The 11-plus is a loaded dice – research report


The way the 11-plus works in Kent is akin to rolling a loaded dice, we conclude in a new research report [PDF].

We reach this conclusion because of the arbitrariness of who passes the test – coupled with the fact that several parts of the process act together to make disadvantaged children less likely to get in.

Among findings of the research are that:

  • in 2015, 400 children – around 8% of those passing – would have failed the 11-plus in Kent if they had dropped a single mark on one of the three papers that make up the test;
  • relatively small changes to the rules that determine whether a child has passed or failed the 11-plus in Kent lead to material changes in who is considered to have passed the test;
  • children eligible for free school meals score particularly poorly in the reasoning element of Kent’s 11-plus compared to other children. There is evidence that suggests results for this part of the test are particularly affected by access to private education or tutoring.

Download the report here [PDF], or read the findings as a series of blogposts.

By | 2017-10-23T13:12:15+00:00 May 5th, 2017|Reports|

About the Author:

Rebecca Allen is Director of Education Datalab and an expert in the analysis of large scale administrative and survey datasets, including the National Pupil Database and School Workforce Census. Her research explores the impact of government reforms on school behaviour, with a particular focus on accountability and teacher labour markets. She is currently on leave from her academic post as Reader in Economics of Education at UCL Institute of Education.

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