11+ Transfer Test for Buckinghamshire Sep 19

The request was refused by The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools.

Dear The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools,

I would be grateful if you could answer the following:

1. Reference to the recommendations to strip out / 100% award questions being marked on the 11+ Secondary Transfer Test for Bucks on 12 Sep 19. Can you identify the Statistician(s) by name who carried out this analysis and subsequent recommendations? There is no requirement to publicly name the statistician(s). Can you confirm their qualifications have been validated back with their University and confirm they are each adequately qualified to make the recommendations made since 12 Sep 19. Can you review and validate why they were used over other statisticians? Once you have reviewed them can you confirm if you would use / recommend using their services differently again – if differently – please explain why.
2. It is understood that the VR part of the paper contains Comprehension, Cloze and Verbal Reasoning and possibly other elements. Can you provide a breakdown of what sections are in this paper, how many original questions were in the original exam per section and how many final questions being marked per section?

Yours faithfully,

James Barrett

TBGS, The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

Dear Mr Barrett
Thank you for your email. We will respond to your request within 20
working days.
Kind regards
Mark Sturgeon
Chair
The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

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TBGS, The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

Dear Mr Barrett

 

Thank you for your email of 2 November 2019. I am writing to inform you of
the extent to which we can comply with your request.

 

In relation to the Buckinghamshire 11+ test taken in September 2019, you
have requested the following information:

 

 1. to identify the statistician(s) by name who carried out this analysis
and subsequent recommendations.
 2. to confirm the statistician(s) qualifications have been validated back
with their University and confirm they are each adequately qualified
to make the recommendations made since 12 Sep 19.
 3. a breakdown of what sections are in this paper, how many original
questions were in the original exam per section and how many final
questions being marked per section.

 

You have also asked if we can review and validate why the statistician(s)
engaged were used over other statisticians, and once that review is
undertaken, to confirm if and why we use their services again. We confirm
that information is not held. The statistician(s) were engaged by GL
Assessment.

 

The FoIA has certain exemptions to the right to have information
disclosed.  One of the absolute exemptions is provided for in section 41
of the FoIA – Confidentiality. Another relevant exemption is section 43 of
the FoIA – Commercial interests.

In respect of requests 1 and 2 above, we cannot provide you with the above
requested information as this information has been supplied to us by GL
Assessment Limited, subject to conditions of confidentiality, so the
section 41 (confidentiality) exemption applies.

 

Section 41 - Confidentiality

 

If information is provided to a public body in confidence, and a breach of
that confidence would result in action being taken against the public
body, then the public body does not have to disclose that information. As
stated above, the information you have requested above has been provided
to us by GL Assessment Limited subject to conditions of confidentiality, a
breach of which would result in GL Assessment Limited taking action
against us. This is an absolute exemption which means the public interest
test is not applicable.

 

However, we would like to reassure you that the statistician used to
create the report is eminent in the field of educational assessment,
independent of GL Assessment Limited (and ourselves) and has longstanding
associations with high profile academic institutions.

 

In respect of request 3, we cannot provide you with that information
because the commercial interests exemption (section 43(2) of the FoIA)
applies to our disclosure of that information.

 

Section 43 – Commercial Interests

 

You have asked for a breakdown of what sections were in the paper, how
many original questions were in the original exam per section and how many
final questions were marked per section. This information is pertinent to
the construction of the test and disclosure of that information to the
public could be used to ascertain which areas of the test should be given
more focus in the future when preparing to take the exam. This has a
particular effect of being advantageous for 11+ tutoring organisations,
and those parents who can afford to engage those tutors.

This, as a result, threatens to affect the integrity and purpose of the
test, which is very important to us, but also to our supplier of the test,
GL Assessment.

GL Assessment is one of several suppliers of selection tests nationally,
each of whom expend a lot of effort trying to preserve the integrity of
its tests. The commercial interests exemption applies if a disclosure
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person. A commercial interest relates to a person’s ability to participate
competitively in a commercial activity, i.e. the purchase and sale of
goods or services.

It is our view that the disclosure of the requested information would
prejudice GL Assessment Limited’s commercial interests because:

• as explained above, GL Assessment’s test could potentially be more
susceptible to targeted tutoring, thus undermining the integrity and
fairness of the test and harming GL Assessment’s commercial advantage;
and
• GL Assessment Limited’s test content (together with the number of
questions in each section) is part of its core intellectual property.
If this is made public and hence available to its competitors, this
too would similarly destroy GL Assessment Limited’s commercial
advantage.

 

This position is backed by an existing decision of the Information
Commissioner (reference: FS50566015) in which Durham University was
subject to a similar request for details regarding an entry level test it
supplies through CEM, a competitor of GL Assessment Limited. The
Information Commissioner in this case decided there was potential
prejudice and the harm of disclosure was acute enough that the information
should not be disclosed.

Section 43 (Commercial Interests) is a qualified exemption. This means
that we were required to undertake an analysis of the public interest test
in respect of this request for disclosure.

We appreciate your comments on why you think it would be in the public
interest for this information to be released. However, we have arrived at
the conclusion that the balance of the public interest in maintaining the
exemption outweighs that of disclosing this information. This is because:

• it would not be in the public interest for the integrity of future
tests to be compromised or to become less fair;
• it would not be in the public interest to distort the market by
prejudicing the commercial interests of one of the test providers,
especially given there are a limited number of 11+ test providers in
the UK;
• it would not be in the public interest for us to release core
intellectual property of a provider as this may have an adverse effect
of limiting our choice of providers. This would not be in the public
interest as we would have a significantly smaller selection of
providers from which to judge cost, value for money and credibility.

 

We have assessed and concluded that the above rationale justifies our
decision that maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in
disclosing that information.

You have a right to lodge a complaint with the UK supervisory body, the
Information Commissioner’s Office (the ICO) here:-
[1]https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

 

Yours sincerely

Mark Sturgeon
Chair
The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

show quoted sections

TBGS, The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

Dear Mr Barrett

 

Further to your email of 2 November 2019. I am writing to inform you of
the extent to which we can comply with your request pursuant to the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) and apologise for the slight delay
in responding to this.

 

In relation to the Buckinghamshire 11+ test taken in September 2019, you
have requested the following information:

 

 1. to identify the statistician(s) by name who carried out this analysis
and subsequent recommendations.
 2. to confirm the statistician(s) qualifications have been validated back
with their University and confirm they are each adequately qualified
to make the recommendations made since 12 Sep 19.
 3. a breakdown of what sections are in the VR paper, how many original
questions were in the original exam per section and how many final
questions were marked per section.

 

You have also asked if we can review and validate why the statistician(s)
engaged were used over other statisticians, and once that review is
undertaken, to confirm if and why we would use their services again. We
confirm that information is not held. The statistician(s) were engaged by
GL Assessment.

 

The FoIA has certain exemptions to the right to have information
disclosed.  One of the absolute exemptions is provided for in section 41
of the FoIA – Confidentiality. Another relevant exemption is section 43 of
the FoIA – Commercial interests.

In respect of requests 1 and 2 above, we cannot provide you with the above
requested information as this information has been supplied to us by GL
Assessment Limited, subject to conditions of confidentiality, so the
section 41 (confidentiality) exemption applies.

 

Section 41 - Confidentiality

 

If information is provided to a public body in confidence, and a breach of
that confidence would result in action being taken against the public
body, then the public body does not have to disclose that information. As
stated above, the information you have requested above has been provided
to us by GL Assessment Limited subject to conditions of confidentiality, a
breach of which would result in GL Assessment Limited taking action
against us. This is an absolute exemption which means the public interest
test is not applicable.

 

However, we can confirm that the statistician used to create the report is
eminent in the field of educational assessment, is independent of GL
Assessment Limited (and ourselves) and has longstanding associations with
high profile academic institutions.

 

In respect of request 3, we cannot provide you with that information
because the commercial interests exemption (section 43(2) of the FoIA)
applies to our disclosure of that information.

 

Section 43 – Commercial Interests

 

You have asked for a breakdown of what sections were in the paper, how
many original questions were in the original exam per section and how many
final questions were marked per section. This information is pertinent to
the construction of the test and disclosure of that information to the
public could be used to ascertain which areas of the test should be given
more focus in the future when preparing to take the test. This has a
particular effect of being advantageous for 11+ tutoring organisations,
and those parents who can afford to engage those tutors.

This, as a result, threatens to affect the integrity and purpose of the
test, which is very important to TBGS, but also to our supplier of the
test, GL Assessment.

GL Assessment is one of several suppliers of selection test nationally,
each of whom expend a lot of effort trying to preserve the integrity of
its tests. The commercial interests exemption applies if a disclosure
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person. A commercial interest relates to a person’s ability to participate
competitively in a commercial activity, i.e. the purchase and sale of
goods or services.

It is our view that the disclosure of the requested information would
prejudice GL Assessment Limited’s commercial interests because:

• as explained above, GL Assessment’s test could potentially be more
susceptible to targeted tutoring, thus undermining the integrity and
fairness of the test and harming GL Assessment’s commercial advantage;
and
• GL Assessment Limited’s test content (together with the number of
questions in each section) is part of its core intellectual property.
If this is made public and hence available to its competitors, this
too would similarly destroy GL Assessment Limited’s commercial
advantage.

 

This position is backed by an existing decision of the Information
Commissioner (reference: FS50566015) in which Durham University was
subject to a similar request for details regarding an entry level test it
supplies through CEM, a competitor of GL Assessment Limited. The
Information Commissioner in this case decided there was potential
prejudice and the harm of disclosure was acute enough that the information
should not be disclosed.

Section 43 (Commercial Interests) is a qualified exemption. This means
that we were required to undertake an analysis of the public interest test
in respect of this request for disclosure.

We appreciate your comments on why you think it would be in the public
interest for this information to be released. However, we have arrived at
the conclusion that the balance of the public interest in maintaining the
exemption outweighs that of disclosing this information. This is because:

• it would not be in the public interest for the integrity of future
tests to be compromised or to become less fair;
• it would not be in the public interest to distort the market by
prejudicing the commercial interests of one of the test providers,
especially given there are a limited number of 11+ test providers in
the UK;
• it would not be in the public interest for us to release core
intellectual property of a provider as this may have an adverse effect
of limiting our choice of providers. This would not be in the public
interest as we would have a significantly smaller selection of
providers from which to judge cost, value for money and credibility.

 

We have assessed and concluded that the above rationale justifies our
decision that maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in
disclosing that information.

You have a right to lodge a complaint with the UK supervisory body, the
Information Commissioner’s Office (the ICO) here:-
[1]https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

 

Yours sincerely

Mark Sturgeon
Chair
The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

show quoted sections