Kent’s 11-plus should be evidence led and transparent

C_AeLdeXYAAB6TAKEN sent a letter to Kent County Council leader, Paul Carter, and Cabinet Member for Education, Roger Gough following the study of Kent 11-plus data by Education Datalab. KEN has not been able to obtain all the information we need in response to our FOI requests, and we hope the council will make more information available to ensure our 11-plus test can be reviewed properly.  We believe that if the people of Kent see how the Kent Test really works, they’ll realise the whole process is illogical and unfair to many vulnerable groups of children.

Dear Kent County Council,

The recent study of the Kent Test by Education Datalab has given us cause for concern. We hope that this research might inspire changes to Kent’s selection test, which has avoided scrutiny for decades. We would like to see an evidence-led and transparent approach to the Kent Test, and with this in mind we would like you to implement the following improvements to Kent’s selection process.

  1. KCC should define exactly what ‘grammar school standard’ means and devise a test to fit this definition.

It is a standard principle in test creation that a clear statement should be made describing the attributes being tested. We would like you to define ‘grammar school standard’ with a logical reason for the attributes described and the selection percentage it involves. It is only by defining this standard that we can check the test is accurately selecting children that fit this description.

2. KCC should release an annual report linking 11-plus scores to the eventual GCSE outcomes of the children who pass and fail and Kent Test.

This will give a clear indication of the accuracy and reliability of the Kent Test. If you are unwilling to produce this report, then anonymised test data linked to pupil’s GCSE results should be made available for researchers to study.

 3. The 11-plus pass rates for vulnerable pupil groups should be reported.

We would like KCC to produce an annual report of the 11-plus pass rates and scores of groups of pupils who may be disadvantaged by the Kent Test including:

  • Disadvantaged pupils.
  • Special Educational Needs pupils.
  • Dyslexic pupils.
  • Non-native English speaking pupils.
  • Pupils attending primary schools with poor Ofsted judgements or results.

If you are unwilling to produce this report then anonymised test data linked to these indicators should be made available for researchers.

  1. Parents should be told the likelihood that their child’s Kent Test results are inaccurate, with information on the misclassification potential of the test.

KCC should ask their commercial test provider to publish full classification accuracy statistics following each admission round. Parents should have a right to request this statistic for their child’s test result.

There are more details about classification accuracy and the probability of pupils being misclassified here.

We hope that you will be willing to help with our requests for greater openness, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on these proposals.

Yours sincerely,

Joanne Bartley,

Chair, Kent Education Network


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