Nationally, on the standardised tests, children should score 113 to finish in the top 21%. In Kent, girls needed to score 116 in each of English and maths, comfortably outperforming the national norm. For boys it is 114 for English and 118 for maths. However, for the reasoning tests, the 21st percentile rises to 121 for both boys and girls showing the powerful influence of tutoring in this subject.
There will still be children who have passed on scores of 106 or thereabouts in both English and maths, who appear to be about the 40th percentile in both subjects, and may well struggle at grammar school. KCC could have cut these children out by asking for a higher score in just one of English or maths to retain the 21% level, but this of course would have defeated its original aim. A number of these will in any case have lost out on a grammar school place through failure to reach the 320 aggregate required of all successful candidates.
For other families, what does this mean for chances at appeal? There will clearly be a very high number of children appealing who have passed in two out of three subjects, but one can hardly see appeal panels upholding more cases as a result even when, as I predict, the number of appeal cases is likely to soar.
Whilst I can think of a couple of boys’ grammar schools that would still like to see priority given to the high scoring mathematician, I don't envy the appeal panels trying to choose between some 1500 Kent children spread amongst the 33 Kent grammar schools who have missed an automatic pass by three or fewer standardised marks in one test, a very high proportion of whom will appeal for a grammar school place.
I am sure that many appeal panels will be looking for a good score in either maths or English to balance a miss in the other subject, rather than just a bare pass level of 106.
What is sadly clear is that a standardised score of 100 in a single test remains the sign of a child in the 50th percentile, or who is completely average, and appeal panels are still going to require very strong evidence to up hold an appeal with a score of 100 or lower against the many others who are much closer in terms of marks.
None of the above makes reference to the additional four percent of Kent children found selective by Headteacher Assessment, Panels having taken into account not only the test results, but Headteacher recommendation, the pupil’s classwork seen, the written English Test and grades achieved at school.
Nor does it look at outcomes for children from outside Kent who tend to fall into higher ability levels, hence the decision to look at Kent grammar schools, and so cannot be analysed in the same way.