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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
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Location: Berks,Bucks
..carrying on from the non verbal reasoning thread …

Dear Patricia,

Exam level in different regions
If the ratio grammar/secondary is the same in two areas, the exam level is probably similar. But in regions that are not fully selective, the ratio grammar/secondary is lower. Even if the exam content is the same, the pass mark has to be higher as it is adjusted depending on the number of places for the area.

Academic standard
There is little difference in the number of A-C GCSEs between grammars but the number of points per students can vary quite a lot. Also some schools push students above the GCSE level, and they are more likely to do so if the average student is academically gifted. For example, some grammars do fast track GCSEs where pupils take their GCSEs in year 9 or 10 (don’t remember details) instead of year 11.

Well, this is my view anyway. Sorry to keep disagreeing


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:55 pm 
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Dear Catherine

I have no problem with you disagreeing.....its healthy to have different opinions......life would be boring if we were all the same!

You now agree with me, that in areas that only have a few grammars, only the top will be offered places [ see my two postings on the non verbal thread]

I just wanted veiwers to realise that Bucks is not an easy option.... Yes more children will be offered places [having more grammars ] but the child still has to achieve a minimum standard of at least 86% [and thats a bare minimum ]

RE grammar school standards I know league tables show all sorts of information but at the end of the day most grammars perform at a similar standard and achieve similar results. Most grammars will cater for gifted children, most grammars will fast track children where necessary. Maths seems to be a popular subject that is taken early.

Patricia


Last edited by patricia on Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:31 pm 
Sorry to jump in but I have to disagree with Patricia.

Can you please explain how you arrived at the bare minimum of 86%?

Firstly, the (raw) scores are standardised according to age and the number of places available. If a county has 1000 places, 3000 candidates, and the top mark is 50% then 50% will equate to 141. The 'pass' mark will probably be around 35-40%, which will equate to 121, in Bucks' case.

Secondly, again taking an extreme example to make the point, if the same county coverted all but one its schools to grammar status, say now with a total of 2900 places available, the pass mark will probably drop down to around 20-25%. Conversely, if only one grammar was left, then the pass mark would probably shift to be very close to the top mark of 50%.

The standarisation is designed to make it fair for children who are late births and it is smooths out the variatons in the difficulty of papers from one year to the next.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:49 pm 
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Dear Ash

Perhaps you could tell us how 121 in bucks could possibly be in the region of 35 - 40%.............

86% as a bare minimum comes from a VERY large number of teachers and heads in Bucks..........

Of course it will vary each year, we all know that... depends on the cohort taking the test each year...ages, averages, difficulty, national standard, local standard, border zones, comfort zones etc etc.......and beause of all these if and buts......a score of 90% will keep you in the pass range [ 86 being borderline ]

Patricia


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:57 pm 
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Forgot to add........

Teachers in Bucks have more faith in their children........the top mark is not going to be a ridiculous 50%..........

Patricia


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:03 pm 
Hi Patricia,

I was using the top score of 50% to make a point, and that is: the pass mark (121 in Bucks) equate to a %age in the VR test that would vary from year to year, dependent on difficulty of the papers, the calibre of candidates, etc. If we had an extremely tough paper and all applicants happened to intellectually-challenged, then the %age required to 'pass' would drop to ensure that sufficient of them passed to fill the places available.

All else being equal, if one county has just one grammar school, say with 150 places, the the chances are that the top 150 kids, say 5%, out of the whole county would pass and be allocated a grammar place. In Bucks, we have so many places that 30% of the kids pass and get in. Taking this to its logical conclusion, if a county has so many places that it could accommodate all but, say 5%, of its kids then all kids would pass except the bottom 5%.

As for the 86%, I am not sure what %age equates to 121, but I would be surprised if thats high, given the results tend follow a normal districution curve, with a mean of 100, and the upper and lower limits of 141 and 69, respectively. We also know that you don't have to get 100% to get 141, and that a score of 69 does not equate to 0%!



Ash.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:24 pm 
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Dear Ash

We both agree on the many factors involved.

Over a number of years ........schools [ not all schools ] check the answer sheets before they are sent off.......this info ....collated [in mind only ]over a period of time...can give a very rough indication of what is the average/pass. I know 86% is not the exact figure [ because of all the ifs and buts ] its a very rough minimum 121.

Patricia


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:29 pm 
Patrica,

Thanks and have a great evening.

The main reason for my surpise at the 86-90% pass mark is that my son scored 141, and I know what he was getting in his test/practice papers - we only prepared for just 10 days.

Cheers.

Ash


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:36 pm 
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Dear Ash

Well done to your son!!!! [ and your preparation ]

Just shows how much our children can shock us .....

Goodnight

Patricia


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:52 pm 
Hello

Ash, if you check out the NFER site you will find a detailed explanation of standardisation.

The published standardised scores usually range from 70 to 140 or from 69 to 141.

Believe it or not, if a child has a raw score of '0' they will have a standardised score of 69. It would not be the case that a child scoring 69 on the tests will be given a zero score.

The standardised score at the higher level, which I believe most be people are interested in is determined by the cohort taking the tests.

These cohorts can be all the children who have taken the test within a LEA which will give a regional standardisation or children who have taken "off the shelf" tests at independent schools that give national standardisation.

The cut off point as a percentage of the tests is never given because it is considered to be an inaccurate method of standardising scores.

Therefore we have to rely on the perception or instinct of teachers and tutors to determine roughly how the child would need to perform in the test to attain a pass mark.

In the instance of Bucks I would tend to accept that Patricia is correct in her estimate of 86% or above because of her experience and knowledge of the Bucks system. In the case of the Wirral we believe the estimate is slightly lower, at between 82-84%.

Regards

Mike


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