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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Suppose that your son takes an Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning test one day and achieves a certain score. He then returns the following week to take the same test and achieves a different result.

We need to assume that he has not discovered the correct answers in the interim.

We also need to assume that his intelligence has not changed in a week.

We also pray that there have been no mechanical errors in marking the two tests.

We would probably be able to say that it is likely that the scores would be different. So what could account for a difference in scores on identical tests?

Some reasons could be very straight forward:

The amount of sleep the night before.

The type of breakfast eaten in the morning.

Feeling about the person administering the test.

Distractions in the testing environment.

An argument with a sibling.

A fight between members of the family. (The list could almost be endless.)

So now we can look at whether boy or girls would have greater differences in their scores. There are naturally two ways to approach the question.

The first is by logical analysis. So we have to say there can be no difference between the scores of boys and girls – otherwise we would have to give different tests to boys and girls.

The other way of looking at the problem is by statistical analysis. So we know that girls do better than boys in some areas but we are not all that certain why. So do we look at the difference in scores and think that girls will probably do better on a re-test a week later than boys would?

We need to remember at this stage that we are talking about the same test with the same questions under the same conditions.

So if we are going to get variations of results from a formal testing session we naturally must expect variations in results of work when children are doing tests after school and on the weekend. Be patient with your child. Let all these different factors flash through your mind before you comment on a difference in results. Above all don’t take any variation personally. It is very unlikely that your child is being difficult. There just may be circumstances beyond his or her control.

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