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Thursday, 24 September 2015 09:20

Optimists for Freedom of Information Requests Regarding the Kent Test

Written by

As regular browsers will know, I make considerable use of the Freedom of Information Act to secure information about education matters in Kent and Medway for parents. However, it is important to use the service responsibly and not make requests that will obviously be refused on grounds of unreasonableness. Two recent requests about the Kent Test:

I understand head teachers will now know our child's results under
this act please can I know my child's results too?

 

Please could I see a copy of the Kent Test for the
years 2014 & 2015?

 

Very reasonably and politely, Kent County Council responded:

1) Thank you for your email.We have been advised that the date the results are published is 14th October which will be sent to you by email if you applied by email. Otherwise you will receive the information by letter.
We are unable to provide you with the results and the following is advice provided by the Information Commissioners Office: As long as the exam results have been published, your school or university must respond to your request for your information within 40 days. If you request the results before they have been announced, your school or university must respond: •within five months of the date of the request; or •within 40 days from when the results are published (whichever is earlier).

2) Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, relating to the Kent Test. In Kent County Council’s view the Kent Test materials (question booklets and answer sheets) are exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the Freedom of information Act 2000 on the grounds that releasing them would prejudice the supplier’s commercial interests. This is because the publisher, GL Assessment, has a business interest in maintaining the confidentiality of its test questions, which it may wish to sell to other admission authorities, even though they have already been used in Kent.

With regard to (1), it is unnecessary in any case, as parents can obtain the scores on request from their headteachers on or after the 15th October, less than 20 working days from the date of the request inside any possible legal requirement to respond. If KCC were to release the results of one child, in advance of publication, the whole structure of managing results would collapse in chaos. The time lapse between taking the test and publication of results is the shortest possible to take account of the processes that have to be carried out in that period, including the Headteacher assessment process. So no general release of information is possible. If one set of results were released according to such a request, then all other families would either be entitled to their results at a premature stage, or else there would be a mass request for individual results. In either case, the system would also collapse due to overload and collapse in chaos. 

With regard to (2), in addition to KCC's response, which should be sufficient, the 2015 Kent Test will be used for late entrants. If this facility were available, then again the current process would become unworkable. I did hear reports that copies of the 2014 Test were circulating amongst some late sitters of the test in the summer of 2015, so carried out my own investigation. As a result of a legitimate FOI I learned of the scores of children sitting the Test late for a variety of reasons, mainly to do with moving into Kent, as follows.

Sat Kent & Medway Tests April - July 2014
        Sat Test      OOC Sat Test
  Sat Test Passed % Sat Test Passed %
Kent 28 9 32% 32 14 44%
Medway 57 17 30% 28 18 64%

Just 4 of the children then resident in Kent scored over 360, and 7 of those from out of the county, so no evidence of mass high scores there! I know two of the former who moved to Kent too late for the main testing cycle. 

A proportion of the larger number in Medway will be children living in Kent who were unsuccessful in the Kent Test or on appeal to grammar school. Just 6 Medway resident high scorers over 570, 3 ooc. Again, I know of two Medway high scorers, who moved to the area late. The evidence shows that clearly the rumour of test papers circulating was untrue. 

 

Read 3230 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2015 21:00

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