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 Post subject: 11+ appeals and special needsPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:29 pm

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:22 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Bucks
My son has Asperger's Syndrome and severe dyslexia. In an Ed Psych assessment last year he scored almost 100 and 95 on the centile for her two cognitive tests but 50-60 on her two processing type tests. She explained to me that this meant that he had an enormous intellectual capacity but real difficulty in following text and writing...his spelling is terrible. Nor suprisingly he only scored 103 in his 11+ and I suspect that his school will not support an appeal. Should I or can I go ahead regardless as I feel a grammar school is the right place for him to meet his potential? He has a statement.

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Katie

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 Post subject: Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:20 pm

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7493
Welcome, cakie.

I'm sure one of us will have a go at answering your question, but could you give a bit more information?

Was your son given extra time for the 11+? If so, how much?

Which tests was the EP using? If WISC (the most common, although BAS is sometimes used), please tell us the exact percentiles for Full Scale IQ, Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Processing Speed, Working Memory.

What was the other 11+ score (Bucks parents should always give us both scores, as we know appeal panels are likely to take the second score into account).

Do you have any alternative evidence of ability from school (e.g. CAT scores, year 5 optional SATs)?

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Etienne

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 Post subject: 11+appeals and special needsPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:23 pm

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:22 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Bucks
She tested him using WISC-iv and the scores were:
Verbal Comprehension 134 (99 centile)
Perceptual reasoning 123 (94 centile)
Working memory 102 (55 centile)
Processing speed 94 (34 centile)

She also stated "In this case I am of the opinion that his score might be an underestimate of his ability, due to the fact that he went back to some test items at his own request, once testing had formally been completed and achieved sucess, where intilally during testing, he had not.

She also tested his educational attainment using WIAT-ii subtest and his results were:
Word Reading 55 percentile
Numeric operations 66 percentile
Spelling 12 percentile

I also took him to the Dyslexia Research trust and his scores in their tests (British Ability Scale II) on his last visit in September were:
Matrices 12.3 yrs
Single word reading 13.3 yrs
Single word spelling 8.3 yrs

He has also been regularly assessed by the school's Speech & Language teacher, and in March scored 11+ (max.score) using TROG (understanding grammatical structures and vocabulary). He was also assessed in May using BPVS and scored 100 (age equivalent 11yrs 1 month).

I have just realised that the school have not returned his last report to me with all his numbers from the SATS assessment, however as I recall he achieved no higher than 4's, in fact literacy was a 3 I believe.

He was allowed 5 additional minutes during the 11+ exam and his other score was 101.
Hope I haven't flooded you with too much information!

Many thanks.

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Katie

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 Post subject: Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:08 pm

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7493
Thanks - that's a great help. (I've edited out your son's name - best to keep it confidential.)

You haven't mentioned the FSIQ (Full Scale IQ).

Could I trouble you with a couple more questions?

How recent was the EP report?
Did you request any other modifications to the test (e.g. larger font, coloured overlays)?
Did the EP recommend a specific amount of extra time?
Did the EP recommend any other modifications?

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Etienne

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 Post subject: 11+ appeals and special needsPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:49 pm

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:22 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Bucks
E.P report is dated 11/3/08

No other modifications were requested...I understood that the only allowance given was additional time.

E.P's report just states " School to request exam concessions for 11+"

I had expected to be given 10 minutes additional time, rather than 5-not sure where that came from...I think it was suggested at the statement review last March. I didn't contest it because he would have found it difficult to focus for any longer, anyway.

No.

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Katie

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 Post subject: 11+ appeal and special needsPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:51 pm

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:22 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Bucks
Sorry-forgot to say that there has been no IQ score given.

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Katie

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 Post subject: Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:31 pm

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7493
Thanks - we'll come back to you later on to answer your original question.

Meanwhile you might like to glance at the following, and say whether any other modifications might have helped your son. It's from last year's Bucks dda guidance (I can't immediately find the version for 2009 entry, but I don't expect it to be radically different).
Quote:
The following is a list of reasonable adjustments that the LA will consider making available to
a pupil who is sitting the 11+ tests and is considered as disabled within the terms of the Act.
This list is by no means exhaustive and the applicability of any given adjustment will depend
on the particular circumstances. This list will be updated (where necessary) on an annual
basis.

1. Adapting the test materials â€“ question booklets
a. What can be done? â€“ in conjunction with the NFER and with the assistance of
the Specialist Teaching Service, the LA is willing to consider where it can
adjust the â€˜lookâ€™ of the test materials. Papers can be reprinted at the request
of the head/SENCO of the school, on different coloured paper and/or in larger
fonts. The LA has a preferred yellow/enlarged version that has been
developed in conjunction with the Specialist Teaching Service. This format
can be supplied for familiarisation and practice and the LA will provide, where
required, test papers in this format. The availability of any other formats may
be possible following discussion with the NFER.
b. What evidence is required? â€“ Confirmation from the head/SENCO of the
normal adaptations undertaken for a child.
c. Who would this be appropriate for? â€“ Children with visual difficulties or a
dyslexic child for whom black on white is not the most comfortable reading
combination.
d. Other matters to consider â€“ whether the child needs a larger workspace whilst
being tested so that enlarged sheets can be accommodated. Classroom light
levels need to be considered, to ensure children with visual difficulties are in a
well-lit environment.

2. Adapting the test materials - answer sheets
a. What can be done? â€“ by agreement with NFER the answer sheets can be
enlarged and/or photocopied to facilitate a child completing the answer sheet.
The bar coded original can then be completed (and scrupulously checked) by
school staff before submitting both the original and the copy to NFER for the
marking process.
b. What evidence is required? â€“ Confirmation from the head/SENCO of the
normal adaptations undertaken for a child.
c. Who would this be appropriate for? â€“ Either: children who have problems with
manual dexterity â€“ so that they can be reassured that the â€˜neatnessâ€™ of the
answers being marked within the red brackets is not required, or: children
who are severely red/green colour blind if they find (usually during the
familiarisation and practice) that they have difficulty in seeing the red sections
of the answer sheet. The sheet can be enlarged as well as converted to
black/colour background in the same permutations as 1) above.
d. Other matters to consider â€“ whether the child needs a larger workspace whilst
being tested so that enlarged sheets can be accommodated. Classroom light
levels need to be considered, to ensure children with visual difficulties are in a
well-lit environment.

3. Use of coloured overlays and coloured filter lenses
a. What can be done? â€“ The coloured overlays or filter lenses used by children
in class can be used in the testing session.
b. What evidence is required? â€“ Confirmation from the head/SENCO of the
normal adaptations undertaken for a child.
c. Who would this be appropriate for? â€“ Dyslexic children who have found
benefit in this strategy in normal class sessions.
d. Other matters to consider â€“ whether the child needs a larger workspace whilst
being tested. Classroom light levels need to be considered, to ensure
children with visual difficulties are in a well-lit environment.

4. Use of an amanuensis
a. What can be done? - The child would be tested separately from other
children in the class and an amanuensis can, at the childâ€™s direction, complete
the answer sheet on their behalf. The amanuensis would normally be the
childâ€™s Learning Support Assistant (LSA).
b. What evidence is required? â€“ Confirmation from the head/SENCO of the
normal adaptations undertaken for a child. This would normally be for a child
who was used to working regularly with an amanuensis in the classroom.
c. Who would this be appropriate for? â€“ Children with a severe motor disability
that causes discomfort when writing or with visual difficulties.
d. Other matters to consider â€“ testing the child apart from his cohort is
necessary because of the need for conversation. They may also require the
enlarged question paper strategy if there are also visual problems. Classroom
light levels need to be considered, to ensure children with visual difficulties
are in a well-lit environment.

5. Use of a reader/prompter
a. What can be done? - The child would be tested separately from other
children in the class and the reader would read the instructions for the test
and each question type to the child. The reader would normally be the childâ€™s
Learning Support Assistant (LSA).
b. What evidence is required? â€“ Confirmation from the head/SENCO of the
normal adaptations undertaken for a child. This would normally be for a child
who was used to working regularly with a reader in the classroom.
c. Who would this be appropriate for? â€“ Children with a reading age much lower
than their actual age. Use of a prompter may be consider for a child with
severe attention difficulties, this would be to ensure that the child keeps on
task.
d. Other matters to consider â€“ testing the child apart from his cohort is
necessary because of the need for conversation.

6. Permission for a break or breaks during the test
a. What can be done? â€“ The child would be tested separately and one or two
short breaks can be agreed during the test period (e.g. at the 25 minute point
â€“ which is a point at which the invigilator gives a time warning).
b. What evidence is required? â€“ Confirmation from the head/SENCO of the
normal adaptations undertaken for a child â€“ i.e. that the child is allowed to
rest or take breaks during class tests.
c. Who would this be appropriate for? â€“ Children with physical, motor or visual
difficulties that cause the child to suffer from fatigue or other conditions which
impair concentration.
d. Other matters to consider â€“ testing the child apart from his cohort will be
necessary because of the need for an extended time overall.

7. Permission to extend the test time by up to 25%
a. What can be done? - In VERY exceptional circumstances a child could have
up to 25% extra time for each test.
b. What evidence is required? â€“Confirmation from the head that this is normally
permitted for this child in similar testing/routine classroom situations, plus
clear evidence from other professionals (especially an educational
psychologist) as to the impact of a childâ€™s disability in relation to similar timed
tests.
c. Who would this be appropriate for? â€“ Children with severe physical, motor or
visual difficulties. Additionally, severely dyslexic and dyspraxic children might
be considered, depending on the evidence put forward.
d. Other matters to consider â€“ testing the child apart from his cohort would be
necessary because of the need for an extended time overall.
A request for extra time would not be appropriate for any child who is
generally working below the expected age related levels.

8. Other reasonable adjustments
Requests for any other reasonable adjustments will be considered in the light
of the supporting information provided by the headteacher and the other
professionals involved with the child.
In all instances, and during discussion with parents, it is important that consideration
should be given to the appropriateness (or otherwise) of a grammar school education for
the individual child concerned where access to the tests is significantly compromised.

[dda_guidance Bucks 2008]

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Etienne

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 Post subject: Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:15 pm

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7493
Katie

If you go to appeal, the panel will consider the following points.

1. Does your son have a disability within the meaning of the DDA? (No argument about that, because BCC have conceded the point.)

2. Were reasonable adjustments made? (You could argue that 5 minutes' extra time was not enough for severe dyslexia, and that other modifications - which you did not know about - should have been offered. Unfortunately, page 23 of the secondary guide does tell you about the possibility of modifications ("different coloured versions for children with dyslexia, enlarged answer sheets ....."), and it doesn't help that the EP was not more specific with her recommendations. However, there is a legal duty on the school [assuming it's a Bucks maintained primary] to be anticipatory, and it could be argued that it failed to be sufficiently proactive in ensuring that reasonable adjustments were made.)

3. If the reasonable adjustments were inadequate, would your son have scored 121 if all the reasonable adjustments had been in place? (The gap between 103 and 121 is huge, so you would need compelling evidence of very high ability. The exceptionally good results of cognitive tests from the EP will certainly help, but I suspect there would need to be something else as well to convince a panel.)

If you lose at point 2 or 3 above, the panel has finished with disability as a legal issue, and moves on to consider your case as an ordinary appeal:

4. Were any extenuating circumstances sufficient to explain the gap between 103 and 121? (Probably yes - the severe dyslexia.)

5. Is there sufficient evidence of very high academic ability? (The cognitive scores from the EP and .......... ?)

If you've read the sticky "Success rates in Bucks appeals according to score", you'll know that last year only 7.9% of cases with scores under 110 succeeded, and it would be reasonable to assume that most of these successful cases had scores closer to 110 than to 100.

You can certainly go ahead and appeal, regardless of school support. The main problem, as I see it, is how much evidence of high ability can you produce to back up the EP's finding?

Should you appeal? If you feel grammar school is the right place for your son, and in the light of the cognitive scores, I think you should - so long as you realise the odds are very much against you, and you are prepared for all the stress involved in an appeal.

Appeals are unpredictable, and you just might be lucky enough to find yourself in front of a very sympathetic panel. Panels have to make very subjective judgements (e.g. is it probable your son would have scored 121 if all reasonable adjustments had been in place?) However, I would be less than honest if I didn't say that all panels would think long and hard about a gap as big as that between 103 and 121.

Your next step should be to talk to the school. Questions to ask:
Why were no other modifications suggested to you [assuming you think they would have helped]?
Bearing in mind your son's very superior cognitive ability, can the school help an appeal by pointing to anything in the academic curriculum where he shines - perhaps in those areas where verbal ability is less significant?

I hope this helps to clarify some of the issues for you.

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Etienne

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 Post subject: Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:23 pm

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:22 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Bucks
Thank you so much for your speedy and concise answer to my question-most helpful. I shall contact school and the EP tomorrow and take it from there.

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Katie

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 Post subject: Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:55 pm

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:21 am
Posts: 179
Quote:
Sorry-forgot to say that there has been no IQ score given

Full scale IQ scores are not always given where there is a large discrepancy between verbal and performance components.

There is a good description of why a full scale score may not be given and interpretation of the WISC IV on the national association of gifted children - particularly for "twice gifted", i.e. gifted and SEN.

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