors at grammar school but we know a lot that do. Its often about the competitive nature of many schools and the GCSE grades they need to achieve to stay on into the 6th form. Many demand a minimum of 6 grade 'A's at GCSE to be allowed to stay in the school. The same applies in the independent sector.

My wife is a secondary teacher and has had lots of requests from friends to provide extra tuition or to recommend other teachers who would be prepared to tutor. That's not a grammar school or 11+ issue, its just the general competive nature of University Entrance etc throughout the system.

I should of course have pointed out that my comments on Camp Hil Boys were purely personal and referred to Camp Hill Boys not Camp Hill Girls which I think is quite different.

I should also add that the Camp Hill boys environment, which we thought was somewhat intensive, will probably suit some boys. It's just that we didn't think in hindsight that it was suitable for my son.

Hope your daughter is enjoying her new school. I'm sure she will do well.


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