Selective High Schools - Test Information

Introduction

The Selective High School Placement Test is designed to measure ability through tests in reading, mathematics, general ability and writing. The test is held only in NSW and only on the test date each year.

The Selective High School Placement Test consists of a 20 minute writing test and three 40 minute multiple-choice tests in:

  • Reading (45 questions)
  • Mathematics (40 questions)
  • General Ability (60 questions)

 

No marks are taken off for incorrect answers in the multiple-choice tests.

Students are given a stimulus for the writing test – an image, statement, heading or question. Two pages are provided for the writing test. Assessment for the writing test is based on:

  • Whether the writing is about the stimulus topic.
  • No marks will be awarded if the writing is not based on the topic
  • Quality of thinking about a topic
    organisation of ideas
  • Use of language.
  • The writing must be the student's own work and must not be very similar to the work of other students.

The writing test is marked by trained markers. Multiple-choice tests are marked by computer. Answer booklets are identified by barcodes so students cannot be identified by the markers.

Students suspected of cheating risk disqualification from the test.

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

Selective Test - Exam Dates
The Selective Tests will be held on following dates.

The test is held only on this day and only in official test centers, usually government high schools, in NSW. There is no catch-up test.

 

YearDate of Selective High School Placement Test
(for Year 6 students seeking entry to Year 7 the following year)
2019Thursday 14 March 2019
2020Thursday 12 March 2020

 

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

Moderation of School Assessment Scores

A process of moderation adjusts scores in a fair and consistent way as each school has different assessment methods and marks differently. Moderation allows scores to be compared against each other state-wide.
School assessment scores are provided for English and mathematics. They rank all candidates from a particular primary school applying for opportunity class placement in order of merit, showing the relative gaps between the students.
For example, a school with five applicants for opportunity class placement may provide the following school assessment scores.

 

StudentsEnglishMathematics
Student A9572
Student B8389
Student C7991
Student D7790
Student E6461

 

Submitted school assessment scores are adjusted through a process of moderation to allow comparison of student scores from different schools. The scores are adjusted based on that group's performance in the Opportunity Class Placement Test.
The mean (average) and standard deviation (spread of scores) of the English and mathematics tests are calculated for all students from each primary school who sat the test. The mean and standard deviation are then applied to the school assessment scores. This method ensures the rank order and relative gaps between students at a school stays the same.

 

 

 

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

Scaling of Test Marks

The scaling of the test marks is done on a statewide basis regardless of the schools attended by the students. Each test component is adjusted so they are weighted equally and have equal weighting with the moderated school assessment scores.
Different maximum marks apply to the various test components.
• English – 20
• Mathematics – 20
• General Ability – 30
Each component of the Opportunity Class Placement Test is scaled to a mean of 60 and a standard deviation of 12.
The following graph shows an example of scaling for the mathematics test. In the example a raw mark of 17 out of 40 was scaled to 60 out of 100 with a standard deviation of 12 – 68% of the candidates received a scaled mark of between 48 and 72.

 

 

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

Scaling of School Assessment Scores
The school assessment scores are scaled just like the test results, using the mean and standard deviation from candidates from one school. These are applied to the raw scores provided by that school. This gives the raw school assessment scores parity with all schools statewide – giving them equal weighting with the scaled test scores.
For example, in 2015 a sample school with 64 candidates had school assessment scores for mathematics with a mean of 83 and a standard deviation of 13. When those students sat the mathematics test their scaled scores had a mean around 65 and a standard deviation around 14. You can see the results of the scaling of these assessment scores in the graph below.

 

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

Calculated Placement Score
The calculated placement score is a mark out of 300. For most students it is provided at the bottom of the email advising the application outcome.
The calculated placement score is made up of:
• moderated school assessment scores for English and mathematics
• scaled test marks for English
• scaled test marks for mathematics
scaled test marks for general ability.

Test ComponentScaled School Assessment ScoreScaled Test MarkTotal
English5050100
Mathematics5050100
General AbilityNo School Score100100
Total100200300

For most students the calculated placement score determines offers of placement. A small group of students may be granted special consideration or an illness/misadventure request.
It is unlikely a student will achieve a calculated placement score of 300 as the test is very difficult and school assessment scores rarely moderate to 100. You cannot compare scores from one year to another.
See the entry scores (39KB) held by the last students accepting offers to opportunity classes last year. These scores change from year to year.

 

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

Score Details for Parents
Outcome emails ad letters advise parents of their child’s calculated placement score. A further letter or attachment is provided with the breakdown of the raw school assessment scores and test marks. In a few cases the score cannot be published. If parents do not receive their child’s score they can write to the Unit for an explanation.
The selection committee may adjust a child’s score based on criteria such as a student’s Aboriginality, length of time doing all school work in English, illness/misadventure request, appeal and a number of other factors. This is why a student may appear higher on a reserve list than another student with a higher calculated placement score. It is too complicated to publish the adjusted placement score as they can vary across the two selection committees considering the application.
No other score information is available, including adjusted scores or school rankings.

 

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

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