Review of Kent Test
There appears much speculation about the Review of the Kent Test, with the recommendations of a Headteacher Panel likely to become public in the next few weeks. Of course these recommendations are not policy and, as with previous reviews, will need to go out to consultation with schools, a process that will take some months. There is no necessity to go out to consultation with parents and I would be very surprised if this were to happen. In any case, the contract to administer the tests is also coming up for renewal (currently with NFER), and so I would be very surprised if, in spite of some comments to the contrary, any new form of assessment comes into being before the test for entry in 2015 (i,e, September 2014 sitting).
One must remember that the Kent Test was introduced to identify those children appropriately placed in a grammar school. Those schools that choose to use it to identify high scorers, are in fact using it for a purpose for which it is not intended. I do not anticipate that the Review will alter this position, and indeed it should not. I suspect therefore, that in the longer term those schools may introduce an additional tougher test to discriminate between those who are the highest scorers.
The problem can be seen from the two following tables which show clearly the influence of those private schools which coach explicitly for the eleven plus, especially in the West of the County. Whilst a small minority of these schools discourage 11 plus applications as they want children to remain in their own schools or connected senior schools, it is readily apparent from visiting a few private school websites, that a main attraction is offering explicit support for grammar school, and super selective grammar school entrance. Private schools can of course carry out such preparation in a way that state schools are not allowed and so have a built in advantage for their pupils. It must also be borne in mind that some of the private school successes may choose to stay in private education.
State v Private Schools and the 11 plus
Number of children tested and passing the Kent Test in state and private schools
|Grammar School Candidates||Tested State||Passes State||Tested Private||Passes Private||No of private schools||
% of all passes
from Private Schools
|All of Kent||8383||3620||572||452||41||11%|
|Rest of Kent||7193||2951||266||199||22||7%|
As can be seen, this table underlines the powerful influence of private schools in West Kent, who secure over a quarter of all grammar school passes, against the rest of Kent where the proportion falls to less than 7%. I accept that private school children may be drawn from a wider geographical area than state school children, but see no reason why these results are not generally accurate. In this article West Kent refers solely to the Kent districts of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge, and does not include North West Kent (Dartford and Gravesham).
The next table underlines the increased dominance of private education in West Kent on high scorers.
Number of children tested and passing the Kent Test with a combined score of greater than 407 in state and private schools
|Grammar School Candidates||Tested State||>407 State||Tested Private||> 407 Private||No of private schools||
% of all › 407
from Private Schools
|All of Kent||8383||1085||572||258||41||19%|
|Rest of Kent||7193||772||266||81||22||
Here we can see that over one third of all children who score an aggregate of greater than 407 come from private schools, and over two thirds of all children who score over 407 from private schools are situated in West Kent. I believe that, with the majority of the private schools targeting success in the eleven plus, in a way that state schools are not allowed, this shows that many (not all) are highly successful in their aim.
High scorers in the Kent Test
There has been great interest this year in the number of high scorers in the Kent Test, especially with the range of scores in each test being extended from 70-140, to 69-141, meaning that the highest aggregate has increased from 420 to 423 for 2013 entry. My original understanding was that this was merely seeing the 140 score stretched to cover the two scores of 140 & 141. However, the following table suggests this is not so. Each entry refers to the date the test was taken, for entry in the following year.
|High Scorers in the Kent Test|
|Aggregate Score||September 2011 Scores||September 2012 Scores|
This shows that the number of children gaining the top four scores in each of the two years is very similar - 856 in 2012, 882 in 2013.
However, great caution must be addressed to these figures as, for example, in 2012, 326 of these top scorers came from schools outside Kent, whereas just 277ooc children actually took up places in Kent grammar schools, and only 129 were admitted to grammar schools recruiting on high scores. In other words, a high proportion of these high scorers probably never had any real intention of applying for Kent grammar schools.
Eleven Plus Exams Website
Please note that I spend considerable time and effort both obtaining the myriad of information published on this website and analysing and organising its presentation, so am rightly upset when parts of it are reproduced without acknowledgement on the forum of the highly commercial eleven plus exams website. My efforts are purely to ensure that this information is in the public domain, as I believe parents have a right to know the facts with regard to admissions, appeals and many other aspects of what I call the periphery of education, but I believe use of it by others entitles me to that acknowledgement. I ask for nothing more. As many browsers will know, the 11 plus website takes a highly moral tone with regard to references to kentadvice, apparently and unsuccessfully intent on trying to keep it a secret. Indeed when I made one of my rare incursions on to the site last week to update and correct a link which had been posted to an item below, it was instantly removed and replaced by what to me was a highly offensive and personal attack, some of which was self-evidently untrue. As it happens, the poster clearly recognised she had gone over the top, and the posting was later removed (we all know the perils of rashly posting on social networking sites!). I have tried to take this up with a (fairly) courteous private message to the moderator, sent last Sunday, but have not even received the courtesy of a reply - presumably the only acknowledgement I shall get that the poster is in the wrong. For myself, I won't be making any more corrections to wrong or out of date data, or otherwise posting on that website. SUBSEQUENTLY - any indirect reference to me appears to be censored. What are they afraid of? Oddly enough this form of censorship does not appear permitted according to Forum rules, although when I have pointed out blatant breaches this is ignored!