|Kent Test Results 2014|
Sat Kent Test
Number of Grammar
Please note that the number of grammar school places available will expand as some grammars decide to admit additional classes.
The main reason for the changes in the Kent Test were to reduce coachability. The tests most prone to coaching were the verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests. By amalgamating these into one test and reducing its value from two thirds to one third of the total, KCC will have made some, unspecified and immeasurable progress towards this.
1) Whatever the changes, around 21% of the whole peer group in what was historically 'selective' Kent will have been found of grammar school standard, fixing the pass marks for all other candidates. Around another 4% will have been found selective through headteacher assessments. As marks have again been standardised for each test, they will still form what is called a 'bell curve', centred on a mark of 100, the 50th percentile of the national sample used.
2)This is still resulting in a far greater bunching of marks in the six points between 100 and 106, than the previous 100-119. The main consequence of this that there will be a far greater number of children who have missed an automatic pass by just a few marks than last year. This will have a considerable effect on the appeal process with limited guidance to inform panellists and possible appellants as to the significance of the gap by which they have missed a pass score. My own view is that it will also make the assessment process less reliable given the larger proportion grouped around the pass mark.
3) The range of aggregate pass marks is far greater, running now from 320 to 420, with the same number of children spread across it, and so it will be far more difficult to judge the chances of gaining a place at the super-selective schools. The Judd and Skinners' Schools have already issued a statement acknowledging this and suggesting potential candidates should not be put off applying if their scores are lower than in previous years. For Kent candidates who have passed the Kent Test this should present few problems. As always, put your preferred school first; you will not damage your chances at a lower preference school and a choice of four Kent schools should still not present a problem.
4) Two other Kent grammar schools where there will be a difference are Maidstone and Simon Langton Grammar Schools for Boys. These schools give priority to boys scoring above a certain mark in the Kent test. Because of the uncertainty of outcome, they have switched to an equivalent which still equates to the previous marks of 390 and 385 respectively. However, it is clear there will only be a small number of boys achieving this standard, so nearly all places will now be awarded on grounds of distance, this has been confirmed to parents now by both schools . On a more general point, this underlines the greatly increased spread of marks this year, with the previous bunching at the very top mark evaporated.
5) The Judd School was proposing to set up its own test to replace the Kent Test for admission to the school for 2016 entry. It was dissatisfied with both the too great coachability and the lack of English in the arrangements for 2013 and previously. It may be that the new test will satisfy the school and stop it going down the separate route.
6) Of course there are five Kent grammar schools that also offer alternative admission tests: Dover Girls and Boys, Folkestone School for Girls and Harvey, and Mayfield Grammar in Gravesend. It will be interesting to see how their results differ from the Kent test this year.
Out of County Issues
Several Dartford parents have rightly challenged me on my failure to comment on the consequences of the influx of out of county children into the four Dartford Grammar schools. Whilst all local children who pass the Kent Test have secured places in the past, new oversubscription criteria at Dartford Girls and Boys may undermine this, but I think it unlikely. In any case with boys the most critical, the changes at Wilmington Boys Grammar to give more priority to Kent children should remove this possibility. The problem comes with children who have failed the Kent Test however narrowly and for whatever reason. Their chances of success remain the lowest in any part of the county because the schools are full to bursting with long waiting lists of London children who have passed the test and are looking for places. I have every sympathy for these families, but schools do have the right to define their own priorities and too many, an increasing number, are chasing league table positions at the expense of local children. The decision by Wilmington Boys to reverse this trend is a welcome, if exceptional, development. I have now written a new article on the problems facing such children in North West Kent.
NOTE: As the 11 plus website Forum is dominated by parents seeking places at the the three West Kent Super-Selectives, anyone else reading the forum is likely to see a very distorted pattern of results, not reflective in any way of the picture across Kent. I am having too many enquiries from parents who have been misled as a consequence.