How does 11 Plus Scoring work

Standardised Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS)

What are standardised scores?

Most of us understand scoring systems like those used in our schools, ‘7 out of 10’ or a percentage score say 70%. Such scores, known as raw scores, are easily understandable and useful in indicating ‘how many you got right’. However, these scores are less useful in enabling teachers to compare pupils’ performance meaningfully between one test and another, and to monitor progress over a period of time. This is because raw scores do not account for factors such as
  • varying difficultly of a test from year to year.
  • Varying aptitude and number of students giving the test each year
These factors would end up making the average scores (and hence selection scores) subject to large variations year on year. Further section wise variation in number of questions means a simple a one to one comparison of the raw scores would give certain sections more weight-age.
To overcome these challenges, standardised scores are used instead of raw scores as they help balance the overall performance of children from one year to the next as well as importance of various sections within the test.
The process of standard score calculation is relatively complex, in this article we will try and discuss the basics for interested parents/students but remember you don’t have to dwell on the detailed mechanics – it all comes down to attempting questions in a considered, accurate manner and keeping pace with the speed of the test.

What is age-standardised score?

The standardised scores achieved by each student (as described above and explained later on in this article) are age-standardised. This basically means that the scores are modified slightly to give a small additional score to children who are younger within the year group.
Such adjustments are used because in extreme circumstances there can be up to a year of difference between the ages of the children taking the test and older children naturally:
  • Can concentrate harder and longer
  • Have a wider vocabulary than younger class-mates
  • Display greater comprehension ability
  • Are able to work quicker and with greater accuracy
  • Deal better with exam stress
Although this may be concerning for some parents and children (and equally euphoric for others), it is worth remembering that the factor is very small and the most important parameter remains test performance by far.
On our website we do not collect the ages for children and hence do not use age-standardisation in our score analysis.

What score is required to qualify the 11 plus?

Each county can have a varying criterion, below is the specific one used by Buckinghamshire county council but the basics remain similar and we daresay the system can help parents/students from other areas as well as its primary a bench-marking tool – it’s getting a good score that matters most.
In Buckinghamshire, by achieving a STTS (standardised Secondary Transfer Test Score) of 121 or a child is considered suitable for any grammar school within Buckinghamshire, subject to catchment area and other admission policies. This score cut-off of 121 can remain constant from year to year.
The average score is 100 and on average 33% of children are expected to get an STTS of 121 or more. The score range can be between 60 on the lower side and the highest score 140 or 141.

How should I evaluate my score?

If you have taken one of our ’Online Mock Exams’, you would have received a score analysis report with a ‘Projected Test Score’. If your projected score is:

A) Projected Test Score of 125 or more:
The score of 121 or over indicates a pass in the Mock Exam, congratulations for achieving that comfortably! It is important to continue with regular practice but avoid getting ‘Exam fatigue’ which can set in if you overdo it. We recommend diversifying your reading habits which will not only help you do even better at verbal section but also develop your language skills for future.

B) Projected Test Score between 115 and 125:
Even if this is on the borderline of a pass (over or under the line, ever so slightly), it’s worth remembering that this is a great score! With the average score being 100, you have performed much better than your peers. With regular practice and regular habit of learning from each question that you got wrong, you can easily push your score over the line in the final exam. So well done and keep up the good work.

C) Projected Test Score between 90 and 115:
If you are in year 5 and looking to give the test this year in September, there is a currently a gap between achievement and needed score. We recommend a thorough revision of fundamentals and regular exam practice. Pass is achievable through dedication and honest work – think how proud you will be when you clear the exam!

D) Projected Test Score less than 90:
If you are in year 5 and looking to give the test this year in September, there is a need to do a lot of fundamental revision, practice and exam prep. A lot of the content stems from the basics you have been learning as part of your school curriculum, so you can definitely improve your score by leaps and bounds.
It is worth remembering that sometimes you can just have a bad exam day or the exam pattern may be relatively new to you. Focus on improving the score rather that dwelling on a low score.
Watch a motivational movie (we recommend ‘Rocky’ series) and let’s get to work!
Whatever your child’s score, in case you need support with:
- Good reading suggestions
- ‘Brain workout’ ideas
- Additional practice questions
- Fundamentals revision
- Mock Exam analysis
- Motivation session for the exam
Please feel free to ask for support on our Facebook support group (link below) and we will do our best to advise.

How scores are calculated?

To understand how the process of score standardisation actually happens, one need to understand the basics of distribution, normal distribution and basics of transformation of any distribution into normal.

Step 1: Standardised Scores
The test results are broken down into three elements (Verbal, Maths and Non-Verbal) and the raw scores from each element are separately standardised using the formula:
S = n (x - y)/ SD + 100
In this process essentially, we are transforming the distribution of actual results (which has a mean of y and standard deviation of SD) to a distribution with mean 100 and a standard deviation of n.
x is the achieved raw score
y is the mean score of all students who have taken the test
SD is the standard deviation of the sample

Step 2: Weighted Standardised Scores
The three Standardised Scores elements (Verbal, Maths and Non-Verbal) calculated above are individually weighted as follows:
The weighted Verbal score is 50% of Verbal Standardised Score
The weighted Maths score is 25% of Maths Standardised Score
The weighted Non-Verbal score is 25% of Non-Verbal Standardised Score

Step 3: standardised Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS)
The three weighted scores are added to give the standardised Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS), the score is always rounded down to a whole number.
Please Note: The Projected Test Score is based on your performance in the stated test and is a projection based on sample and actual test data from other students on our platform. The projection is meant to be used solely for the purpose of setting performance benchmarks on our website and in no way attempts to predict the performance in the actual exam. We have compiled this information to the best of our knowledge but cannot give any warranty to its accuracy, not do we claim to be partners with the concerned councils to disseminate this information. Individual councils have varying admission criteria and we encourage all parents to see the applicable council website for more information on the local admission process.