In the 1997 white paper Your Right to Know, the government set out their objective of bringing about more open governance in public life based on mutual trust, “Openness is fundamental to the political health of a modern state.” We couldn’t agree more but 11+ test results are shrouded in secrecy. The schools release so called ‘standardised’ results but the public are denied access to the underlying test results which decide which children attend our public schools. We’ve produced a short animation giving some of the reasons we think this information isn’t in the public domain.
TRAK have been successful in getting some information released although the latest ruling went against us. The University of Durham persuaded the court that releasing the test marks would undermine their unique tutor-proof test and they would stand to lose financially. The ruling was not unanimous with the judge saying we, “had provided evidence that the claimed USP of tutorproofing was highly questionable and that the public interest warranted close examination of this claim which could only be achieved through the disclosure of the disputed material.”
Information we have obtained shows CEM and GL, who between them provide the majority of 11+ tests, earn £2.5m annually from this service. Commercial interest is clearly not in question but we completely refute unsubstantiated marketing claims that it is possible to devise tutor-proof test – a view seemingly shared by parents who spend an estimated £6bn on private tutoring each year. Our our long term objective remains to remove the existing secrecy around entrance tests so that any debate on selective education can be informed and objective.
The following is a link to some of the information we have been able to obtain.
Year 7 entrance test results for entry in years 2011, 2012, 2013, (Tests taken in 2010, 2011 and 2012) as finally released by the school following a tribunal decision.
Letter from Reading School explaining how they incorrectly marked late test entrants for 2013 entry
“Standardised” test results for entry in 2012, 2013, 2014 (Tests taken in 2011, 2012 and 2013)
Covering email from Kendrick School confirming they do no hold information on the scores of those who are offered places (question 4.)
After the intervention of the Information Commissioner, Kendrick School have provided the information they previously advised they didn’t have including some limited information on FSM pupils.
University of Durham CEM
In 2014 we requested copies of the raw test marks for Slough, Reading and Kendrick schools along with details of the “standardisation” process used. The authority released the “standardised” scores although these contain incongruities for anyone with basic knowledge of statistical maths leading us to specualte as to what CEM are trying to hide.
It seems we’re not the only ones interested in the efficacy of the testing itself and have also been passed the following two replies to requests for information from CEM by another member of the public.
Reading and Kendrick catchment map
Prior to our campaign the schools didn’t provide maps of their catchment areas making it very difficult for anyone to appreciate how vast the catchment areas are.
Our solution was to produce our own using Google Earth combined with data provided by the Ordnance Survey and the list of postcodes provided by the schools as a kml file:
This can be loaded into Google Earth (standard inclusion on android phones or availalbe as a download) and browsed interactively. For those without Google Earth it looks like this: