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 Post subject: "Off The Shelf" Tests
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:53 pm
Posts: 19
Hi

I happen to know that the grammar school that my son sat the Entrance Exam for used an 'off the shelf' reading test. His friend came out of the exam beaming that he had done the exact same test in school the week before (and went on to score very highly indeed).

Can I use this somewhere in my appeal, he failed by just 5 marks.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Could you clarify which area this is?

Thanks

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
according to the instructions for reading tests, if a child doesn;t know a word the tester shouldn't give them the correct answer


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:53 pm
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Hi Etienne

Can I PM you?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8199
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi GranTurismo

I am afraid that you can't PM Etienne, but you can send confidential information to appealsbox(at)elevenplusexams.co.uk

It is viewable only by Etienne and myself, and we will reply to you on the forum without disclosing the details of what you have told us.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:13 pm 
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Dear GranTourismo

If it's a single own-admission authority school running its own 11+, the standardisation is more likely to be national. I can't be sure in any particular case, but if it was 'off the shelf', it looks like being nationally standardised.

The admission authority (the school) rather than an appeal panel is the only body in the first instance that can investigate your concerns.

Moreover, data protection will make it very difficult to go into any detail about another child, so any discussion could only be in general terms.

My advice would be as follows. The presenting officer will put forward the case on behalf of the school (e.g. what tests were administered, what scores were required), after which you and the panel will be invited to ask any questions. I suggest you simply put a number of questions such as "Can you confirm that the reading test was an 'off the shelf' test?" "Are you aware that one or more pupils sitting this test had done it previously?" "Could you tell us if this could have affected the chances of other pupils who had not previously seen this test?"

As far as your own case is concerned, you have to tread carefully so as not to appear too critical, as this never goes down well. I suggest a single sentence on the matter: "I would ask the panel to consider the concerns I have raised about the use of 'off the shelf' tests."

My suspicion is that the panel won't want to get involved in wider issues, especially if they have no evidence in front of them of what actually happened. However, you will have done enough to bring the matter to their attention, and if they were to fail to consider it properly, you might possibly have grounds to go to the ombudsman at a later date.

You might be in a slightly stronger position if you were to write to the school well in advance, asking them to investigate your concerns, stating the name of the pupil and school involved, enquiring about any possible impact on other pupils, and adding very reasonably "I thought it would be helpful to bring this to your attention, and give you time to investigate, as it is a matter I wish to raise at appeal." Take a copy of this letter to the hearing, but with the other pupil's name erased.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:53 pm
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Thanks Etienne, your advice is very helpful. It would never be my intention to be critical but I think I would always regret not mentioning it in the appeal. I fully understand that I would need to tread carefully!

Will the presenting officer be a memeber of the local authority if the school is VA or a member of the governing body? Also, you mention that the presenting officer will put forward the case on behalf of the school (e.g. what tests were administered, what scores were required) but the school will not give me a breakdown of the results so how can I prepare a strong appeal?

I had mentioned the extenuating circumstances in my message to the appeals box and I just wondered if you thought that the panel would consider it as I cannot provide any doctors note.

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Quote:
Will the presenting officer be a memeber of the local authority if the school is VA or a member of the governing body?
If it's a VA school, it can choose who will represent it - usually the headteacher or other senior member of staff, or a governor. They could ask a LA officer to do it, but would have to pay!

Quote:
Also, you mention that the presenting officer will put forward the case on behalf of the school (e.g. what tests were administered, what scores were required) but the school will not give me a breakdown of the results so how can I prepare a strong appeal?
There's the Data Protection Act, but unless the appeal is going to be late in the summer term, it won't help. Schedule 7 of the DPA, says among other things that the public authority does not have to release exam/test results until five months after the “relevant day”. (The relevant day is the date on which the "data controller" has both a properly submitted request for information and the information itself.)

If the appeal is earlier, then at the hearing - under "Questions to the Authority" - you can try asking. They may or may not comply, but you can point out to the panel that an earlier request was refused, and that it would have helped you to prepare for the appeal if the information had been made available. As discussed previously, try to make it sound as factual as possible (i.e. not too critical).

Quote:
I had mentioned the extenuating circumstances in my message to the appeals box and I just wondered if you thought that the panel would consider it as I cannot provide any doctors note.
They are obliged to consider any extenuating circumstances you put forward, but it is for them to judge to what extent the child's performance may have been affected, and I'm afarid panels do vary. Some are quite reasonable, others may be much harder to persuade.

Hope this helps.

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Etienne


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