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Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Style Eleven Plus Examinations

We certainly need to think of new way of presenting eleven plus examinations. The idea of thousands of clever little ten year old sitting down to starchy papers in strict rows is no longer tenable.

We need every child to bring their wireless enabled lap top to a series of central points. The children then fire their computers up and down load the first set of questions. Naturally the children will have full access to all the facilities of the internet. If they are stuck on reflection all they need to do is type the key word `reflection’ into the search engine and up comes the answer.

Surely it is better for a ten year old to be able to find the answer than simply be able to remember a series of key facts or techniques?

Naturally the vast network of eleven plus tutors would be able to tap into this new system of examining children. They would be able to sponsor sites that could supply eleven plus answers. Parents would be queuing up to add credits to Pay Pal accounts to make sure that their child was able to get a fast track answer. No sure how to do analogies? No problem. If you press the `fast track’ logo you will be able to beat all the other children to find the answer.

Want to be able to talk to your own tutor on line while you are working through the examination paper? No problem. Slip your headphones on. Load Skype. Turn your video camera on and chat to your tutor who has been anxiously waiting for your call. (Like driving instructors tutors get paid extra while the test is taking place.)

Need a bit of love a reassurance from your parents? No problem. Build a conference call with your parents. Dad will help with the questions he is good at. Mum is naturally much better at maths – so go over the few problems that remain on your paper with her.

Want to see if your multiple choice answer is right? Load the `Answer Checker’ program. This program calculates the odds of the answer being right. The problem is that your child will only be able to use the program four times during the entire paper. (If you pay extra you can buy four more attempts!)

So let us now picture the eleven plus examination room. Groups of children will be wearing headphones balancing their computers on their knees. White coated technicians will be helping with connection problems. Children will be muttering to themselves: “Well I know that Yahoo is best for technical questions – but I really do prefer Google.”

Suddenly the power goes down.

The resilient children place their headphones on the computers and move to the adjacent room. Kindly, smiling teachers hand out papers with reassuring words. Children sit in silence doing their best. Rows of cars wait outside with confident parents smiling in anticipation.

The eleven plus organisers mutter to themselves. “Well I had an extra generator on standby. I just did not expect that sudden surge for information. Oh well, the children seemed to do O.K. We will see about next year.”


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