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Saturday, 01 October 2016 15:59

Medway Test Scores Blunder - Medway fails families yet again

Story as at Monday afternoon, 3rd October

Medway Council has failed to report this year's Medway Test results to parents correctly, causing considerable distress to families. You will find the full story below, but first, here is a statement by Medway Council giving the current situation for concerned families, published 12.30 Monday.  

MEDWAY TEST UPDATE: The total score and assessment outcomes published in Medway Test result letters is correct for all candidates, despite a publication error which led to the wrong extended writing score being printed in the letters to non-selective (non-grammar) pupils.

We worked as a matter of urgency to look into the Medway Test results after a figure was incorrectly published on non-selective (non-grammar) result letters. While individual scores published for maths, verbal reasoning and extended writing papers did not add up to the total score, the total score stated and the assessment outcome in the results letter is correct.

We have thoroughly rechecked the results and we will be re-issuing result letters today to those families affected with the correct figures, but this will not impact the total score or the assessment outcome for pupils. The deadline for review requests has been extended to 10am on Monday, 10 October, to give parents more time to prepare in acknowledgement of any uncertainty this has caused over the weekend.

We are sorry for the concern and confusion this may have caused parents at what is a very important time in their child's education.

Parents who would like further clarification on their child’s results can contact their school directly.

The story up to the release of the above statement at noon on Monday (updated to take account of it) 

Medway Council sent out wrong individual test scores for many children who sat the Medway Test last month. It appears this applies to all children who have not passed. It is clear from the many enquiries I have had, and the 4508 hits (by some way a record) on this page since I posted the first version of this article on Saturday evening, that there were many very distressed families left in limbo by this blunder.
Medway Council Logo

In summary,....

for children who have not passed, they have correctly been told they are non-selective, but for all these candidates there is a discrepancy between the total score given and the sum of the individual test scores, calculated using the formula given below. We now know from the above that the total score given is correct; the sum of the scores should be ignored especially if, as is often the case, this figure exceeds the required pass score of 513, wrongly suggesting there should be a selective assessment.

Children who are told they have passed should have the correct individual test scores. A reported 1999 Medway children took the test so this blunder will affect around 1200 Medway children found non-selective by the Test, along with perhaps 500 from outside the Authority (the number taking the Test from outside Medway having nearly doubled this year.   

 The new Cabinet Member for Children's Services (including Education), Andrew Mackness, was informed of the problem on Saturday. See video clip here. Unfortunately, he was unable to get Officers to respond until Monday morning, but still describing their action as prompt, although it surely should have been possible for someone from an Authority whose slogan is 'Serving You', to establish that at a minimum the total score was correct before then. A statement to this effect on Sunday would have saved a great amount of grief, as I know from the torrent of emails i have received. Unusually for Medway, Mr Mackness made clear his unhappiness at what happened and his appreciation of the distress caused, rather than the usual whitewash. Fortunately, having deduced the nature of the mistake made I was able directly, or through this website on Saturday, to provide some confidence as to what it now emerges is the correct situation. 

 You will find the relevant statistics for last year here, together with the advice on Review I wrote then. If you wish to take advantage of my Telephone Advisory Service or to explore Medway grammar school admissions and my advice elsewhere on the website, see the article below.

How the final Medway Test result is calculated and what went wrong
Children take three separate  tests in Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics and Extended Writing. Each of the Test scores is locally standardised to produce a score between 70 and 140. The three scores are combined to produce a total score as follows: The total is calculated as the sum of the VR Test score added to twice the score in both Mathematics and Extended Writing. 

For example, a child who was reported by Medway as having a final score of 510 which was correct, was reported on the same page of the Decision Letter as having VR = 102, Mathematics = 104 and Extended Writing = 102. This would add up to 514 using the formula above different from the actual final score. The pass score is 513, so these and many other parents didn't know if their child had passed or failed the Medway Test. In this case the parents would have received a non-selective assessment which is correct.

It is clear that in all cases of discrepancy, the individual Test results have the same score for both Verbal Reasoning and Extended Writing as above. This is because the reported Extended Writing mark is wrong, having been copied from the Verbal Reasoning score instead of using the correct answer, and no one in Medway Admissions Department  bothered to check this critical action. 

Conclusion
Most importantly, highly distressed families needed to learn the correct outcomes as soon as possible. And it is most unfortunate there was no way of contacting the Admissions Department who have created this situation, over the weekend. There will certainly still be some who still don't yet know if their child has been successful or not where the individual scores add up to more than 513 and they don't know which figure to trust.

Many face the decision on whether to apply for Review by Friday, and knowing the correct scores may be critical to that decision, but time is tight. I am pleased that Medway Council recognises this issue (perhaps someone read this webpage!) and the closing date for Review has been put back to Monday, 10th October, at 10 a.m.  

Once again I am appalled by another Medway Council failure to Serve You its Council Taxpayers. For surely such gross carelessness would be unacceptable in any reputable business although, as so often before, it will presumably simply be glossed over and 'we have learned lessons' when they haven't.

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:13

7 comments

  • Comment Link Friday, 14 October 2016 22:42 posted by Angela Eliot

    To me I believe that there's a serious error in marking of the creative writing because Medway just doesn't want to go through remarking the paper so they just told everyone the same excuse about the computer errors because my son is very good at English and did extremely well at the Kent test while Medway gave him a very low score in English to me I think that that Medway just did the easiest sum by just deducting the marks just to match up the total sum the instead of looking at the real problem by declaring all the children failed. PETER: I will lay the blame for much at Medway's door, but not this one.I am confident the story they finally came up with is the correct one. The reason the two English marks are so different is that the tests are measuring different things. The Kent Test offers a number of questions purely on SPAG. In Medway they put all their eggs in the one basket of a single piece of writing, a very different exercise and prone to deliver an out of character result if the candidate misreads the question and loses an unfair proportion of marks. Sorry.

  • Comment Link Monday, 03 October 2016 11:55 posted by Gem

    Hi Peter, Obviously we need final clarification as to what has gone wrong but it appears that the score at the top of our letters will be the correct ones. Can you explain what the difference between the review and appeal is please?

    My daughter scored 508 so just short of the required 513, would that be worth an appeal or review? Thanks in advance for your answer and your report above. PETER. Updated article now has full information on the issue. For explanation of Review go to links in article on Medway Test below this one. I would not dream of expressing a view on such limited information. For comment on individual cases return to my website, along top bar, "What I offer"; Go to "Can I help you" or "Contact me".

  • Comment Link Sunday, 02 October 2016 22:02 posted by Nicole

    Hi my son got 99 92 99. The email states he failed with a mark of 499! This like most doesnt add up. Am i to assume 499 is his actual score. And do you think its worth appealing ? Many thanks PETER: I believe 499 is correct, but we need to wait until Medway Council confirms the nature of their blunder to be certain. I have no idea whether you should appeal or go to Review on such limited information.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 02 October 2016 21:10 posted by Cassie Felton

    There are a nunber of reasons why a spreadsheet error is unlikely. I personally think there has been a clerical error in the computer generated letters sent to those who did not pass, with the score for verbal reasoning as variable 1 copied into what should have been Variable 3, the score for Written english.

    Letters sent to those who passed are different to letters sent to those who failed and do not contain the same error. that indicates a problem with the template used.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 02 October 2016 20:16 posted by Greg C

    It has been a bleak weekend since we saw the discrepancy and didn't know if our daughter had passed or failed.
    Even though we don't like the answer we thank you for so much for writing such a clear explanation of what has gone wrong. You have saved us a troubled weekend with no response from Medway. Even the emergency helpline person appeared embarrassed he had no number for the Admissions Department.

    You must have been working all weekend as I understand this is a rewrite because of fresh information. Thank you so much for your effort, expertise and wisdom. PETER: My pleasure.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 02 October 2016 20:14 posted by Marcus Bell

    Our Nephew got 105, 108 & 105 and didn't pass. His final score was 477. PETER: Sorry to hear this. As explained above, his actual total is still 477 too far away in my opinion for a grammar school place unless there are exceptional circustances

  • Comment Link Saturday, 01 October 2016 21:38 posted by S helsdon

    We too have experienced the same with the total score not reflecting the sum of the parts. Both written and verbal reasoning stating the same score

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