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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:27 pm 
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Can someone help clear up my confusion!

I understand from previous years that the range of expected scores for the Bucks 11+ is typically between 70 and 141 with a 'pass' at 121 or higher and everything I have read affirms that this has been the case since the first of the 'new' tests.

This year the pass is still 121 but I now know of reliable scores in the late 140's, mid 160's and Low 180's. I am also aware that in my child's school a much higher number of children have passed than is normally the case.

I'm a little concerned that there has been a screw up somewhere as this all seems rather anomalous, 121 or above will still secure a grammar place, based on the normal criteria....right?

Anything driven by the Education system scares me as they mess up sooooo many times!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:54 am 
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In Buckinghamshire, the qualification - ie. 'pass' - mark for the STTS - ie. 11+ exam - is 121.

No other criteria apply (such as higher marks above 121). And that is why the Moderators remove any reporting of such marks and many Posters abhor the mention or discussion of them.

The education system is flawed but not that flawed.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:03 am 
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The maximum marks (& minimum?) increased with the introduction of CEM. I don't quite understand it all, but yes, qualification mark is still 121.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:06 am 
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scary mum wrote:
The maximum marks (& minimum?) increased with the introduction of CEM. I don't quite understand it all, but yes, qualification mark is still 121.


I think they've just spread the range out further to allow for easier distinction of near misses. The mean has also moved from 110 to 100. There is a brief explanation on the back of the results letter.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:23 pm
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Thanks for all of your replies.

I don't really care about the scores, it just strikes me....however much I read, that there will always be a statistical possibility that for example 50% of children in a given year could achieve above 121 ( or whatever the score might be), creating a nightmare for many looking for a place. It was this coupled with the apparently anomalous scores this year and what seems to be a higher pass rate that it could be the case this year if the education people have messed up. You only have to look at the various GCSE and A level marking debacles that have occurred recently to at least view the whole thing with a certain degree of cynicism.

I think that many of the explanations of how the whole scoring thing works are ridiculous, they assume quite a high level of understanding on the part of the reader, who in many cases (like me) did not even pass the 11+ or attend a grammar themselves :-)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
PonsonbyDeville wrote:
I don't really care about the scores, it just strikes me....however much I read, that there will always be a statistical possibility that for example 50% of children in a given year could achieve above 121 ( or whatever the score might be), creating a nightmare for many looking for a place.

If the total number qualifying jumped from 3112 (this year's 34%) to your notional 50%, or 4573, I think someone would notice and ask a question or two ...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:33 pm 
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Also, they are standardised to make sure the correct number achieve the required score, aren't they?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:43 pm 
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The standardised scores are surely deliberately set so that a certain percentage of candidates qualify (ie get 121 or over).

Bucks knows roughly how many in-county applicants will apply for a GS place and how many OOC applicants will apply and so they can get a good estimate of where the 'pass rate' will have to sit. With more people OOC sitting the test who are much less likely to end up applying for a GS school place in Bucks, it is not surprising that the pass rate is going up.
If the pass rate stayed stable, not enough Bucks children would qualify to fill all the grammar school places.
So I expect Bucks gets CEM to adjust the age standardisation process a little every year so that they get the right number of Bucks and OOC candidates achieving 121+.

So whether the test was easy or hard does not really matter. CEM adjust the standardised scores so that the right number of kids get 121+ I would think.

As a result of this process, the scores roughly range 5-200, with 100 being the mean and the standard deviation somewhere between 35 and 45.

I totally agree that the score (other than whether you have 121+ or not) does not make any difference whatsoever to the qualification for GS in Bucks or your chances of a place and I do not want to give the impression that it is otherwise.

However, I also think it is perfectly natural for a parent to want to put their child's score into context following all the effort which has gone into preparing for the exams. After all, Bucks does give the score and breaks it down in quite a bit of detail. Isn't it a bit strange to give us such an exact number without any explanation what the context of that number is? I totally understand why people are confused about it and are asking questions about it.

If the number doesn't mean anything, then why not just say 'qualified' / 'didn't qualify'? If you are giving people the number, you need to explain its context.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:32 pm 
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Hello, schlumpf ! Forgive me if i didn`t understand you correctly. So would you like to know the rank of your child in the Bucks cohort? But they don`t do that because it`s selective and not super-selective. I know very well 2 DC who achieved 180-ish. I am very happy for them. But I don`t think DC would be any happier with the outcome of the exam if their parents would tell DC their rank in the Bucks 11+.
It`s a selective, not super-selective system here. In other words if you are entering the game you have to accept the rules of the game at the beginning.
Unless I didn`t understand what you wanted to say. Then sorry.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 06, 2015 8:43 pm
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To be fair, I think the point is more that if county are willing to send us all out a letter with a detailed breakdown of marks then why not take that attention to detail through to the end of the process rather than curtail it abruptly with a qualified/not qualified status? It is a valid observation.

Although I am hugely anti the giving/publicising of marks, that is really because that is what the system dictates. How does it help anyone to know whether they got 1, 10, 20, 30 or more marks than someone else who attained 121 that then decides that they go to a grammar school just under a year later? By which time again those children will have matured in different ways in different subject areas and at different speeds, and thus their 'ranking' in the league table of 11 plus passers will invariably have changed.

I have just got an overwhelming sense of irritation and nausea now I have typed this and realised what a Kafka-esque system it is... like I needed reminding!


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