This is interesting. I have been looking at it the opposite way round really. If a panel is presented with very solid evidence that a child is of "grammar school ability" does the test result on the day really matter
I think it's legitimate for the panel to take into account all of the evidence available to them (and the 11+ results will be part of that).
I know what the weaknesses of the 11+ are - but there may be weaknesses in the alternative evidence too!
For example, headteacher recommendations can be very inconsistent.
SATs levels may possibly tell us more about the ethos of the school, the quality of teaching, and the motivation of the child than about innate ability.
There can also be a subjective element in 'working at' levels.
Confidence intervals apply to CATs and to EP reports.
and is the reason for why it might have been lower than expected on the day really of any interest or relevance (or even provable)? Is it of any importance at all to look at the test mark whether it be close the pass mark, or a mile from the pass mark, and consider "extenuating circumstances" in any shape or form?
If the child is as bright as the panel are being told, it may not be unreasonable to probe whether there were any circumstances that might have affected performance 'on the day'. This could help strengthen the parental case.
From some examples of appeals this year, under this new code, cited on this website, it would appear that some panel members are fixated on extenuating circumstances and asking parents to justify why children do as well as they might have done on the day. This worries me.
I agree that panels shouldn't be 'fixated' on this. It seems to me that the new Code has the balance right - what really matters is the academic evidence, but the consideration of extenuating circumstances isn't necessarily excluded.
What can we do? I will be frustrated if my children blip on the day, if they are indeed of high ability and I have evidence of this, and a panel dimisses my appeal because I don't have some "reason" or other that they didn't do well enough in the test on the day.
I hope this isn't happening (not under the new Code, anyway). It would disturb me if a panel was convinced by the academic evidence, but refused an appeal because there was no satisfactory 'reason' for underperformance. Not sure I've actually heard of any cases where this has occurred.
Also every standardised test score has a confidence interval e.g. "score is 132, we can with 95% confidence say the score lies between 128 and 136" (sorry I invented that particular confidence interval). Are appeals panels given this kind of info too?
I doubt it. More experienced panel members are likely to be aware (in which case, though, they will know enough to treat some of the alternative evidence with equal caution!).
My two pence worth .......