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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:46 pm 
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A response to a recent Freedom of Information request made to Kent County Council states that a procurement exercise for the September 2014 tests will begin in the next few weeks. The current contract with GL Assessment (the current examination provider) ends on 31 July 2013. This is the latest date on which a new contract can be entered into with any new supplier or Gl assessment to provide the 2014 tests.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:16 am 
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The following documents were presented to the Kent Education Cabinet Committee meeting on 19th March 2013:
:: Update on the Kent Test Procurement Process
:: Head Teacher Survey Results (see here for the original survey)
:: Summary Specification for new test providers


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 1:58 am 
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I understand why changes may seem a good idea but it isn't reality if Kent believe they can make these exams non tutorable.
Curriculum based testing is not going to make the problem better for the children or cheaper for the parents but quite the opposite. Can I trust that my school has covered to the highest level the requirements for my child to pass? Did my child miss the vital or advanced bits when they were sick,had cover teachers, or little Freddie was such a pain in class it didn't quite get finished?
So being a parent who believes a grammar school is the right choice for my son is now in the position of needing to get hold of a copy of the national curriculum in at least maths and English, find the relevant resource materials and tutor to cover all these areas. Oh and I also need a lot more money.
Do Kent really think parents wouldn't go that far? Do they really believe that they can withhold what the children are going to be tested on without parents covering all bases? Do they really believe this is going to make it fairer for children whose parents haven't got a lot of money? Do they really believe that kids won't be tutored for longer just to be sure everything is covered? Even if it is not curriculum based do they believe that parents wont find a way around it? We are not idiots, if we believe it is right for our child then we will do what it takes and some parents will still go too far and still tutor for years.
The current system is not perfect but for a few pounds you can get the resources and tutor at home. It is going to be turned into a system where the elite who can pay will get in.
Although very difficult to say, if this is what Kent is planning to do then I will do what is necessary to get my child into Grammar School. When it comes to exam day and the results I cannot afford to worry about anyone else's child, only my own and thank God I can afford it. Really harsh I know, but true.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 3:39 pm 
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I agree, and so do lots of other people. The good thing is that at least the tutoring will be useful in the future, rather than spent on practising the same question types again and again for speed and accuracy in VR and NVR.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:50 am 
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Hi, this is one of my first posts, and am new to forum, son is due to sit test in kent in 2014. I am very interested in the changes and I was quite happy, that kent are attempting to make this a more tutor proof test. Please be gentle, but I can't help thinking this is a good idea, surely if this is a new format the 2014 takers will have a more level playing field and this who will not be hiring a tutor will stand a better chance of competing with those who have been privately tutored. If no one knows what exactly the tests will entail, all children have a more of a equal chance?. I know the argument that those In private schools or certain primary schools may have a better education system etc, but that is always going to be the case anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:36 am 
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The principle of having papers with surprise question types is better. But unless the new provider is extremely versatile this effect will not last forever.

The current system of being able to buy practice papers and practice the question types - if you can be bothered - until you are blue in the face does not seem like a good testing principle.

However, the other poster is pointing out that buying or borrowing the GL Assessment practice papers is not expensive and they can be worked through at home free of charge. Whereas trying to improve your child's vocabulary level and maths skills to a higher level than the home environment and school have done to date is difficult - it is not necessary if home and school have together provided great opportunities in these areas, but if they haven't, the new tests could arguably place children who are disadvantaged by home / school in a worse situation than the old test despite having the same "innate intelligence" as the child who attends a great school / or is tutored privately / or is tutored free of charge at home / or whose background and interest have resulted in them developing a great vocabulary and joy in problem solving!

The "acid test" will be if over several years the new tests provide the grammar school with a) able children who were not being picked up by the old test b) children from a wider range of backgrounds than the current test.

I'm not sure if anyone knows at the moment for real whether they will be a good thing or not.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:44 am 
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mystery wrote:
However, the other poster is pointing out that buying or borrowing the GL Assessment practice papers is not expensive and they can be worked through at home free of charge. Whereas trying to improve your child's vocabulary level and maths skills to a higher level than the home environment and school have done to date is difficult - it is not necessary if home and school have together provided great opportunities in these areas, but if they haven't, the new tests could arguably place children who are disadvantaged by home / school in a worse situation than the old test despite having the same "innate intelligence" as the child who attends a great school / or is tutored privately / or is tutored free of charge at home / or whose background and interest have resulted in them developing a great vocabulary and joy in problem solving!


I wonder if anyone has put that to KCC, or, indeed, they would admit to the variability in teaching.

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:51 am 
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I suspect that once the test has been in place for a few years, if it really is based more on the school curriculum as they claim, 11plus results will become a little bit more "official" as a way of comparing Kent schools in addition to KS2 results. I wondered if this was what Mike Whiting was hinting at in some of his press statements (sorry cannot quote exactly what he said or the article date etc). Mike Whiting lost his seat very recently.

As 11plus results school by school can only be compared with Freedom of Information requests I'm not sure quite how this would work; but I suppose he was talking from the perspective of the local authority. It would give them another window in on school performance. It's slightly flawed though as there could be children capable of passing who don't enter the test and muck up the school results.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:15 pm 
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Thanks, that is a good insight into it. I know that nothing is tutorproof and there will always be some that will be disadvantaged whatever the system. Personaly at the moment I'm relieved it may be changing, and am hoping 2015 entry will indeed level the playing field for children who don't have experienced tutors or parents who know exactly how the exam will/may work.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:25 pm 
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It will, to a certain extent, for several years. The biggest levelling effect will probably be for those that start year 7 in 2015 as it will have the "surprise" element for the overwhelming majority. Really though, if it isn't combined with a campaign for more children to give it a try, it's less likely to reach the parts that other beers do not reach.


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