The council seems to be relaxed about offering alternative test dates
I would hardly use the word "relaxed"! The reality is that, with 7,000 children taking the test, there will inevitably be some who are unwell on any given day.
I often wondered if there are statistics available that compare an average cohort of children's daily percentage absence from school on a Thursday, with the test cohort percentage absence. If it is available and it transpired they were roughly the same, it would clear up a lot of speculation, if there was a notable rise in absense, then it s something that needs to be reviewed.
If anything, the problem is the reverse of this - children taking the test who are not fit to do so. They invariably plead with their parents to allow them to take the test "with everyone else", and the parents' judgement is swayed by that.
There is also the unfortunate fact that some schools are quite poor at arranging late tests, with children taking tests in unsuitable environments, such as noisy offices, dining rooms, etc. If parents are aware of such issues from previous years, the pressure to send an unwell child in on the main day of testing can be considerable.
The Review/Appeal is then based on "Well, he really wanted to take the test with all his friends, so we let him go in to school. However, we do think it cost him some marks ...". That has never been a popular argument with Appeal Panels, and I doubt that Review Panels are any more fond of it.
I think statistics on the test scores of late sitters as opposed to "regular sitters" would be interesting. I wonder if they would, on average, be higher, suggesting some form of advantage gained. Wouldn't be rocket science for some type of standardisation formula to be invoked if it was!
All late testers have the exact date of testing recorded on their forms, and the results are standardised accordingly.
there is no guarantee of rdifferent paper to be used. It wouldn't be fair for children who took the test on the 11th if any of the test contents are revealed by any parents on the forum.
Oddly enough, the Moderators are aware of this point ...