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Friday, January 04, 2008

Eleven Plus Ability

Over the years teachers have used many methods of assessing children. The essay is traditionally used at Sats, GCSE and A level. Some Eleven Plus examinations still use a written English exercise as a selection device.

Some verbal reasoning questions do appear to be a little pointless – yet they are taken very seriously by teachers and parents all over the country. I know that analogies are an essential part of the reasoning process. A question like: Hill is to Mountain as small is to …. does seem to be a rather weak method of determining ability. Naturally a question with a more complex vocabulary and thought process would be a move valuable assessment tool.

Why can’t our bright Eleven Plus children try to cope with questions like?

Imagine how you would think and feel if you were the last person on earth.

Are two parents necessary for a child to develop successfully?

The problem of noise in modern society.

Should every school have a speed camera?

Disregard for the moment the problems associated with marking a range of test papers. We have seen how so many GSCE examinations can be marked through the internet and online. The sheer fatigue associated with marking lots of scripts can be solved.

Think of the difference in the content of lessons as teachers and tutors work to help children to learn to think and discuss a wide range of subjects. There would be no need to complete a large number of questions in a short time (as in verbal reasoning questions) rather children would be admitted to grammar school on the basis of their ability to reason and write a polished essay.

Every single parent knows when their eleven year old is trying to present a polished and reasoned answer. Why can’t we channel this evident ability into a deserved eleven plus pass?

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