Transfer Testing and Grammar schools

6. The Transfer Test

The Transfer Test will be taken on 15 September 2016. There are two Transfer Test papers. They are multiple-choice and are both of about the same level of difficulty. Each paper is about 50 minutes long and is in a number of separately timed sections. Children are given instructions via an audio soundtrack.

Marking and the results of the Transfer Test

The test results will be available on 14 October 2016 for all children tested on 15 September 2016. Results for any child tested later will be released as soon as possible afterwards. This means that for most children the test results will be available before the secondary school application deadline.

The Transfer Test papers are marked by Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring (CEM). The marks are then ‘standardised'. Standardisation balances the overall performance of children from one year to the next and makes sure that all children are placed on an equal footing and that no child is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged because of his or her age. It takes into account the child's age in years and months on the date they take the test. A child's ‘standardised score' will be between 0 and 180+. The standardised score needed to qualify automatically for a grammar school has been set by CEM, in agreement with the grammar schools, at 121 or more.

Your child's scores from the two Transfer Test papers will be added together and expressed as a Standardised Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS). The STTS will be the sum of the following:

  • 50% of the standardised score for the verbal sections
  • 30% of the standardised score for the numerical sections
  • 20% of the standardised score for the non-verbal sections

If a child's STTS is 121 or more they are automatically qualified for grammar school. We anticipate that about 33% of children will get a STTS of 121 or more. Under the Data Protection Act, Schedule 7, Section 9, candidates do not have the right to see their test papers once they have been handed in. The Freedom of Information Act does not override the Data Protection Act in this matter. On request and upon payment of the appropriate fee, you can request that your child's test papers are manually remarked and the age standardised score (STTS) checked. However, before doing so you should discuss this with your child's headteacher who will explain that it is extremely unlikely that your child's papers will have been marked incorrectly.

Parents of children who do not score 121 or more in the Transfer Test can ask for a Selection Review and/or an Independent Admission Appeal. The Selection Review Panel will consider your child's review case. Selection Reviews take place from late November 2016 to January 2017. An admission appeal cannot take place until after 1 March 2017 following the written notification of the decision of the admission authority to refuse admission.

Your child will be considered as suitable for any grammar school if they qualify through a standardised score of 121 or more in the Transfer Test, or if they are successful at Selection Review.

A child may also be considered suitable for a particular grammar school should they be qualified by the Independent Appeal Panel.

A child's STTS is not used to work out whether they are more or less likely to be offered a grammar school place. All children who score 121 or more are treated as ‘qualified', and a higher score will not mean a child has a higher priority for a grammar school place. Once they have qualified, children are prioritised for a grammar school place according to the admission rules for the particular grammar school they have requested.

If your child qualifies, but does not join a Buckinghamshire grammar school, their Transfer Test qualification will expire. Further details can be found in the Late Transfer Procedure information for a particular grammar school.

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Last updated: 16 March 2017