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Friday, April 27, 2007

Speeding Up Eleven Plus Results

“My child and I get very anxious waiting for examination and test results. Is there anything that can be done to help?”

One of the great benefits of the present system of taking driving tests is that people are offered a second or a third chance. I have always taken the stories of people who have taken the driving test nineteen or twenty times as being apocryphal. Just think of that poor driving instructor. Think of the number of times the driving instructor has had to gear himself or herself up to engage in a lesson with the pupil.

Think of the feelings in the instructor’s heart as he or she sees the car approaching along the road ready to turn into the test centre. Will there be a pass or a fail?

Think of the feelings of the poor prospective driver as the wait for the dreaded words approach. At least the end is swift. “I never felt a thing!” A learner driver knows about pass or fail immediately.

Children involved in eleven plus examinations have to wait an unconscionable amount of time before their results come through. I wonder if there is any way this process can be speeded up.

Let us try to track the examination paper after your child has walked out of the examination. The head examiner or invigilator collects the papers, places them in an envelope and put the completed papers immediately into the safe. A courier collects the papers the same day and delivers them to be marked.

The papers are fed through a reader – and software will automatically give a raw score – how many questions are correct, and a standardised score – to make the test as fair a possible.

The results for the whole school could be collected and collated within minutes. This probably takes no longer than the time it takes the driving instructor to unbuckle the seat and complete the form before half turning to face you.

So surely the children who have definitely passed could be told immediately. The children who did not do at all well and have no chance could also be told immediately. This leaves us with the small percentage of children who, on this occasion, just do not have the right combination of marks.

So this is a plea on behalf of all those parents with a definite yes or a definite no to be informed quickly and painlessly. This could be as much as 90% of the parents.

So the only mums and dads who have to get nervous or anxious are those parents with results that are nearly passes or nearly fails. If this poor cohort of parents is around ten percent then it is evident that these are the only parents who need help and support to get through the uncertainty of their child’s success.

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