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Standardisation of the STT

B Darcy made this Freedom of Information request to The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

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Dear The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools,

Please can you provide details regarding your procedure for standardising process.

According to the the Buckinghmashire Council Website:

GL Assessment mark the Secondary Transfer Test papers. The marks are then ‘standardised'. Standardisation balances the overall performance of children from one year to the next. It also makes sure that all children are placed on an equal footing and that no child is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged because of his or her age. It takes into account each child's age in years and months on the date they take the test. A child's ‘standardised score' will be between 0 and 180+.

I understand from this that scores are standardised for age 'so that all children are placed on an equal footing and that no child is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged because of his or her age'.

I note that children from partner schools (private fee paying schools) also sit the exact same test. Has there been any consideration for standardising the fact that these children are unfairly advantaged due to significantly smaller class sizes?

Many of the partner schools openly advertise on their websites and social media channels how 'successful' their children are passing the STT and use this to market their schools. Some go as far as ensuring they are not a test centre so that they can 'prepare' their children for the test.

Clearly these children are not on an 'equal footing' and those from non fee paying schools are being disadvantaged. If age is a factor, so is class size and the schools preparation for a test that is not meant to be prepared for- something the state schools follow rigidly.

Data from your website additionally reveals how partner schools are at a significant advantage of a positive outcome for a Selection Review or Appeal.

Please can you detail what steps are taken for an 'equal footing' for those children who are disadvantaged against those who attend partner (private) fee paying schools.

Yours faithfully,

B Darcy

TBGS, The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

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

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TBGS, The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

Dear Mr Darcy

On 10 December 2023 you requested the following information:

1.     Details regarding the TBGS standardisation process

2.     Whether or not class size is used as part of standardisation

3.     What steps are taken for ‘an equal footing’ for all children

 

In response to your first request, the information you quoted from the
Buckinghamshire Council website explains the process. The TBGS website
additionally explains that the Secondary Transfer Test Score is calculated
by age-standardising the scores for each of the three test sections
(verbal skills, maths and non-verbal reasoning) and then adding them using
the weightings 50% (verbal skills) and 25% for each of maths and
non-verbal reasoning. TBGS holds no further information about
standardisation.

 

Class size is not used in the standardisation process for the
Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test. We are unaware of any other test
or examination in which size of class is taken into account.

 

To ensure testing is on an equal footing as possible, all test centres
(state primary schools and Partner schools) agree to a test centre
protocol. This includes the requirement to not prepare children for the
Test other than to use the materials provided by TBGS. Test centres are
also required to follow the same test administration process which is
detailed in a bespoke Test Administration Guide.

 

In your email you asserted that ‘data from your website additionally
reveals how partner schools are at a significant advantage of a positive
outcome for a Selection Review or Appeal’. For the avoidance of doubt, no
pupils are either advantaged or disadvantaged by the Selection Review
process or Independent Appeals. The process for these is the same for all
children and is fully in line with the School Admissions Code 2021and the
School Admissions Appeals Code 2022.

 

Kind regards

 

Mark Sturgeon
Chair
The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

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