I won’t rehearse all the points in the earlier post to which Chad kindly refers, but perhaps I could elaborate on just one or two, and in response to the specific question about an ed. psych. report, I would add that such a report can sometimes be helpful. It consists of the results of a battery of tests (usually Wechsler or BAS) and perhaps a diagnosis.
The diagnosis might give some useful pointers, but the wording is often cautious (e.g. “These results could be indicative of mild dyslexia”), while a panel is probably looking for something more significant.
It’s difficult to make direct comparisons between different kinds of tests, and I think a degree of caution should be exercised. As far as the ed. psych. tests are concerned, they are not all timed. They are administered one-to-one, often at home, but in any event in a situation likely to be more relaxed than that of a classroom where 30 children are sitting the 11+.
It’s disappointing that some educational psychologists are no longer advising parents of the wide margin of error associated with a test result. There are “confidence band” tables that might say, for example, “with a score of x there is a 95% chance that the true score lies in the range 110-125”.
One only has to look at the variations that sometimes occur in a child’s 11+ scores (e.g. 119 and 109 with no obvious extenuating circumstances) to realise that these are not always precise meaurements! But at least the 11+ test is repeated, so the two scores might give a more reliable picture (at least where they are reasonably consistent!) Even better was the old 11+ with the test carried out three times.
NFER itself says “It is important to understand that, however carefully educational tests are constructed, an element of error is likely to appear in the results they produce. For individual children, marks and scores should not be taken completely at their face value; they provide only an estimate of a pupil’s ability.” I have written elsewhere about my reservations concerning the single test used for the 12+.
To get off my hobbyhorse, however, and return to Chins’ post, the panel will be interested to see how reliable the head’s other predictions have been. I can think of one head who will recommend something like 30 of her pupils, and round about 28-29 qualify! Sadly there are other heads who recommend three or even four times more pupils than actually qualify.
A headteacher who gives a 1 recommendation is expecting a score of 131-141. See the headteachers’ 11+ manual http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/schools/docum ... 1_plus.pdf
. The gap between 131-141 and 107-111 will, as Chins realises, take some explaining. You mention the tough time you’ve had at work, but with three 5s predicted your daughter’s routine work doesn’t appear to have suffered (and my experience is that routine work is likely to pick up motivational factors much more than the 11+).
How does the school manage its 11+ rankings, I wonder? Annual NFER or Richmond tests can provide useful evidence, although the different standardisation has to be taken into account. SATs predictions do not correlate well because they measure other qualities, e.g. motivation, perhaps even (to some extent) the ethos of the school!
The majority of successful appeals (over 85% last year) are for scores in the range 116-120. (A breakdown for each score last year can be found in the headteachers’ manual referred to above). The further away from 121 the score is, the stronger the case usually needs to be.
This is not to say that I don’t think you should be appealing - if in doubt, appeal! Only the panel that reads all the evidence and hears all the case is in a position to make any sort of judgement.
For the same reason – with knowing absolutely all the details - I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from the case you heard about that succeeded last year with similar scores to your daughter’s. In addition to all the facts of the case, there is the odd occasion when a panel will be impressed by a bit of evidence that parents might not have considered to be of any great significance.