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How valid are 11-plus tests? Evidence from Kent

Brown, Anna, Fong, Sarah (2019) How valid are 11-plus tests? Evidence from Kent. British Educational Research Journal, 45 (6). pp. 1235-1254. ISSN 0141-1926. E-ISSN 1469-3518. (doi:10.1002/berj.3560) (KAR id:75118)

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Despite profound influence of selection-by-ability on children’s educational opportunities, empirical evidence for validity of 11-plus tests is scarce. This study focused on secondary selection in Kent, the largest grammar school area in England. We analysed scores from the ‘Kent Test’ (the 11-plus test used in Kent), Cognitive Assessment Tests (CAT4), and Key Stage 2 Standardised Assessment Tests (KS2) using longitudinal data of two year cohorts (N1=95, N2=99) from one primary school. All the assessment batteries provided highly overlapping information, with the decisive effect of content area (e.g. verbal versus maths) over task type (e.g. knowledge-loaded versus knowledge-free). Thus, the value in differentiating ‘pure’ (i.e. knowledge-free) ability in 11-plus testing is questionable. KS2 and Kent Test aggregated scores overlapped very strongly, sharing nearly 80% of variance; moreover, KS2-based eligibility decisions had higher sensitivity than the Kent Test in predicting the actual admissions to grammar schools after Head Teacher Assessment (HTA) appeals have taken place. Finally, the use of multiple pass marks for each Kent Test component as well as the total score was found to increase the chance of false rejection. This study provides preliminary evidence that national examinations could be a good basis for selection to grammar schools; it challenges the use of complex admission rules and multiple decisions and questions the value of 11-plus tests.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/berj.3560
Projects: A pilot study of validity and fairness of 11+ tests
Uncontrolled keywords: 11-plus; Kent Test; fluid intelligence; crystallized intelligence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: [UNSPECIFIED] Faculty of Socail Sciences, University of Kent
Depositing User: Anna Brown
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2019 13:32 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Brown, Anna:
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