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.
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