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 Post subject: Administrative error
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:55 pm 
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My child sat 4 entrance exams and was successful with 3. However, he did not secure a pass at our local school.

In October, I was informed by my local grammar school that there had been a clerical/administrative error when some of the initial results letters were posted. As a result, the school admitted that 5 pupils were incorrectly advised. However, they assured me that my son was not implicated in any way.

As a result, I requested that my chilld was offered 'local review' in case there had been any error with his reported scores. He was unsuccessful again at local review and the school have provided more detailed feedback concerning the breakdown of his scores.

At the last minute (!) I decided to take the matter to independent appeal and have now received all of the relevant paperwork from school. I telephoned them today to request a copy of his English paper in order to respond to one of the points they raise and was advised that my son's exam papers have now been destroyed...

Can anybody tell me if this is standard practice? I would have expected the papers to be stored at least until the appeals were completed?

I don't wish to appear to be a conspiracy theorist but bonkers stressed out parent can here the x-files theme music !!!

All help much appreciated as ever.
Thanks,
MJ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 6:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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If fact you have no legal right to see exam papers - they are specifically exempt from the Data Protection Act, and it is entirely up to the admission authority whether or not they wish to make them available.

Having said that, it is neither standard nor good practice to destroy the papers so quickly. I'm not sure whether an appeal panel has a legal right to demand them, but I would have thought it certainly has the right to put questions to the admission authority about them (e.g. "please report to us exactly how many questions were not attempted").

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:37 am 
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Thanks Etienne, I was aware of the Data Protection Act exemption. My reason for requesting to see the paper was in order to respond to a specific point the schl raised at local review...

Are you familiar with any similar cases/circumstances re the admin error? It's not a rumour, the school confirmed there was an error and reported that it influenced the outcomes for 5 children. As prev stated, my son sat 4 exams, was successful in 3 and where he was unsuccessful, there is a significant difference in his breakdown of scores.

I have gathered info regarding his ability including specimen of work and schl are supporting with a written report. It may be that his performance was influenced by an unexpected factor but I have no evidence of anything... Steadfastly refuse to go down the dead goldfish/ticking clock/buzzing fly route but equally, don't want to get school's back up by reminding of them of their error...

Even if we are successful in illustrating ability, places are of course now fully allocated.

MJ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Quote:
Are you familiar with any similar cases/circumstances re the admin error?
Yes. The issue, of course, is whether adequate checks have been made to ensure there are no errors outstanding.

Quote:
there is a significant difference in his breakdown of scores
I can understand why you are suspicious, but there's no such thing as a totally reliable reasoning test, and it's perfectly possible for scores to fluctuate. My own LA administers two VR tests of equivalent standard. Some children will score 120 and 120. Others will score 120 and 110! NFER have described such tests as a 'snapshot' on a particular day.

Quote:
don't want to get school's back up by reminding of them of their error...
It would be entirely reasonable to ask questions at the hearing ("What checks have been made to ensure there are no remaining errors?" "Why haven't the answer papers been kept in case something needed investigating?).

Parents have one year after an appeal to take a complaint to the ombudsman. I would have thought the ombudsman would expect all the evidence to be retained by the school up until that point in time.

Quote:
Even if we are successful in illustrating ability, places are of course now fully allocated.
Arrangements can vary, but in most areas appeal panels consider non-qualification and oversubscription issues at the same hearing.

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 3:45 pm 
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I will try to include polite questions about 'steps to ensure against outstanding errors' and the reason for destroying the papers so soon. Seems like a very reasonable question but also very accusatory! There's such a lot to remember & I'm sure I will be a train wreck :(

Thankfully, the panel will hear the over subscription appeal alongside the non qualification. I have read your advice re 40% of written statement pertaining to this & it's next on my to do list...

Thanks again,
MJ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 3:48 pm 
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PS any clues on what could reasonably be expected to be adequate checks? If 5 pupils were incorrcetly informed, clearly there were not adequate checks in place in the 1st instance. There after, I have no idea how the school back tracked through the data. What a disaster!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 4:06 pm 
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Quote:
PS any clues on what could reasonably be expected to be adequate checks?
It's really a matter for the panel. The school should be made to explain how such a distressing error could have been made, and what steps were then taken to put things right. The panel need to be satisfied that the arrangements were - in the end - administered correctly.

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 5:22 pm 
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I've been reading from various threads and have come across a comment where appellants are advised to submit minimal (bullet points) info, in writing prior to the hearing & provide more detailed info in person. Like many, I'm much more confident and able to stay focussed now than I expect to be on the day. I'm also concerned that the panel may feel duped. Any thoughts?

MJ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 5:44 pm 
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There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't do it the other way round (your written case in full, and a short presentation summarising the main points).

All the same, unless the case is very complex, there's usually something wrong if you can't set it out on a single sheet of A4 (plus supporting evidence), and bullet points are an aid to clarity and conciseness!

What really matters is the evidence, not so much what you write or say.

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Thanks :wink:


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