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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:23 am 
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Location: Berkshire
Hi I am new to this forum, although I have read widely over the past few days as I need some advice regarding appeals.
My son sat the Slough consortium exam in November, and scored 106 - VR 99 and NVR 112. Neither ourselves nor his school can quite understand these scores.
His primary school tested him in October (Nfer standardised tests) - he scored 137 in NVR and 122 in VR. At the end of year 5 his optional SATS were 555 and he is predicted 5A in all three this year.
We have no mitigating factors - except to say that his older 3 siblings already attend the school, and perhaps he felt under great pressure to acheive.
We also feel that there being no maths in the test this year was a disadvantage for him as he very good at maths.
We feel we have no other options but to appeal, his headteacher and class teacher are fully supportive, and would really appreciate any advice you can give us.
Thank you very much.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:20 am 
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Location: berkshire
Hi 'Looking for Help'

As you say....with the scores your son was getting and his predicted scores for Sats.... it does seem as if he underperformed on the day and was not a true indication of his ability. This has got to be the basis for your appeal.
Please ensure that the support from the school included words like 'high achieving' or working at and above Level 5 and 'highly recommend'
St Bernards hold there own appeals (not run by LEA) but because of recent questions being raised as to the appeal panels being administered correctly I would have thought that they would be more 'on the ball' this year.
I believe that you also need to show consistent high achievement... so Maths, English, Science books with levels shown would also be good to take along.
Hopefully someone with more 'knowledge' than me will be along to add to my post.

Good Luck


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:31 am 
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Chad,
Thank you for your reply, as you say we need to prove high achievement.

Do you think we can also show that nerves would play a part?
He recently sat a piano exam (initial grade - so not a high one) but his piano teacher expected him to do very well - we have a copy of her mock exam report where he got 91. The reality was that he only got 71 (a pass but not the distincion he expected) And he was extremely nervous! Do you think we can submit the mock exam report plus the actual exam report, or is this irrelevant?

Thanks again for your help.
Looking for help


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:24 pm 
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Dear Looking for help

The 5a predictions are very good.

The school tests were standardised differently from the 11+ (although they are still good scores). Does the school administer these tests regularly? If so, it would be interesting to know the previous scores.

If all the academic evidence is in place, your main problem, I suspect, is going to be extenuating circumstances. "His older 3 siblings already attend the school, and perhaps he felt under great pressure to acheive" sounds a bit speculative. How are you going to convince the panel? It would obviously help if the school were to confirm "He has always lived under the shadow of his successful older siblings, and this has undoubtedly affected his performance." The difficulty is one would probably want to see other examples of his being affected by sibling pressure.

Nerves (in isolation) do not usually carry huge weight. It might help if there were some sort of a history. Are there any examples in addition to the piano exam?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:43 pm 
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Location: Berkshire
Etienne,

Thank you for your reply.

Its difficult to prove his nervousness - he hasn't really done anything to be nervous about yet in his life.

The 11+ and the piano exam were the scariest things he has done so far!
Incidentally he was sitting his piano exam on the same day as his older brother who is very good at music - this may be an example of underachievement because of being in his older brother's shadow.

In year 5 his nfer scores were 113 for verbal and 120 for non verbal reasoning, still quite good but not as good as this year.

The only other thing I can think of is that on the day the NVR test was first and he failed to finish it (this was unheard of during the time we were practising) -although he did manage to add guesses for the last 8 questions and this possibly unsettled him for the verbal reasoning test.

Thanks again for your help.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Quote:
Incidentally he was sitting his piano exam on the same day as his older brother who is very good at music - this may be an example of underachievement because of being in his older brother's shadow.
I was tempted to ask whether any of the siblings happened to be good at piano! :)

I think it helps the argument for sibling pressure, and my feeling is that it would be worth submitting the mock piano exam report plus the actual exam report.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:29 pm 
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Location: Berkshire
Thank you Etienne!

I will certainly include it.

Can you also advise me whether it is worth mentioning that his 2 older sisters would not have passed their 11+ exams if there had been no maths tests and his older brother would have only just passed? ( I have kept their reults from the school)

I'm sorry to keep asking questions, but apart from this ecellent site, I can find no other help out there.

Thanks very much, again!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:16 pm 
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You're most welcome! :)

Quote:
Can you also advise me whether it is worth mentioning that his 2 older sisters would not have passed their 11+ exams if there had been no maths tests and his older brother would have only just passed?

You have to be very careful not to appear to be criticising the test. The best way to present this would be to link it with sibling pressure - if you believe this to be correct. Make the point that your son is very strong at Maths. Then you can add: "He knew that his 2 older sisters would not have passed their 11+ exams if there had been no maths tests and his older brother would have only just passed. The fact that there was no Maths in the 11+ this time simply added to the enormous pressure he felt."

Take your other children's results to the hearing, so that you can say "I have their results here if you wish to confirm the facts."

Quote:
Its difficult to prove his nervousness - he hasn't really done anything to be nervous about yet in his life.

What I was thinking of is that some children are naturally of a nervous disposition (terrified of the dark, for example). Anyway, you need only to refer to nerves in the context of sibling pressure.

Quote:
The only other thing I can think of is that on the day the NVR test was first and he failed to finish it (this was unheard of during the time we were practising) -although he did manage to add guesses for the last 8 questions and this possibly unsettled him for the verbal reasoning test.

You could certainly argue that his experience of the first test further undermined his already shaky confidence.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:01 pm 
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‘Make the point that your son is very strong at Maths. Then you can add: "He knew that his 2 older sisters would not have passed their 11+ exams if there had been no maths tests and his older brother would have only just passed. The fact that there was no Maths in the 11+ this time simply added to the enormous pressure he felt."

I don’t want to ‘hijack’ the OP’s thread, Etienne, but I’m intrigued by a couple of things you have said here.

Our daughter is very good at and loves science (she’ll get a 5a in her SATs), but despite the fact that at GS she would study science separately and at the comprehensive it would be a joint subject, we had been advised it wasn’t worth mentioning it because the 11+ ‘is what it is’. There’s no merit in pointing out what id does NOT test…

And secondly, do Appeals Panels really take account of nerves even in the context of sibling pressure?

Surely if that was the case then anyone who had 1 child at GS could argue that subsequent children were feeling under pressure to emulate their elder sibling?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:01 pm 
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Hi, Rob

I don't think nervousness on its own is going to count for much, but I have known a number of cases where mitigation was accepted on the basis of sibling pressure. Clearly the panel had to be persuaded by the evidence that this really was a significant factor. The qualifying score in Slough is 111, so "Looking for help" has a shortfall of 5 marks to explain, which is probably at the very limit where this sort of argument might succeed. Fortunately there is some very strong academic evidence as well - three predicted 5As, and an average of 129½ in recent standardised tests.

I think you were given the right advice about Science for your own appeal, and "separate sciences" is not an argument that can be used where non-qualification is concerned. I've also made the point that one has to be careful about appearing to criticise the test.

However, in Bucks (where VR is the only thing tested) there has been more than one case where parents successfully argued ("with respect"!) that the format of the test did not suit their child. Some compelling evidence would have been needed for this approach to work - I would recommend, ideally, CAT scores for QR and NVR in the 130s, predicted 5As for Maths and Science, and a gold certificate in the Primary Maths Challenge!

My suggestion is not that "Looking for help" complains about the format of the test, but rather that the panel should be asked to consider whether the dropping of Maths from this year's test further undermined this boy's confidence - especially when he knew that Maths had been a significant factor for all three of his successful siblings.

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