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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Putting up a Fight

Today may be a good day to try to find a joke book. Humour is often used to release tension. When the family sit together this evening, with the sound on the television thankfully turned off, try a few jokes. There are few eleven year olds who would be able to resist a corny joke like:

Why can’t a steam engine sit down?
Because it has a tender behind.

Doctor, doctor, every time I drink a cup of tea I get a sharp pain in my nose.
Have you tried taking the spoon out of the cup?

I chatted to a mother yesterday who explained that her daughter’s school last year had only managed six eleven passes out of just on sixty children. The mum went on to say that she really wanted her daughter to be one of the six next year. Her daughter, completely inconsequentially, made a remark about some types of non verbal reasoning questions being hard.

Questions in eleven plus examinations are tested before they are included in a formal eleven plus test. Naturally, when questions are written, there must be some questions that are efficient – and some that are inefficient. If the right answer is selected more often than is expected on a random basis the question has to be excluded from the test. In eleven plus examinations questions do not have to be designed to contribute towards selecting a wide range of ability. Eleven plus questions can focus on trying to select children for grammar school. To find this information a large sample of children is tested – and the actual eleven plus test is made up of questions that have passed the test.

Naturally an eleven plus test would not try to include questions that every one would get right. In the same way there will be no questions that no one can solve.

So while your mind is swirling around while you are waiting for the results tomorrow – you can’t use the argument that the test was unfair. The items in the test will have been tested ahead of the examination.

You can’t blame illness or nerves without proof from your doctor or a relevant professional.

You can’t blame the school for a low number of children passing the examination. Your child’s school will have done the best they can.

All you can do is think positively. If your child has passed – you need a big party. If your child has not gained the school of your choice – you need a big party. The last thing you want to do at this stage is allow your child to feel a failure.

As a parent too you must not feel a failure if everything has not gone to plan. It is a very hard lesson for a ten year old – but an even harder time for some parents. You would not have entered your child for the examination if you had not thought that your child would have a chance.

Try to be positive. Call for some of the `family favourite’ jokes. Ask grandfather to chat to your child and tell a couple of jokes that usually make all the family groan and smile.

But if you feel that your child had suffered an injustice – then fight at hard as you can. You owe that yourself.

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