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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Reliability of Eleven Plus Tests

Some of our children will be sitting an Eleven Plus test set by the Local Authority. Some of same children could also be sitting an Eleven Plus test in a different Authority.

Some children will sit a Local Authority tests as well as an entrance test for a local school. (One year we had a very bright girl who passed two different Local Authority tests and three entrance examinations set by different schools. She passed all five examinations – and was offered a place by all five!)

When GL Assessments are asked to provide tests they are able to draw on a wide variety of questions that have been properly validated. GL Assessments is the new name for NferNelson.

To make sure that the tests are reliable, the items in the test, and the results, have to be able to demonstrate consistency. To do this the test scores have to be free from chance errors. After all you don’t want your child to be faced by an unfair question.

The test-retest method of working out reliability is to set the test – and repeat the test some time later. This would show just how stable the test is. There has to be a time element - otherwise children would remember the questions – and the answers.

The other method of validating results is to use an equivalent test. This test can be administered again almost immediately.

When some parents feel that one test is harder than another - it is highly likely that the tests continue to be reliable. The difference may come in the interpretation of results. One school may demand a higher `pass rate’ than another.

We use the Eleven Plus test scores to try to predict future academic success. To see how reliable the Eleven Plus tests are we need to look at GCSE and `A’ Level results. After all if a child earns a place in a grammar school – we do expect that child to do well academically.

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