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.