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Friday, December 21, 2007

Eleven Plus Rights

It was only a matter of time.

A `big’ announcement from QCA (Qualifications and Assessment Authority) who published the new GCSE criteria was:

GCSE pupils may retake examinations under reforms.

This will allow pupils to re-sit an examination if they are unhappy with their mark.

This blog has argued the case for re-sits for Eleven Plus children for some time. For some children it is grossly unfair that their future determined by the Eleven Plus examination.

One of our boys who sat an Eleven Plus examinations in October described how the boy sitting beside him threw up. Our boy described how the sick went all over his papers and he also had to be wiped down. His paper was also affected. The few minutes associated with these unfortunate events may have altered the Eleven Plus results. We also have to feel very sorry for the poor boy who was ill. Think too of the teachers having to clear up. There must have been some disruption to all concerned. I wonder if this could be a case for a re-sit for both the boys involved?

Illness in an examination is, however, an extreme case and can not be regarded as the norm. We can not change the way a whole county runs an eleven plus system just because we feel sorry for someone.

Youngsters have been re-sitting `A’ level modules for some time. If an `A’ level student is unhappy with a mark it is a simple matter to organize a re-sit. Some `A’ Level students will study for the examination without any input from outside. Others will attend classes at school, college or a tutorial establishment. Some too will attend a tutor. The student will simply do a little calculation of how much work is needed – and hey presto – a higher grade. The higher grade could mean a different university – or even a different course.

Dr Boston, The QCA’s Chief Executive said on the QCA website: (

"The revised GCSE qualification and subject criteria will give learners a reliably assessed, consistent and fair qualification."

So if GCSE boards can give learns a reliably assessed, consistent and fair qualification – why can’t we achieve the same for our Eleven Plus children?

The government is already starting to trial different types of SATs tests that will be offered when children are ready. I know there must be flaws in my argument but if a sixteen year old makes a number of mistakes in a public examination – then the sixteen year old will be allowed to re-sit – but an eleven year old does not have the same opportunity.

I know that the parents of the eleven year old can appeal to a Grammar School for a place – but the examination can not be re-sat.

Parents unite!

Children – surely you have rights too?

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