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 Post subject: 11+ test error
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:27 am
Posts: 645
Location: Buckinghamshire
http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/47 ... r__error_/

Saw this on the BFP web site. Unfortunately there is not enough detail to determine whether there really was a breach or whether a child only got as far as the classroom door before being stopped. A terrible breach if the paper did actually get out into the community, but in reality how many children would still be waiting to sit the test? I can't imagine there would be more than a handful off sick and I thought OOC children were the last to be tested. I read it as just another piece of journalism intending to fan the flames of the "anti 11+ debate". :twisted:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
Posts: 2660
Dear All

Elevenplusexams have been in contact with Bucks County on this matter. We have cooperated fully with the admissions department, because this website does not condone cheating in any form. Follows a statement from Buckinghamshire Admissions:



Statement from Buckinghamshire Admissions


11+ Testing for 2010 entry

As a result of an error in the 11+ selection testing procedure at a school outside Buckinghamshire concerns were raised as to a possible breach of test security. This occurred after all scheduled first tests had been administered in Buckinghamshire maintained schools and the majority of partner schools (schools in and around the Buckinghamshire border which are not Buckinghamshire maintained schools).

To ensure absolute fairness and that no child would be advantaged in subsequent testing we have taken a cautious approach and have provided an alternative but equivalent first test for children yet to take that test.

In taking this precaution, the County Council consulted with the test providers and obtained legal advice. We believe the action we have taken is wholly reasonable and the most appropriate in the circumstances.

FAQs


How do you know the test you will use is ‘absolutely equivalent’?

Because it is a test used in the grammar school selection procedure in a previous year and has already been robustly standardised on those 7000 children’s results. Children already in our grammar schools have qualified by passing that test.

My child is still to attend for testing at a central venue group testing session – will they take the ‘new’ test?

Yes, we have withdrawn the ‘original’ test and we will use the ‘new’ test for all future testing. This includes our central testing sessions.

Will any children have had an advantage in the test?

With the substitution of the question paper we believe not. We have checked the testing schedule for all neighbouring schools in the area and established that only a small number are still to sit the first test. They will all sit the ‘new’ test.

My child sat the ‘new’ test, are they disadvantaged?

No, all of our tests are designed to be of the same level of difficulty and the VRTS (Verbal Reasoning Test Score) is the higher standardised score of the two attempts. There is no disadvantage in sitting the new test.

My child sat the ‘original’ first test, are they disadvantaged?

No, all of our tests are designed to be of the same level of difficulty and the VRTS (Verbal Reasoning Test Score) is the higher standardised score of the two attempts. The original test was sat by all children tested in Buckinghamshire primary schools and most partner schools. It will be standardised in the normal way.


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 Post subject: 11 plus error
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:39 am
Posts: 24
I note the County's reassuring statement but have a number of issues with it. It would appear that all OOC children taking the test at test ctres will sit the 'new test'. Now (see other threads) many in county children happened to find the first test rather difficult. On average, if a paper from the database is 'randomly' chosen for the 'new first test' then it is likely to be found 'easier'. So how on earth is the statistical standardisation to be made? If all new and old first test results are lumped together before being 'standardised' then OOC children would have a distinct advantage. So are they to have two separate standardisations on two different tests? With the same percentage passing? Or historic percentages? Are they going to tell us? As someone who has studied statistics I would find a credible exercise of standardisation hard to achieve. The County seem to rely on 'its the higher mark of two tests that count' to reassure us. But what about an in-county child who scored relatively higher, indeed a pass mark, on the first test (but not the second) and would have passed in a fair standardisation where all first tests were the same, but who now slips down the ranking if marks from an easier first test are thrown into the pot? Of course, I'm not saying that the new first test is necessarily 'easier' but anecdotal evidence suggests that the original first test was relatively hard. Sorry but we require more information on how they will deal with this in an equitable manner.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Posts: 1046
Location: Buckinghamshire
I agree with the issues raised with 'chinup'

My DD was one of those that preferred the second test to the first, mainly because it contained the question types preferred by her in the second test.

For consistency in both tests the new 'first' test questions must cover the same question types/level as in the original first test ... however we, as parents, can only go on Bucks reassurances of this!

_________________
Heartmum x x x


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:14 pm
Posts: 162
I wonder whether Bucks CC intends to standardise the test results of the "new" test against the original 7000 sitters of that test rather than those who sat the original first test this year. If they did that, would it not eradicate most of the unfairness if there is in fact a difference in the difficulty of the two different tests? It's still far from perfect as there might be some small variation in the ability of a cohort from one year to the next, but it still seems to me a fairer option than simply lumping all the raw scores from this year's two entirely different tests together. It would be nice to know just how they are planning on sorting this out but it doesn't seem like they are planning on revealing much more information! :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:08 pm 
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Posts: 149
I am glad that Bucks CC took the problem seriously and actually made a decision to replace the 1st test. I think it was probably the best thing they could do in the circumstances.

I understand the concern regarding the standardisation but I am happier that the test was replaced , some children (or parents) may have had the chance to 'see' the original paper and so would have the opportunity to memorize the questions and so gain 'full marks', this would have skewed the standardisation even more!


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 Post subject: 11 plus error
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:39 am
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I admit to an interest here. My child is stronger at maths related than 'verbal' questions, and it would appear, anecdotally, that the 'original' first test was more maths biased (well I'm hardly giving anything away now am I since it's been replaced!) so the score is likely to be higher for that test. But if that test mark is then standardised (and, I believe, 'marked on the curve') together with scores from a differently biased or just easier test, then my child and others who are stronger on the 'numbers' side, could easily slip down the rankings. Saying that 'oh well it's the best out of two' is useless unless both tests are marked completely equitably - after all, most children are stronger/weaker in different areas and therefore their strongest test must be marked on a completely fair basis.

Of course, as others have said, the test had to be replaced if some children had taken it home. What astonishes me (and did since I first heard of the practice) is that a significant number of children take the test later. Of course it's alright for a few who eg are ill or move, but when there are a significant number some, I'm afraid, are always likely to try and find out eg the vocabulary questions - and this incident was an accident waiting to happen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:11 pm
Posts: 29
Chinup, I totally agree with your first comment. Have you addressed Bucks CC directly with these points ? I fear that if we do not, then there will be some catchment children who lose out and this it totally unacceptable.

Sally-Anne, should we all be piling pressure on Bucks CC to make sure that the in catchment area children to not suffer? Quoting that the best of two tests is taken does not re-assure me, for exactly the reasons that chinup states.


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 Post subject: 11 plus error
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:39 am
Posts: 24
Well no, Blimey'G I haven't. And, to be honest, as I am only one Bucks parent I suspect that they would treat me as a totally isolated complainant, give me the same gobbledegook as in the official FAQ about 'all the children who passed that previous test are at grammar school' (er, right, but they were scored against each other, not a separate test) or, even worse, act to the detriment of my child. We don't after all, know the exact mysterious workings of their standardisation system and their comments in the FAQ make me fear that they don't know how standardisation works either. Believe me, from the statistics I have done, I just don't see how they mark the tests equitably. You can't have the same absolute pass marks for two tests of different degrees of difficulty or type of question. Neither can you mark 'along the bell curve' (ie relative to each other in a large cohort) for two cohorts taking different tests. And so on and so on. Its even possible - given the mysterious same number that pass overall in the 11 plus year after year, that a greater number of OOC passes in a (possibly) easier first test would affect the numbers who pass the second test, after standardisation.

All I can say is that Bucks CC might be forced to reveal more information about how they intend to deal with this when 'near misses' on the first test (whether of the original or replacement) launch an (entirely reasonable) legal challenge to the marking system.

The whole thing really depresses me. I believe that Bucks CC have a responsibility in the first place to Bucks children trying to get into Bucks schools. Whilst being as fair as possible to OOC children they should protect the interests of Bucks children. The fact that, allegedly, it was an OOC school that caused frankly makes me slightly angry. Their pupils are, of course, innocent, but serious action should be taken against the school.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Posts: 29
I couldn't agree with you more chinup, on all of your points. For these reasons, I am going to take the time to write to Bucks CC and also the providers of the test NFER. I would never forgive myself if my child ( who like yours, although admitted test was a difficult one, seemed fine with it) missed out my a narrow margin on the first test, and I hadn't stood up to be counted - if you know what I mean. Am fully expecting the response that you predict, but I need to at least think I have tried.

Most of my child's peers seemed to find the second test "fine", which I guess will mean a higher pass park. Whereas for the first test, even the most capable children found it challenging, which in turn means a lower pass mark. Therefore, how very easy , even if the substitute test is slightly less difficult, for a right mess to be made of the children who qualify on that first test. The losers for sure will be the in catchment children. I would be surprised if it was as difficult as I have spoken to adults who have had access to the papers for many years, and after the first test they all agreed that it was the most difficult they had seen for many years.

What a shambles!


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