Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: – if any family is found to have falsified information on the test registration form, either home address or identity, the test score will become invalid.

EACH CHILD MAY TAKE ANY TEST ONCE ONLY

  1. Do I have to register for the test on each school website?
  2. If I am planning to apply for a sibling place, does my child still need to take the test?
  3. What if I enter my child’s details incorrectly?
  4. If my child is out of year group, what should I do?
  5. What if I can’t see my child’s primary school in the drop down list of primary schools?
  6. When will I know my test centre?
  7. Where will my child take the test?
  8. What should I do if my child has a disability or needs extra time for the tests? (If your child usually receives extra time or special intervention in class then you must let us know.)
  9. What if I forget the details of the test?
  10. Can I change the venue I have been allocated?
  11. My child is taking the test at a school I am not applying to – does it matter at what school my child takes the test?
  12. What happens if my child is not able to attend the Academic and/or Music Test?
  13. What should I do if my child is ill on the day of the Test?
  14. What if I have registered my child to sit a test in a different borough and it clashes with a consortium test?
  15. What do I do if I cannot attend the Music Aptitude Second Round time I have been given?
  16. What tests do the children take?
  17. What do I do if I want to amend/change the test(s) I want my child to take?
  18. What equipment does my child need?
  19. How can I get hold of practice papers? Do the Consortium or any of the schools hold past papers?
  20. If I have a query regarding any of the tests, who do I contact?
  21. Can I stay with my child or wait for my child during the test?
  22. How will I find out my child’s test results?
  23. How are the test answer sheets marked?
  24. Requesting a remark of your child’s academic test papers
  25. Requesting a remark of your child’s Round 1 music test paper
  26. Requesting a remark of your child’s Round 2 music test
  27. Are the scores age-standardised?
  28. What mark does my child have to achieve?
  29. If I have registered my child for the test, do I still need to apply for a school place?
  30. How do I apply to any of the Consortium Schools?
  31. What are each school’s admission criteria?
  32. Should my primary school help my child prepare for the VR Test?

FAQS

  1. Do I have to register for the test on each school website?
  2. No – you need to register only once for the test via the link on any of the seven consortium school websites. This is to register only to take the Consortium Tests.

    You are not making an application to any of the schools. Separate school applications MUST be made to County, and the School Information Form (SIF) returned to individual schools for secondary school admission in September 2020. Following the tests you will need to make an application (CAF) via Hertfordshire County Council, or your Local Authority if you live outside Hertfordshire, listing the schools to which you wish to apply. You are also required to complete a School Information Form (SIF) for each of the schools you apply to. These forms are generally available either at each school on its Open Day, or on the website of each school.

  3. If I am planning to apply for a sibling place, does my child still need to take the test?
    • If you have a child currently at Queens School you do not need to register a sibling to take the Academic or Music test, unless you are planning to apply to one of the other Consortium Schools as a higher preference. You do not need to register a sibling to take the Sports test.
      (A sibling must be on the roll of the named school at the time the younger child starts.)
    • If you have a child currently at Parmiter’s School, you do not need to register a sibling to take the Academic or Music test unless you are planning to apply to one of the other Consortium Schools as a higher preference.

    For information regarding siblings testing for the Consortium Schools not mentioned above, please contact those schools directly here.

  4. What if I enter my child’s details incorrectly?
  5. You may only register your child once.

    Incorrect details could be date of birth/spelling of name/inaccurate choice of tests.

    It is very important that you give the full, correct name of your child and that you check spellings carefully. It is important that you use the same name on all correspondence. If a different version of your child’s name is used, this could lead to difficulty or delay in your application for a school place since names must be matched to test scores. When your child has a lengthy surname, to avoid confusion, please use the version of his or her name that is used by their primary school.

    If you have made an error, simply log back in to the Parent Portal and amend your details.  Please note that it will not be possible to amend your personal information or your child’s test preferences once the registration period has ended.  This includes address changes. If your address changes after registration we will not change your address.  This means you must take extra care when making your school applications to ensure you notify the school of the address on your test application in order for the test score to be matched to your child.  The test application address will be different from the address on your school application form.

    Please note your child should have a date of birth between 1st September 2008 and 31st August 2009 inclusive.

  6. If my child is out of year group, what should I do?
  7. If your child is out of year group and was born outside the correct date range, ie. for testing 2019, born outside of 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009, you must contact the Consortium Administration Team by email at swhsconsortium@gmail.com.  You must obtain a letter from the primary school to confirm the child is out of year.   Please note a child can only take the consortium test once.  You may be asked to sign a declaration to confirm you understand that your child can only take the test once.

  8. What if I can’t see my child’s primary school in the drop down list of primary schools?
  9. If you are unable to find your child’s primary school in the drop down list of primary schools, there is a white box available for you to input the name.  Please click inside the white box and manually input the name of your child’s primary school.

  10. When will I know my test centre?
  11. Please see the Calendar section of this website for all important dates.

  12. Where will my child take the test?
  13. Your child will take the test at one of the schools in the Consortium. You will be able to log on to the parent portal in July to find out where your child will take the test. The venue of the test centre is, where possible, based on the geographical location of your child’s primary school though it will not always be possible for a test centre to take a large cohort from any one particular primary school.  It would be advisable to ensure that you are able to travel to any of the Consortium Schools as we cannot guarantee you will be offered the nearest to your child’s primary school.  Your allocated test centre and its location has nothing to do with school preference and is not relevant to your final selection of schools.

  14. What should I do if my child has a disability or needs extra time for the tests?
  15. If your child usually receives extra time or special intervention in class then you must let us know as soon as possible.

    If you consider that your child might be disadvantaged under the terms of The Equality Act 2010, or has special educational needs which require the test centre to make particular provision for the tests, you must provide written evidence of this from your child’s current school Headteacher or SENCo.  This evidence must be sent immediately after registering for the test so it would be wise to make your request to your child’s SENCo and obtain this evidence prior to registering.  Send a copy with the name, date of birth of your child along with the SWH Reference given on registration  to either swhsconsortium@gmail.com or by post to: Consortium Administration Team, South West Herts Schools Tests, PO BOX 2439, Watford, WD18 1UZ.  It is very important that you do this so the paperwork is received by Friday 21st June, at the latest.  If you have emailed your request and received confirmation of receipt, it is not necessary to send in a hard copy by post.

    If you are unsure of your child’s eligibility for special provision, please speak with either your class teacher or the SENCo in your child’s primary school.

  16. What if I forget the details of the test?
  17. Once you register you must regularly log on to the secure web page to view the initial registration for the tests,  the allocation of the test centre for the tests you wish your child to take and the allocation of music aptitude test second stage times (if your child is successful in Music Stage 1). Results of tests will be available on the site. Please see the calendar for information on timescales and deadlines. Please remember that it is your responsibility, as a parent, to log on to the secure website to view the information at the appropriate times throughout the testing process.

  18. Can I change the venue I have been allocated?
  19. No – the venue cannot be changed.  The popularity of the test means that each test centre is filled to capacity and each test session is carefully planned in terms of numbers and staffing.

  20. My child is taking the test at a school I am not applying to – does it matter at what school my child takes the test?
  21. No – the test venue is simply where your child will take the test or tests for which you have applied.  The venue is completely irrelevant to the final allocation of school places.

  22. What happens if my child is not able to attend the Academic and/or Music Test?
  23. You will not be permitted to take the Academic or Music Test on an alternative date for any other reasons than medically certificated illness or religious observance.  If your child is being tested on the main academic test day (Saturday) in another Borough or County, it may be possible to swap your test SESSION from morning to afternoon or vice versa, however there will be limited availability to offer this and any request should be submitted to your test centre prior to the end of the academic year 2019.  Please note that requests for session swaps WILL NOT BE OFFERED AN ALTERNATIVE DATE and will not be offered at all after 21st July.  We are not able to offer alternative test dates due to borough clashes.  The test calendar is planned with as much consideration for other events, such as religious festivals and for tests being held in adjoining boroughs and counties, as is possible.

  24. What should I do if my child is ill on the day of the Test?
  25. You should contact the test venue you have been allocated immediately and arrangements may be made for the student to be entered on the Reserve Day.  Medical certification WILL BE required to confirm eligibility for the Reserve Day.

  26. What if I have registered my child to take a test in a different borough and it clashes with a Consortium test?
  27. In the first instance, we recommend you try and arrange to request a place on the other Borough’s or County’s test reserve day.

    If this is not possible, you should contact your allocated test centre to see if the session can be swapped i.e. morning to afternoon, or afternoon session to the morning.  You will not be offered an alternative date.

  28. What do I do if I cannot attend the Music Aptitude Test Second Round time I have been given?
  29. You should contact the South West Herts Consortium Administration Team on swhsconsortium@gmail.com immediately.  We cannot guarantee an alternative test time; all we can offer is the possibility of a swap but we can only offer a swap if another candidate wishes to change their test time.

  30. What tests do the children take?
  31. If your child is applying under the Academic Criterion then the tests are in Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning and are provided by GL Assessment.  Children applying under the Music criterion will take the Consortium Musical Aptitude test.

    In addition, a Sports Test is arranged by Queens’ School and relates to this school only.

    Mathematics: The paper will take approximately 50 minutes to deliver.  Papers are prepared specifically for the Consortium by GL Assessment and are based on the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Click Here for Mathematics Familiarisation Paper

    Verbal Reasoning: The paper will take approximately one hour to deliver including examples for each section. It is prepared specifically for the Consortium by GL Assessment. Click Here for Verbal Reasoning Familiarisation Paper

    There will be a short break between the tests, when children can have a small snack. Please do not provide any snacks that contain nuts or that may contain nuts.  This includes Nutella.  Any snack provided must be suitable for a school environment.

    Music Test: The test will consist of 60 questions in four sections which are played on a CD, usually in the main hall of the test centre on that school’s Audio/Visual Equipment which is used throughout the school year for a variety of aural examinations. The only equipment required by your child will be a pencil and an eraser.

    The questions are in relation to Pitch, Melody, Rhythm and Texture as follows:

    Pitch: for these questions, candidates listen to two sounds and have to indicate whether the second sound is the same as the first, or whether it is higher or lower. There are twenty of these questions and some of the pitches are less than a semitone apart.

    Melody: for these questions, candidates listen to two tunes consisting of five notes. Candidates have to decide whether the second tune is the same as the first or if one of the notes has been altered. If there is a change, candidates will be expected to identify which note has been altered, by giving the number of the note. There are ten questions in this section.

    Texture: for these questions, candidates listen to a number of notes played together at the same time; this is called a chord. Candidates need to decide whether or not each chord has two, three or four notes. There are twenty questions in this section.

    Rhythm: for these questions, candidates listen to two patterns of notes and have to decide whether the second pattern is the same as, or different from, the first, and where any difference occurs. Each rhythm will be four beats (or pulses) in length. There are ten questions in this section.

    A limited number of applicants will be invited back to perform a single piece on their chosen instrument or vocally. This will be a free choice of piece, which should last no longer than three minutes. As there is a free choice of instrument and piece, it will give candidates of all abilities and all cultures equal opportunity to succeed. Those applicants invited back will be given an individual appointment during the school day. Please see the Calendar for further details.

    Music Aptitude Test Second Stage:

    • You will be given time to warm up prior to your performance.
    • Your performance time must not be longer than 3 minutes.
    • You cannot bring your own accompanist.
    • If you wish for a member of our staff to accompany you, you must bring music sheets for them.
    • You may only play one piece of music. A medley is a musical composition made up of a series of songs or short pieces; this is allowed, as long as the piece is one continuous piece. Two separate pieces are not allowed.
    • If you require a non-electronic piano for your warm-up, you must request this upon registration, otherwise an electronic piano will be offered. A non-electronic piano (with pedals) will be available for the actual test though you must request this of the Clerks upon registration when you arrive.
    • If you require an electronic piano for your test, you must request this of the Clerks upon registration when you arrive. Whilst an electronic piano/keyboard may be available for your warm-up, one may not be available in the examination room.  Please ensure that you ask the Clerks for one to be offered for the actual test.
    • The keyboards we have available are Casio, if you require any other type you must bring your own.
    • Amps and music stands can be provided.
    • Any backing track must be brought on CD only. Please ensure that the track required is clearly specified and where possible, the only track on the CD to avoid confusion. We cannot listen to back tracks brought in on MP3, USB or mobile phone.
    • If you require percussion/drums we have rooms set up for this, however, please note that the drum kit is acoustic. You must request this of the Clerks upon registration when you arrive.

    Sports Test: The test is based on the Eurofit test and consists of seven events. Please see the Queens’ School website for further details.

  32. What do I do if I want to amend/change the test(s) I want my child to take?
  33. You can amend your test preferences at any time up until the cut-off date of Friday 21st June by logging into the parent portal and making your changes.  You may not make any further changes to your test preferences after this date.  If you have not selected a particular test and wish to do so after this date, you will unfortunately not be permitted to do so.

  34. What equipment does my child need?
  35. For all tests, please provide your child with two pencils and a rubber. Any refreshments for the break should be neatly packed and named and of a nature appropriate for a school environment.  Please do not provide any snacks that contain nuts or that may contain nuts.  This includes Nutella.

  36. How can I get hold of practice papers? Does the Consortium or any of the schools hold past papers?
  37. Familiarisation papers can be downloaded from this website from the links above or from the tab on the Home page of the website. The Consortium does not send out past papers and the same applies for all the Consortium schools.  Similar styles of papers can be purchased from bookshops or from the Internet.  Our test provider is GL Assessment for both maths and verbal reasoning.

  38. If I have a query regarding any of the tests, who do I contact?
  39. If you have any queries regarding the test prior to Wednesday 3rd July, please contact the Consortium Administration Team via email swhsconsortium@gmail.com.  Once you have been allocated a test centre, please direct all queries to the Admissions Officer of the test centre to which you have been allocated:

    Please Click Here to Contact the Admissions Officer at Croxley Danes School (Music Test only)

    Please Click Here to Contact the Admissions Officer at Parmiters School (Academic and Music Tests)

    Please Click Here to Contact the Admissions Officer at Queens School (Academic, Music and Sports Tests)

    Please Click Here to Contact the Admissions Officer at Rickmansworth School (Academic and Music Tests)

    Please Click Here to Contact the Admissions Officer at St Clement Danes (Academic and Music Tests)

    Please Click Here to Contact the Admissions Officer at Watford Grammar School for Boys (Academic and Music Tests)

    Please Click Here to Contact the Admissions Officer at Watford Grammar School for Girls (Academic and Music Tests)

  40. Can I stay with my child or wait for my child during the test?
  41. No.  Parents must leave the test centre site once they have registered the children and return to collect them afterwards at the time given by the centre.

  42. How will I find out my child’s test results?
  43. First stage music test results will be published on Thursday 19th September around midday.  All successful and unsuccessful applicants who attend Stage 1 of the music test will be able to log in to the parent portal and view their mark, prior to commencement of the Music Aptitude Test Second Stage week.  Please remember that it is your responsibility, as a parent, to log on to the secure website to view the information at the appropriate times throughout the testing process.

    All final test results will be published on Wednesday 16th October around midday. Having registered for the tests using a password which should be memorable and secure you must then log on to the parent portal regularly to view the initial registration, the allocation of the test centre, the tests you have selected and the allocation of Music Second Stage Test times if your child has been successful in the first stage.  Results of tests will be available on the site. Please see the calendar for information on timescales and deadlines. Please remember that it is your responsibility, as a parent, to log on to the secure website to view the information at the appropriate times throughout the testing process.

  44. How are the test answer sheets marked?
  45. The answer sheets are returned to GL Assessment for marking by computer. They are machine-marked (scanned) and the computer detects the shading made on the answer sheets using OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) technology. Before taking the test, all children were provided with a Familiarisation Booklet to work through and this included examples of how to record answers on the separate answer sheets. To do the test children were told in the Booklet to:

    “…read each question, chose the answer you think is correct and then put the answer on the separate answer sheet. When you have completed the test your answer sheets are then marked by a computer.”

    To record an answer on the answer sheet:

    • In the test you will need to mark your answers on a separate answer sheet. You have to mark the correct answer for each question by drawing a line with your pencil through the small rectangular box beside it, like this. Answer box with strikethrough
    • Some questions may require you to mark two correct answers so make sure you read the instructions carefully in each section of the test!
    • In the test itself, be sure to keep your place on the answer sheet. You should always check that you are marking your answer in the box that has the same number as the test question you are on. This is especially important if you decide to skip a question that you can’t answer and come back to it later.
    • In the test you can use the question booklet for rough working, but you should not write any working-out on the answer sheet. If you need to change an answer, you should rub out the incorrect answer and mark the correct one instead. Do not cross out your answers on the answer sheet as the computer will not be able to mark them.

    Each answer needs sufficient shading (enough of a ‘mark’) for it to be recognised as such. The scanning process will also look at the size, sharpness, density and position of the ‘mark’ within the box

    How can I be sure that my child’s answer sheets have been marked correctly?

    Each child has a unique pupil ID and bar code which are clearly displayed on the answer sheet. This enables the answers to be linked to the particular child. Answer sheets are marked in batches as follows:

    Online keying

    As the batch of answer sheets is being scanned, the scanner stops if there is an ‘issue’ with a particular answer sheet (answer not marked, multiple marks) and the operative will look at the answer sheet via a viewer and make a decision on the question concerned (correctly answered or not), seeking the support of a supervisor as necessary. Scanning then recommences.

    What happens if more than the required number of answers (marks) are detected on the answer sheet during the scanning process?

    The scanning software uses an ‘erasure discrimination’ process to determine whether two marks are different enough for one to be considered an ‘erasure’, or whether they are too similar and should be treated as a ‘multi-mark’.

    In the instance above, what guidelines do the scanning team work to in order to determine which answer to mark?

    Multi-marks are flagged by the scanning software and the scanning operator will view the answer suspected to be a multi mark on the screen, the scanning operator will then look at the answer sheet to determine whether a mark has been crossed out, erased or appears to be a genuine multi-mark. If required, the query is flagged for a supervisor to make a decision.

    A record is kept where manual intervention has been required and also if the outcome is that a question has been multi-marked or not attempted.

    What quality assurance processes are in place?

    In addition to the information above, if it is not possible for an answer sheet to be scanned the scanning operator will transcribe the original answer sheet onto a new answer sheet, the responses are then checked by a different scanning operator and the transcribed answer sheet is then scanned. GL Assessment, the test provider, will keep the original answer sheet and the transcribed answer sheet together.

  46. Requesting a remark of your child’s academic test papers
  47. Please use the link below (which will be available following the release of academic test scores) to request a remark of your child’s academic test papers.  You must pay the £30 fee via online banking receipt of which will be confirmed to you via email from the Consortium Administration Team.  You will then receive confirmation of your child’s academic test score in an emailed letter, which we aim to send in approximately 20 working days.

    Before you begin

    • Please bear in mind that it is extremely unlikely that there has been an error in the marking of your child’s test papers.
    • You will need to pay the £30 fee via online banking to the Lead Consortium School as follows:

    Lloyds Bank
    Watford Grammar School for Girls – Trading
    Sort Code – 30-99-21
    Account Number – 51158768
    Ref: –

    When making the online payment, in the reference space, you must put the candidate’s first initial and surname followed by your five digit Consortium Reference number (this can be obtained from the parent portal).

    For example: Z Brown 09881

    • If no reference is entered, the finance department will not be able to identify the payment.

    An online application for academic test paper re-mark requests will be available to parents between the dates of Wednesday 16th October 2019 and Tuesday 5th May 2020 and is relevant only to test candidates from 2019 for entry 2020, onwards.  No remark requests will be offered outside of the aforementioned dates.

  48. Requesting a remark of your child’s Round 1 music test
  49. Please contact the test centre at which your child took their Round 1 music test and request a remark of the paper.  This request should be made immediately following release of the Round 1 test scores.

  50. Requesting a remark of your child’s Round 2 music test
  51. We do not offer remarks of Round 2 music tests and we do not provide parents with a breakdown of the marks awarded.  If you believe that your child has extenuating circumstances which may have affected the outcome of the Round 2 music test, you will have the opportunity to cite these as part of an appeal during the Secondary Transfer Appeals Process.

  52. Are the scores age-standardised?
  53. Academic Ability Test

    The Verbal Reasoning and Maths raw scores are age standardised. The raw scores are converted to an “age-standardised score” based on the child’s age in completed months. 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 and that some children are very young in the year group.

    For more information on age-standardisation please refer to https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/media/271676/guide-to-standardised-assessment-final.pdf and http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/research/assessment/eleven-plus/age-standardisation.cfm

    Music Aptitude Test

    The Music Aptitude test scores are not standardised.

  54. What mark does my child have to achieve?
  55. There is no pass mark for the academic test, places being offered in accordance with each school’s admission arrangements. Once you have received your test score on Wednesday 16th October, you will then be able to decide which school(s) you wish to apply to. Historical data can be found on every Consortium school’s website giving the lowest scores which gained entry into the school in the last three years.  Although these historical scores are broadly comparable with this year’s scores, they should be treated with some caution as standards do vary from year to year.

  56. If I have registered my child for the test, do I still need to apply for a school place?
  57. Yes: this is very important. Your child’s test score will be notified to you on Wednesday 16th October and you might need to enter this information, together with your test registration reference number, on the School Information Form (SIF) for a Consortium school.

  58. How do I apply to any of the Consortium Schools?
  59. You must complete the Common Application Form (CAF) for the Local Authority in which you live. (The borough council to which you pay your council tax.) The national deadline for applications for secondary transfer is the end October 2019. If you apply for a school place after this date, your application will be considered as a Late Application and will not be considered alongside applications made on time.

    In addition you must complete the individual school’s School Information Form (SIF). This form needs to be returned to each chosen school before the application deadline. You might have to include the test reference number and score on the SIF.

  60. What are each school’s admission criteria?
  61. Each school’s admission criteria can be found in the school’s admission section of its website. Links have been provided on this website.

    Please note that each school’s criteria are individual to that school and your child having taken the Consortium test does not mean that he or she will be eligible to apply to any of the Consortium schools. You should, therefore, read carefully through the criteria for any school to which you might be thinking of applying.

  62. Should my Primary school help my child prepare for the VR Test?
  63. Unlike Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning is not part of the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum which is taught by all state primary schools. The Headteachers and staff of primary schools have no obligation or reason to adapt the primary curriculum to accommodate preparation for the Consortium’s tests. Indeed they are prevented from doing so by the need to remain impartial in the secondary transfer process. It is wrong therefore to expect primary teachers to coach children to do Verbal Reasoning tests or to devote any school time to practicing them. Preparation for the Verbal Reasoning test can be done perfectly adequately at home using comparable tests that are easily obtainable together with a broad range of age-related reading material; this is the parent’s responsibility, not that of the primary school. The Mathematics test is based on Key Stage 2 Maths, which the children are studying in their primary schools.

    Any requests to primary schools to become involved in disputes with test centres on behalf of parents of pupils of their school will also be declined as this directly conflicts with the need of all primary schools to remain impartial in the secondary transfer process.


DATA PROTECTION NOTICE: The information provided for the purposes of registration for the South West Herts Schools Consortium tests is treated as confidential. It is processed by the Consortium for the purposes of the South West Herts Schools Consortium testing process only and will be kept for a period of 12 months from registration, after which it will be deleted and will not be held centrally by the Consortium. Data held by the Consortium Schools individually will be subject to that school’s Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notices, issued by that School, available on its website and updated from time to time, and in line with current Data Protection laws.

Copyright SW Herts Schools Consortium