Grammar school entry test ‘unfair’ for children born in summer

'It is high time we admitted the entire 11-plus test system is flawed and unworkable'.

A group of grammar schools needs to change how they score the 11-plus admissions test as it is “unfair” for children born in the summer, the official admissions watchdog has suggested -writes independent.co.uk.

Pupils taking the entry test for Colchester County High School for Girls, in Essex , must have their scores adjusted to reflect age differences, an Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) reportsaid.

The unweighted test –used by 10 grammar schools in Essex – puts children born in July or August at a disadvantage, compared with older pupils of the same school year, the OSA ruled.

“A smaller proportion of summer born girls who take the test achieve the required test scores than girls born at other times of the year," schools adjudicator Ann Talboyswrote."I consider that the admission arrangements currently in operation are unfair to girls who are born in the summer months."

The ruling, which came after acomplaint by a parent, only applies to the Colchester school - but the 11-plus test is also used by the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex

Ms Talboys' reportalso revealedthe degree to which younger pupils have been at a significant disadvantage.

Last year, only 19 per cent of pupils born in July or August achieved a test pass mark for the grammar school, compared to 35 per cent of children who were born in September.

The school’s admissions arrangements must be changed to standardise for age before the process of recruitment for new pupils for September 2019 begins, the report concluded.

“The school has argued that this is unnecessary for their tests, as statistical analysis undertaken on its behalf does not show any correlation between date of birth and test result," it said."Examination of this analysis by a professional statistician at the Department for Education (DfE) has shown that analysis to be flawed.”

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