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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:34 pm 
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I'm not sure if this is an SEN question or an appeals one, so I'm putting it here but please whoosh me to appeals if necessary.

DS sat the Warwickshire test for 2015 entry. Obviously we don't know the AQS yet but given his ranking I'm assuming he won't be offered a place and we will have to go to appeal. From all the information floating around my best guess is that he will be about 10-12 marks off the AQS.

We recently had a new ed psych report, post test, which has thrown up all kind of issues that we were previously unaware of and explained some that we were. The upshot is that the ed psych recommended that he should have 25% extra time in examinations, mostly because of a lower processing speed and working memory. He scores very highly in verbal ability and his maths is in the average range. I contacted WCC about this and after some consideration they have decided that they should offer him a resit with the extra time.

He would resit using the 2013/14 test- which has an equal weighting to this years test. It would not change his qualifying score so we would still have to go to appeal regardless of his score in the resit. If he did well then presumably it would work very well in his favour at appeal, as proof of ability - but what if he did badly? WCC say we wouldn't have to use it as evidence but in all likelihood the appeals panel would ask WCC why they didn't do anything and they would say that they offered and he took a resit. At this point have we ruined our appeal chances?

If we don't take the resit then again the panel would probably know that we were offered and refused. Would that be held against us?

The real worry is that even though he is now entitled to an extra 10 minutes to address the learning difficulties this doesn't address all the Aspergers problems and it honestly might make no difference at all (I worry that on a bad day it would just give him another 10 minutes to stare at the distracting fly on the wall). Also he had been cosseted and mentally prepared for over a year to sit the 11+ and of course we couldn't do this for a resit which would have to happen in the next month or so. I'm not honestly sure whether he would be willing to do it although I'm pretty sure I could persuade him.

I'm also very conscious that his school books are not going to be of great help in proving ability (all his teachers say he is MUCH more able than they are able to prove from the amount or work he produces) and due to various problems at school his SATs results are not going to be that great. From his KS1 SATs he should have been in target for high 5s but due to at least two terrible years at school (bullying, teacher who couldnt handle a kid with Aspergers, a year in which he had multiple class teachers etc) and their lack of reacting to his non- progress until Year 6 (panic mode!) , an unsupportive SENCO and a general refusal to spend any money on him at all, he will be lucky to hit low 5s in maths and writing although his literacy may reach 5a. The Head and his class teacher are however generally supportive of him as a child with GS ability.

So - do we resit or not? How would an appeals panel view the various issues it would throw up.

Very grateful for any help or perspective anyone can give on this.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:19 pm 
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I suspect this needs to be moved to appeals, really. I'm not an expert on appeals at all but was quite surprised by WCCs stance on this. i could see this opening if not a floodgate, certainly a trickle of requests for re-testing!

I am surprised that they are offering you a resit as I would think this is quite uncommon :shock: - particularly as there is an awful lot of helpful information floating around in cyberspace about the content of the 2013/14 test, now. Certainly I haven't heard of County Councils offering resits like this - but maybe the moderators have?

It appears as if the reason they are offering this to you is twofold - 1) they can prove during the appeals process that they have tried to redress the balance based on the information now known (although I would argue that they could not have hoped to do anything differently at the time of the original test, based on the evidence they had then) and 2) to give you some solid "evidence" to support an appeal as you do not feel you have enough evidence in school work (which of course could backfire if he does less well). The counter for this is that, I am sure I have read on various appeals threads, that you cannot offer results (or at least the implication is that appeal panels pay little heed to these) in other entrance exams as evidence in an 11+ appeal as they are not comparable - despite the 2013 and 2014 tests having comparable weightings, they are not comparing against the same cohort, so I would find it had to believe that a panel would be overwhelmingly accepting of any result from a resit - either positive or negative.

The basic point about any appeal is that you have to prove academic ability first and foremost and then introduce any mitigating circumstances for why your child has not done well on the day. Around 10-12 marks off the AQS is quite a lot (especially in terms of rankings where the lower the score the more bunched the rankings are) - obviously 25% extra time would definitely account for some of that, but still wouldn't necessarily get him to AQS level - do you have any concerns about the fast pace of GS being a problem for him?When was he first diagnosed with Aspergers? What did your original ed psych's report suggest should be done at test and were these compromises put in place for his original test? Obviously if you have a relatively early diagnosis, you will be able to show some of the issues with non-support of the school and argue that they affected his progress from KS1, predicted Level 5s are ok - although it would be easier if his maths was higher than average.

If you really feel that you have poor evidence in your schoolwork, (although a report from the head teacher confirming he is GS material will help) and have argued for, and been given, the offer of the resit, I suspect you should take it and hope for the best. Although he may not have been mentally prepared for over a year as he was for the "real" test, (bearing in mind CEM is a test designed to be taken with little preparation, so I don't think you should use this as an argument if he doesn't do well in the resit!), he is 6 months older now than all of his cohort at time of testing, so that should be in his favour. Also in your favour is that AGS has announced that they will be taking on an additional class of Y7s this year - which could have an impact on lowering the AQS.

You obviously have a good case for appeal - whether it outweighs the other good cases, I wouldn't know! Have you got good back up plans, just in case?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:16 pm 
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I don't doubt his ability to cope with GS at all. He needs to be somewhere he is expected to work and that will push him. Primary school have let him get away with coasting for years and not pushed him. He was diagnosed with Aspergers 4 years ago but the learning disabilities are a recent discovery. He isn't dyslexic but his problems have much the same effect as if he had dyslexia. Many issues could be be solved by allowing him to work on a laptop for example. With the support of a good SENCO and learning support team I'm sure he'd be fine.

I didn't ask for the resit (didn't know such a thing existed) I just sent the ed psych report to WCC on their advice. This is, and they admit it, because the panel will question why they didn't do anything when faced with a change in circumstances. He's only being offered the "resit" because if we had had this report before he took the test they would have allowed the extra time. School have only recently started implementing the concessions because of the ed psych report. You are right, it doesn't get offered to many but it has happened in previous years and there are others this year. And it doesn't change his actual mark so it's not really a resit in official terms. I'm sure the panel would also consider his increased age and the less than freshness of the test.

His original ed psych report did not test in the same way this one has - so it showed ability but not the problems. But it was done when he was 6.


I'm slightly worried by your thought that 10 marks is a lot. I had taken the view that he didn't finish the paper (so he told me) and that it was reasonable to assume that he could have picked up an additional 10 marks in 10 minutes. Am I fooling myself?

Thanks for the reply - and yes we have backups in place!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:52 pm 
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I'll move it to appeals for you

yoyo


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:26 pm 
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Mummydearest wrote:
I'm slightly worried by your thought that 10 marks is a lot. I had taken the view that he didn't finish the paper (so he told me) and that it was reasonable to assume that he could have picked up an additional 10 marks in 10 minutes. Am I fooling myself?

I'm afraid 10 points is a large amount around the AQS - if you look at the collated scores for 2013 the difference in rank between scores of 220 and 230 is almost 200 overall! viewtopic.php?f=37&t=34803

I'd also add that very few candidates actually finish the papers - my DS certainly didn't. That's all part of the CEM tests - they are meant to be hugely time pressured.

However, having said all that I can't see you have anything loose by resisting; if the result is no better then are you actually obliged to use is as part of your appeal?

JD


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:02 pm 
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With regards to the marks/scores - they are important to a point - obviously the schools can only take a maximum certain percentage of children who score under the AQS, which is why the AQS is set so carefully at around the score of the person ranked close to the schools PAN. In reality the rank is more important - and, as JD has pointed out, 10 marks (at around the AQS score) can equate to almost 200 children all wanting places. Whereas at the very top scores, 10 marks could be the difference between the number 1 and number 2 child wanting a place. And, JD is also right that the majority of kids will not have completed the paper, either missing questions out or not getting to the end - that is the rub with CEM.

To be fair to WCC, the change in circumstances were only notified to them after the original test so I am not sure why the appeal panel would expect them to do anything - surely that is the point of going to appeal?

It is obviously very difficult when new things are discovered after the fact and the panel will need to satisfy themselves that: a) he has ability consistent with that required of a potential GS child b) the impact of this recently discovered learning disability may have affected the test, without which, he would have scored above/at or nearer the AQS and c) that he will benefit from whichever specific school you are applying to and his needs will not adequately be met at your alternative.

Resitting may give you evidence for a) which you feel you cannot prove adequately through other means (although, assumedly the ed psych report should give some credence to this too.) It may not provide positive evidence if your ds does worse but, why would he? He will hopefully be more relaxed now, having gone through the process and the familiarity of the CEM test, coupled with his additional 6 months learning and, hopefully feel less pressured by the whole thing. You do not have to present it, as JD suggests - however, if you didn't present it and they then ask you what WCC did when presented with your new ed psych report, you would have to be honest and that could put you in an even stickier position for point a). b) is harder to quantify and still relies on additional evidence being presented by you, supporting his capability and, again, the new ed psych report will help. c) is down to why you think he would do better in whichever institution you are targeting and why your alternative will not meet his needs (for example our local high school has several students supported by a superb SENCO and use laptops for the majority of their work and exams, so on its' own, that probably wouldn't be a winning argument.)

My instinct would be go for it - you have to really - and have nothing to lose (without an appeal he is unlikely to get a place) and everything to gain.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:20 pm 
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Mummydearest wrote:
If he did well then presumably it would work very well in his favour at appeal, as proof of ability
Agreed - it would help.

Quote:
- but what if he did badly? WCC say we wouldn't have to use it as evidence but in all likelihood the appeals panel would ask WCC why they didn't do anything and they would say that they offered and he took a resit. At this point have we ruined our appeal chances?
Well, it wouldn't exactly help - especially if the rest of your academic evidence isn't too strong.

However, if you were to make clear that the EP report came too late, and that the LA is blameless, I'm not sure an appeal panel would normally press the LA to explain what arrangements they put in place. I've never before heard of a resit being arranged in such circumstances.

Of course, if the appeal panel is aware that WCC make special arrangements in these circumstances, then they probably would ask - and I note you say that WCC are expecting to be questioned.

In your defence you would have to explain what a difficult decision you had to take, bearing in mind that children with aspergers tend to be upset by unplanned for changes in their routine.

Quote:
If we don't take the resit then again the panel would probably know that we were offered and refused. Would that be held against us?
Not necessarily - but again, you would have to make the case for why you took the decision you did.

Quote:
The real worry is that even though he is now entitled to an extra 10 minutes to address the learning difficulties this doesn't address all the Aspergers problems and it honestly might make no difference at all (I worry that on a bad day it would just give him another 10 minutes to stare at the distracting fly on the wall). Also he had been cosseted and mentally prepared for over a year to sit the 11+ and of course we couldn't do this for a resit which would have to happen in the next month or so.
Agreed.

Quote:
I'm also very conscious that his school books are not going to be of great help in proving ability (all his teachers say he is MUCH more able than they are able to prove from the amount or work he produces) and due to various problems at school his SATs results are not going to be that great. From his KS1 SATs he should have been in target for high 5s but due to at least two terrible years at school (bullying, teacher who couldnt handle a kid with Aspergers, a year in which he had multiple class teachers etc) and their lack of reacting to his non- progress until Year 6 (panic mode!) , an unsupportive SENCO and a general refusal to spend any money on him at all, he will be lucky to hit low 5s in maths and writing although his literacy may reach 5a. The Head and his class teacher are however generally supportive of him as a child with GS ability.
You have lots of extenuating circumstances - but the main problem looks like being the alternative academic evidence. This could be an argument in favour of the resit (even though it's a gamble). It offers the possibility of some additional evidence.

Quote:
How would an appeals panel view the various issues it would throw up.
I don't think it's possible to say categorically how any individual appeal panel would react. One panel might take a particular view - another panel might have a completely different view.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:27 pm 
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I do apologise, I thought I had replied to this. Thank you for your thoughts and advice. In the end we decided not to take the resit. It seemed a terribly unfair thing to do to him especially as we had promised him it was all over. We do have an ed psych report showing him at 97th percentile for verbal and a high average for numeracy so we'll go with what we've got to appeal and what will be, will be.


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