A Beginner’s Guide To The 11 Plus – Kent, Medway and Gravesend Edition
Chapter 4: Marks and Scores to Pass Kent & Medway Tests
How and When the Scores are Given
Marks for the Kent Test are usually released in the second week of October (a month after the test is taken) Your child’s test results will comprise of three standardised scores – English, Maths and Reasoning – as well as a total score.
Standardisation compares your child to the average performance of other children and is adjusted to take account of your child’s age. Read more about standardisation at the end of this chapter.
The Pass Mark Needed
One thing you need to remember about the Kent Test is that the pass mark changes every year. This is down to the range of test scores being different for each set of children. A pass mark doesn’t guarantee your child a place at a grammar school – but it does mean they’ve met the academic requirements and the grammar school will consider your application.
In 2018, the grammar school threshold was 323, with no single score lower than 107. In context, the lowest score possible on each test is 69 and the highest score is 141 – meaning the highest total possible score is 423. In 2017 and 2016, the grammar school threshold was 320.
Kent County Council has released a series of reports showing total scores and the number of children achieving them. If you want to see the Kent Test score reports, you can access them at https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/school-places/kent-test#tab-5
How and When the Scores are Given
Results for the 11 plus are released in the second week in October. Like the Kent Test, the scores are standardised, but the individual scores are also weighted. Verbal reasoning test score has a weighting of 1 and the maths and extended writing task has a weighting of 2. This means that according to this weighting the total score is comprised:
- 20% verbal reasoning
- 40% mathematics
- 40% English
To get the total score, Maths and English standardised scores are doubled and added to the verbal reasoning standardised score. The minimum weighted score is 350, and the maximum is 700.
The Pass Mark Needed
Like the Kent Test, pass marks vary from year to year, but it is always set at the 23rd percentile of the cohort. In past exams the pass mark has been:
- 2018: 495
- 2017: 513
- 2016: 521
- 2015: 525
- 2014: 528
- 2013: 509
Understanding Standardised Scores
There’s often a lot of confusion about how standardisation in 11+ tests actually works. For parents, standardisation and age standardisation are terms that raise lots of questions – such as how standardised scores are calculated. Here’s a brief overview to help you understand what factors are included in standardisation.
Firstly, standardisation is a means of giving equal value to the results of the different tests, taking into consideration the number of questions and the time allocated to the paper. Because 11+ tests are given a combined total score, standardisation ensures that within this score each test result is weighted equally.
For example: If a verbal reasoning paper has 80 questions and is allocated 50 minutes, and a maths paper has 100 questions and is allocated 45 minutes, adding the ‘raw’ scores together and/or generating an average does not produce an equally weighted score.
Standardisation overcomes this problem by apportioning equal value to each test result, despite the original number of questions and the length of the exam.
Secondly, standardisation takes into consideration the age of the children when they sit the tests. This is to ensure that children with birthdays later in the school year aren’t at a disadvantage to older children with birthdays towards the start of the year.
For example, a child with their birthday on 3rd September takes the 11+ test on the same day as a child whose birthday is on 24th August. The second child is almost a full year younger than the first child, but as they’re in the same school year, they take the test at the same time. The first child has almost a years’ advantage in terms of their vocabulary – and children generally expand their vocabulary by over a thousand words per year, so this advantage is significant.
Age standardisation is calculated according to the child’s age on the day that they take the test, with scores being adjusted to ensure that all children are tested fairly. Younger children are, therefore, awarded extra marks to account for their age disadvantage.
A common misconception is that older children have marks removed as part of the standardisation process. This is simply not true. Another misconception about standardisation is that boys, who are thought to develop at a slower speed than girls, are allocated standardised scores differently to their female counterparts. Again, this is simply not true.
Standardised tests are calculated using a reference table – which is always specific to each paper. An example is shown below:
You can see in this hypothetical example that a child who is exactly 10 years old (born at the end of August) who achieves a raw score of 80 will receive a standardised mark of 117. A child who is 10 years and 6 months old (born in March) with a raw score of 80 is awarded a standardised score of 111, with the 6 mark difference taking into account the 6-month advantage the older child has.