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 Post subject: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:18 pm 
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We were informed that our son failed to reach the required standard after taking the entrance exam for our local grammar school last September.
On phoning the school to find out where he has gone wrong they informed us they will not give us either the pass mark or my sons actual marks for each test, but only the information that he passed the verbal reasoning test by 8%, passed the Maths test by 11% and failed the english test by 12%!
I then asked the school if they would let me know the overall pass mark , to which I was told that their was not one and the only way to pass was to pass all three tests, which is very confusing bearing in mind the entrance exam booklet given to us by the school says that they allow a narrow miss in either Maths or English provided the childs total score is sufficient to gain them a place.

Also our son is born in June and bearing that in mind he would be ten months younger that some of the children taking the exam I asked the headmaster in front of 200 parents at last years admissions open day, if age by month was taken into account in the entrance exam, to which he told us that the exam results were standardized to take this into account, which I was pleased to hear.
Now I have found out that only the verbal reasoning test was standardized! Which bearing in mind my son failed the English test means he was at a disadvanage to the older kids, which is unfair.
I understand that taking into account my sons age that if his English result was standardized he would have got another 4%, meaning of course he would have still failed it by 8% which is a lot closer then 12%

If anyone can give advice on this I would be very grateful.


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:14 am 
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Posts: 7061
This could be tricky, and might take some time to try and sort out!

Quote:
On phoning the school to find out where he has gone wrong they informed us they will not give us ...... my sons actual marks for each test, but only the information that he passed the verbal reasoning test by 8%, passed the Maths test by 11% and failed the english test by 12%!
Suggest you ring the Information Commissioner's helpline to ask for their advice as to whether you are entitled to all your son's individual scores under the Data Protection Act (or whether the school can get away with just the information quoted above).
https://www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx

I would have thought you are entitled, but if the ICO confirm it, you'll be in a stronger position to put in a formal request to the school under the Data Protection Act. (We can help you do that.)

Quote:
I then asked the school if they would let me know the overall pass mark , to which I was told that their was not one and the only way to pass was to pass all three tests, which is very confusing bearing in mind the entrance exam booklet given to us by the school says that they allow a narrow miss in either Maths or English provided the childs total score is sufficient to gain them a place.
If the published arrangements say that a narrow miss is possible, then it should be possible! The problem is how to define a narrow miss. If this is an own-admission authority school, you could write to the headteacher (with a copy to the chair of governors), referring to the booklet, requesting a definition of 'narrow miss', and asking where that definition is published in their admission arrangements which - by law - are required to be objective and not open to interpretation. At the same time you could complain about the contradictory information you have been given.

Quote:
Also our son is born in June and bearing that in mind he would be ten months younger that some of the children taking the exam I asked the headmaster in front of 200 parents at last years admissions open day, if age by month was taken into account in the entrance exam, to which he told us that the exam results were standardized to take this into account, which I was pleased to hear.
Now I have found out that only the verbal reasoning test was standardized! Which bearing in mind my son failed the English test means he was at a disadvanage to the older kids, which is unfair.
I understand that taking into account my sons age that if his English result was standardized he would have got another 4%, meaning of course he would have still failed it by 8% which is a lot closer then 12%
I'm afraid it is entirely up to the admission authority whether or not any tests are standardised for age - but I agree you should not be given misleading information. It might be difficult to prove what was said at the meeting, unless there are other parents who can confirm it.

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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:30 pm
Posts: 24
Telephoned the school yesterday and requested the appeal form, which has to returned to them by 16th March although to be honest I am not sure if what to say yet or if their is even any chance of a successful appeal.
Totally understand the need to pass the tests, just don't quiet understand why the school is not more open and allow people to know what a child's marks were and what the passmark is! They would not even allow anyone to contact them to discuss results for over five months after the exam until 1st March ( I suppose this is to put people off appealing). I will contact the ICO today to see what they have to say about the data protection act.
Further i will be writing to the headmaster to define narrow miss etc, but would this mess up an appeal?
I am sure other parents will be able to confirm the headmaster said the tests were standardized.
One more thing, having had a quick read of the new school admission appeals code! under 2.2 it says that admission authorities MUST publish their appeals timetable on their website by 28th February and the school have not done this yet! would this omission be of any help to me in appeal or is it just a legal point for the authorities to deal with?

Would any of the above be of use in an appeal other then arguing for the sake of it?


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7061
Quote:
Telephoned the school yesterday and requested the appeal form, which has to returned to them by 16th March although to be honest I am not sure if what to say yet or if their is even any chance of a successful appeal.
There is no legal deadline for an appeal. However, authorities set their own administrative deadline so that you can be assured of a hearing within the main batch of appeals. This may or may not be advantageous where oversubscription is an issue:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c22

You can send off the appeal form simply saying "details of case to follow".

Quote:
Further i will be writing to the headmaster to define narrow miss etc, but would this mess up an appeal?
I don't see why. The appeal process is meant to be independent of the school. Any reasonable panel ought to recognise that you're raising perfectly legitimate concerns. (Clearly it's good idea to raise any concerns as courteously as possible!)

Quote:
I am sure other parents will be able to confirm the headmaster said the tests were standardized.
It's not clear whether you know any of these parents and are able to contact them.

Quote:
One more thing, having had a quick read of the new school admission appeals code! under 2.2 it says that admission authorities MUST publish their appeals timetable on their website by 28th February and the school have not done this yet! would this omission be of any help to me in appeal or is it just a legal point for the authorities to deal with?
In practice I think it'll be a technicality.

Quote:
Would any of the above be of use in an appeal other then arguing for the sake of it?
Too soon to say. If it were to transpire that your son met the definition of a narrow miss (whatever that is!) - while having an acceptable total score (whatever that is!) - then there would appear to be a case for maladministration.

Failing that, you ought to be considering a case based on alternative academic evidence:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b11
and (if the school is oversubscribed) your reasons for wanting a place:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c2

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Etienne


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:30 pm
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Quote:
It's not clear whether you know any of these parents and are able to contact them.


My wife is friends with quite a few of the mums who were at the open day and would be able to contact them, I will ask her to see if anyone else remember's the question being asked and answered.


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:30 pm
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Done three hours later and lovely letter asking lots of awkward questions sent to Headmaster and Chair of Governors special delivery.


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:30 pm
Posts: 24
Hi again and thank you for your help which has been most informative.
I have been told that the children who missed the official 11+ exam day due to illness etc took the exam a week or so later, but it was a different set of exams to the ones taken on the official date! It this allowed?


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
Des wrote:
Hi again and thank you for your help which has been most informative.
I have been told that the children who missed the official 11+ exam day due to illness etc took the exam a week or so later, but it was a different set of exams to the ones taken on the official date! It this allowed?


On the whole a lot of people feel that it would be better to have a different set of exams as occasionally there have been concerns about people "being ill" on the day of the initial test and then picking up useful information concerning the test from other people before then taking the same test themselves a few days later. The "same test" is done in a few areas and we have to be very careful on this site to ensure that there is no discussion of topics / types of questions etc until all the late test have been finished.


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:30 pm
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My son passed the verbal reasoning and Maths, but failed on the English test! My letter to the school has included a request for the English test to to be remarked! Do you think they might do this?.

Further my son holds his pen in a strange fist like way and bearing in mind as part of the English exam their was a short essay to write, I am thinking he rushed and produced an untidy essay, which he did say he did not have time to check for errors and that this is where he maybe lost the exam marks. Bearing this in mind I thought that the exam papers were checked by computer! But working in publishing I think this would be very unlikely to be able to be done accurately.
Does anyone know how a 11+ essay is marked?


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 Post subject: Re: Standardized tests
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Quote:
Do you think they might do this?.
It's possible.

I would have thought the essay could only be marked by a human!

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