I am very keen on the idea of a total rethink of the eleven plus examination. I know that on the day of the examination the child will be sitting at a desk working through a series of papers. This is how examinations have been taken for many, many years.
The world, however, is changing – and possibly the eleven plus examination also needs to change. We have seen how applications like Facebook have changed the manner in which we can communicate. We know that people are inclined to use a wiki to add knowledge and develop fresh ways of looking at information. `You Tube’ is also an invaluable source of information and entertainment. We also need to look at the tools that children use on the internet to chat to each other.
So why does the eleven plus examination continue to need to be approached in very much the same way as the eleven plus examination were written fifty years ago? Why can’t children be tested on their ability to communicate with each other? Why can’t children be tested on their ability to solve problems using the internet and cyberspace? Why can’t children be challenged with reasoning problems where they have to roam the internet to find the answers? Probing the internet is not the whole answer – but it is the learning tool of the future and examiners should be aware of this.
We are opening up a new digital world at an incredible pace. Perhaps we need to look into the future and simply abandon some of the old fashioned methods of examining children.