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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:56 pm 
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Dear Etienne and team,

I'd be grateful if you could offer some advice on a Bucks Selection Review that I would like to request. I have summarised as best I can below.

Background

  • My daughter achieved an STTS of 120 (120.75);
  • Her age standardised scores were 123, 114 and 123 for Verbal, Maths and Non-verbal respectively;
  • So she was significantly let down by her maths;
  • I believe that the maths score was an anomaly, based on practice tests and general strength in maths;
  • My DD attends a local prep school which she joined in Y4. I thought she was a little behind when she joined but that she has caught up and is now sound in Maths and English, being in top set for both.
  • My DD's Headteacher has told me he will do whatever he can to help
  • He has asked one of his leads to start the ball rolling while he's away for half term.

My initial thoughts on the approach for my request form

I am inclined to think that the best approach is to keep my selection review request very simple …
  • Argue that her maths score was unexpectedly low;
  • Articulate why she was expected to do better.

I have studied all of the four end of term maths exams that DD has taken since she joined the school in Year 4. It feels to me that one could argue there is a reasonably positive and consistent narrative, as per the summary below (I've pulled out the best bits). I'd appreciate feedback on whether or not it is relevant and persuasive. Incidentally, I wasn't thinking that I'd provide this information directly, but that I'd ask the Headteacher to consider it, in order for him to feel comfortable making the point for me. I've provided some reasoning below.

Y5 Summer Term
Score: 85%
My comment: Top set. 11+ paper
Extract from teacher's report: “…. The end of year exam was a genuine 11+ paper and xxxxx’s marks reflect her hard work this year and her considerable progress in this subject.”

Y5 Autumn Term
Score: 78%
My comment:This was the top score for the 2nd set. DD scored 8th of 49 whole year. Subsequently moved up to top set
Extract from teacher's report: "I was really impressed with xxxxx's mark in the Year 5 exam. This showed that she has strong knowledge of a wide range of maths topics. In the mental maths exam xxxxx scored 12/20, which was commendable performance, on a time pressured exam."

Y4 Summer Term
Score: 87%
Extract from teacher's report: "xxxxx works very hard at her maths and this has resulted in her making plenty of progress this year, as well as achieving a superb exam result."

Y4 Autumn Term
Score: 86%
My comment: 90% in written exam
Extract from teacher’s report: "xxxxx has made excellent progress in maths during her short time here. This was evident in a superb maths exam result. She scored 90% in her written exam which was a result of all the hard work she put in during the lead up to exam week"

It occurs to me that some or all of this might be better said in the Headteacher input rather than in mine:
  • I understand that our case will succeed or fail almost entirely based on the Headteacher input
  • I cannot paint the picture above myself without attaching a lot of paperwork to prove it
  • This might overwhelm the review (I’m told they sometimes only last 3 minutes!)
  • And I suspect it would distract from the cut-through message that DD has been consistently strong in maths.

However, if the HT was satisfied that the results and teacher commentary that I’ve found demonstrate a consistent strength, then I wonder if he would be inclined to assert in the headteacher input that
  • He strongly support DD's application
  • He feels that her maths score in particular was unexpected and unrepresentative of her ability
  • On the basis that she has been consistently very strong in maths (for example, … etc)


I am conscious that there is a similar narrative I can point to for English results.
  • I’d be grateful for your thoughts on whether this would help to strengthen DD's general case
  • Or whether it would distract from a central premise that maths unexpectedly let her down.

Finally, it is possible that DD suffered from the loss of the 6 marks at the end of the VR paper, since English and VR were a particular strength in practice tests and she believes she finished that section. I did write to GL to make that case to them before the results came out. I'd be grateful for thoughts on whether that would be helpful for extenuating circumstances (I don't think I can point to hard evidence of any other extenuating circumstances)

So - I'd be very grateful for any thoughts on how to shape my selection review request. I appreciate I don't yet have input from the school about their thoughts on DD and the Headteacher's summary. It would be helpful if you could suggest anything I could be asking the school.

Thanks in advance if you got this far!
Best wishes


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8380
Welcome! :)

Quote:
I am inclined to think that the best approach is to keep my selection review request very simple …
Argue that her maths score was unexpectedly low;
Articulate why she was expected to do better.
Although the review panel will look carefully at your maths argument, I think they will still want to be satisfied about overall academic ability (irrespective of 123 for VR and NVR).

Quote:
I wasn't thinking that I'd provide this information directly, but that I'd ask the Headteacher to consider it, in order for him to feel comfortable making the point for me.
Good!

Quote:
I'd be grateful for thoughts on whether that would be helpful for extenuating circumstances
You need something under extenuating circumstances, so you may as well mention it. Whether it will count for anything is another matter.

Quote:
My DD attends a local prep school
Is it a high performing school? The problem for the panel is understanding the context within which daughter has been performing.

Is it a partner school? (This would help because the panel can draw conclusions from the headteacher recommendations made in advance of the results of the transfer test.)

See also B48 part 2:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... cation#b48

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:19 am
Posts: 4
Thank you very much, Etienne - that's very helpful.

Would you mind considering a few more questions, please?

1. Selection Review vs Appeal - level of detail required

I have seen a lot of information about Appeals but little about Selection Reviews. I read somewhere that some Selection Reviews are over within mintues, and I'm conscious that the parent and Headteacher forms are only 2 sides of A4. So, I am curious whether there is a difference in the level of detail or the approach required for a Selection Review compared to an Appeal.

  • Can I treat every suggestion about Appeal as being equally valid for a Selection Review?
  • Or is there any extent to which I should make it more succint?

2. Overall academic ability

Quote:
Although the review panel will look carefully at your maths argument, I think they will still want to be satisfied about overall academic ability (irrespective of 123 for VR and NVR).


Thanks - that's helpful feedback. I shall run through the B48 list https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea%20...%20cation#b48 with DD's school.

It occurs to me that the headteacher writing your sample bullet points appears to be dealing with a very strong student who I'm surprised to find having to appeal! May I ask:
  • Whether the bullet points are simply showing a range of examples, or whether one should feel disheartened if ones child doesn't match up against all of them?
  • Is the bar higher to get through an SR or Appeal than it would have been to get through the 11+?

4. Having accepted the need to demonstrate wider academic ability, should I still focus on the maths issue?
  • Surprise at the Maths paper seems to be the point to labour since it's the only one that was below 121, since it was significantly worse than the others, and since it would make my submission simpler to focus just on Maths.
  • Does this feel right to you ?

4. Partner School - previous submission

Quote:
Is it a partner school? (This would help because the panel can draw conclusions from the headteacher recommendations made in advance of the results of the transfer test.)


Yes, it is a partner school, and I have asked the school to share with me the original headteacher recommendations.

Have you come across situations where schools feel minded, having reflected, to be more positive in their Selection Review than they were in the original submission? If so, are there any key justifications that might be reasonable for that change?

5. Partner school - context | high performance

Quote:
Is it a high performing school? The problem for the panel is understanding the context within which daughter has been performing.


Good point, thanks - I'll ask them about that.


Thanks again, Etienne,
It's a great relief to have had your feedback.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8380
bucks_dd_2019 wrote:
I have seen a lot of information about Appeals but little about Selection Reviews. I read somewhere that some Selection Reviews are over within mintues, and I'm conscious that the parent and Headteacher forms are only 2 sides of A4. So, I am curious whether there is a difference in the level of detail or the approach required for a Selection Review compared to an Appeal.
I suppose the key difference is that there's a highly structured headteacher summary sheet for the review, and the panel's decision is likely to be made on the basis of what this form states.
My guess is that most parents rely on the headteacher summary sheet, although there may be a substantial minority who add a Y5 report.

The appeal process is more open-ended, and it deals with a much wider range of issues.

Quote:
Can I treat every suggestion about Appeal as being equally valid for a Selection Review?
Or is there any extent to which I should make it more succinct?
I think our suggestions for academic evidence would be broadly the same (except that school work cannot be submitted for a review).

Parents probably tend to write too much for reviews and for appeals. Ideally, the evidence should speak for itself.

Quote:
It occurs to me that the headteacher writing your sample bullet points appears to be dealing with a very strong student who I'm surprised to find having to appeal!
I agree! The 11+ result must have been a complete blip. It happens! :)

Quote:
May I ask:
Whether the bullet points are simply showing a range of examples, or whether one should feel disheartened if ones child doesn't match up against all of them?
Just examples.

Quote:
Is the bar higher to get through an SR or Appeal than it would have been to get through the 11+?
It's difficult to compare an 11+ test on one day in September with progress in the curriculum at KS2.
However, if the comparison is between an 11+ test result and and a nationally standardised test such as CATs, I do think the bar is higher.
      Quote:
      So what’s wrong with a nationally standardised 121 if it’s around the 92nd percentile?

      There may be nothing wrong with it – but we have to keep in mind that we’re talking about evidence that’s going to convince a review or appeal panel.

      121 might look borderline to a panel – especially taking into account confidence intervals (the ‘true score’ could be higher or lower).

      In so far as one can generalise, my experience was that panels felt reassured by scores around the mid-120s. The upper-120s would have been better. There was no guideline or ‘rule’, however – it was up to individual panel members to weigh up the evidence as a whole.

      The issue is what a panel might perceive to be a ‘satisfactory’ score.

      Someone on the forum once wrote:

      It’s like seeking to adopt a child – you have more to prove than an ‘ordinary’ parent would!


      https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... cation#b57

Quote:
4. Having accepted the need to demonstrate wider academic ability, should I still focus on the maths issue?
Surprise at the Maths paper seems to be the point to labour since it's the only one that was below 121, since it was significantly worse than the others, and since it would make my submission simpler to focus just on Maths.
Does this feel right to you ?
I would tend towards attaching equal weight. If possible, don't write too much. Just refer to the evidence.

Quote:
Yes, it is a partner school,
Good.

Quote:
and I have asked the school to share with me the original headteacher recommendations.
The following sort of information is made available to a review panel, and to everyone attending an appeal if at a Bucks or partner school:

      Quote:
      How many children had a 1:1 (a ‘1’ recommendation, and a ‘1’ for attitude)?
      How many of these qualified?
      How many children had a 1:2 (a ‘1’ recommendation, and a ‘2’ for attitude)?
      How many of these qualified?
      How many children had a 1:3 (a ‘1’ recommendation, and a ‘3’ for attitude)?
      How many of these qualified?
      How many children had a 2:1 (a ‘2’ recommendation, and a ‘1’ for attitude)?
      How many of these qualified?
      How many children had a 2:2 (a ‘2’ recommendation, and a ‘2’ for attitude)?
      How many of these qualified?
      How many children had a 3:1 (a ‘3’ recommendation, and a ‘1’ for attitude)?
      How many of these qualified?


Quote:
Have you come across situations where schools feel minded, having reflected, to be more positive in their Selection Review than they were in the original submission?
If by "submission" you're referring to the headteacher recommendation, it was due in by 4th October. It seems unlikely that they would revise their opinion within the space of a month or so.

Appeals are another matter. The gap between 4th October and the summer term is such that headteachers have been known to write in some cases "If I were giving my recommendation now, it would be a ...."

Quote:
If so, are there any key justifications that might be reasonable for that change?
Recent rapid progress owing to greater maturity?


Interesting questions! :)

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:30 pm 
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Hi Etienne,

Thanks for your comprehensive reply.

I think some of my 'interesting questions' must have been inspired by post-11+ paranoia. I have since spoken to my DD's head teacher who has produced a Head Teacher summary that appears to be very supportive.

Key points from the summary are:

Recommendations: 2,2
Progress: Working at Greater Depth for all three subjects
Predicted Performance: 111-120 for Reading and Maths, Working at Greater Depth for writing
Prior attainment: Various SRS2, PIRA results of 126 to 131, OWPA writing 5a, ISEB11+ Maths 85% A*, Science 83% A.
Additional information: Very Positive text, fully supportive

I have drafted the Parent's form, saying that the grounds for asking for a Selection review are:
  • I believe DD is able and well suited
  • Test result unexpected and unrepresentative
  • Suitability strongly supported by Head Teacher

I have also added some commentary about extenuating circumstances.

I'd be very grateful for any comments you might be able to offer about my text for the 'Grounds'.

I've avoided putting too much information above for fear of it being identifiable. Would it be possible to post a copy of the grounds to the private inbox that I've seen referred to, please?

Thanks again, Etienne.
Best wishes


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:39 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8380
Quote:
I believe DD is able and well suited
Parental assertions won't count for much! :?

Quote:
Test result unexpected and unrepresentative
Add: "in the light of the attached evidence."

Quote:
Suitability strongly supported by Head Teacher
Why not make this part of a concise summary of the key points, as in Mary's Review, E32(c)?
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... aneous#e32

But don't worry too much about grounds for review. What really matters is the evidence, not what you write.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:07 pm 
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Hi Etienne,

My daughter's Selection Review application was successful.

Thank you very much for your support and your guidance.

Best wishes


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:33 pm 
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Posts: 8380
Well done! :D

Delighted to hear the news!

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Etienne


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