Every year, Year 6 students across the country have the opportunity to take the 11 Plus exam, as they choose options for their secondary school. However, actually sitting the exam is only a part of the story. It takes several weeks before a numerical score is released – many people wonder about the process used during this time to arrive at an overall ‘mark’ for the exam.
There are many steps involved in calculating the 11 Plus score. First, the paper is marked, giving a raw score – simply how many questions the student got right. The raw mark then has to be statistically adjusted. This is to ensure that all papers and topics are considered equally, and that younger students (who may be nearly one year younger than their peers) are not unfairly disadvantaged by their age. This then gives a standardised score that students receive on their results day.
Clearly, grading the 11 Plus exam is a complex process. This article will explain further what happens after sitting the exam, in order to calculate the final score.
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How is the 11 Plus exam graded?
Many people expect the score they receive to simply be the number of questions they got right in the exam. However, this is not the case. This number is known as the raw mark, or raw score.
The exam consists of four broad topics – maths, English, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. In order to give these four topics equal weighting, the marks for each section are statistically adjusted. For example, if the English section is worth 50 marks, and the maths section worth 80 marks, the scores for each need to be balanced out to ensure both topics form an equal part of the overall score.
The score then needs to be adjusted for age. As students sit the test at the start of Year 6, some students may have already turned 11, whereas others have recently turned 10. The marks are slightly adjusted to allow for this age difference. However, marks are never deducted from older students – this stage is just to ensure results are fair, regardless of age.
More information on these steps can be found in this article by Explore Learning. Overall, the whole process is known as standardisation, resulting in a final score that fairly reflects each student’s performance in the exam itself.
How is the 11 Plus marked?
Unlike most tests students may be used to taking, the 11 Plus is not marked by a school teacher. Instead, the 11 Plus marking is external (not marked by your school) and done by a computer. The papers are all scanned into an online system, and the computer then marks each question right or wrong, to give the student’s raw mark. Computers also run the maths required to standardise the score. There are also examiners involved in the process to ensure the tests are fairly marked, but the vast majority of the calculation is now done by a computer.
Marking can be done in this way because the exam questions are multiple choice or numerical, so have a clear correct answer. If possible, it is really helpful to sign up for mock exams in your area to get an idea of not only the questions asked, but how you mark your answers – it is a different style to many other primary school tests to allow for this computerised marking.
After taking the test in September, results are calculated, checked, and released within the next couple of months. The most important thing to remember is that whatever your score, it isn’t the end of the world – all you need to do is try your best.
What is the 11 Plus exam out of?
When you receive an 11 Plus score, it is shown as a single number, which doesn’t give information about the total number of marks available. This is because the score has been standardised, which often means the final score is higher than the number of raw marks actually available on the paper. Generally speaking, the average score is stated to be about 100, with a minimum of 70 and maximum of 140.
However, this varies depending on the area of the UK you live in – the best way to make sense of your score is to check the past boundaries for secondary schools in your area that you are considering applying to.
There is no set pass mark for the 11 Plus exam, but each year a ‘cut-off score’ is recorded for each school – the minimum score required to gain a place at that school. This information should be readily available on school websites. Looking at cut-off scores is the best way to compare your 11 Plus mark. Before getting your results, you can estimate the score you are aiming for, and having received your mark, you will be able to see whether people with that score are typically offered a place at your school of choice. Just be aware that these cut-off scores vary slightly each year, depending on factors like how difficult the exam was and how many people sat it.
What is the 11 Plus exam?
Essentially, this exam is an entrance test that can be taken by students in the UK, which is often used by grammar schools (and some private schools) to select students with the most academic ability and potential. Students most commonly take the 11 Plus in early September, having just started Year 6. For a more detailed guide to the exam, check out this Think Student article.
Taking the 11 Plus exam can often be a confusing process. Many of the details vary between different areas of the country – the website elevenplusexams.co.uk is useful if you are struggling to find information about any part of the process.