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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Eleven Plus Interviews

I wonder why admission to grammar school is based so heavily on scores on tests. Why can’t children who on the waiting list or the border line be offered an interview.

After all an interview is one of the most popular methods of obtaining information. Surely a mature and thoughtful ten year old child will be able to demonstrate those virtues in an interview situation?

Naturally the school will argue that Eleven Plus interviews are very time consuming – then so too is the whole process of appeals. In an appeal situation parents have the opportunity of being able to put a case. In an interview the child would be able to make a case.

Of course the schools would need to prepare carefully for the interview. It would be little use asking a ten year old to argue why botox should be banned. A bright ten year old should be able to discuss the merits of the social networking site `bebo’.

You would not ask a ten year: “How often do you get into trouble for using your mobile phone?”

A more likely question would be: “How do you think we should cope with problems associated to mobile phones?”

Am interviewer would need to be very flexible when dealing with children. The interviewer would actually have to listen to the child’s answers. Work through a preset list of questions would probably be really unfruitful in a large number of cases.

One more thing that interviewers would need to remember is that some children will hate for notes to be taken. It is likely that the child will stop talking while the interviewer is writing.

It may not be too good an idea to ask too many patronising questions. A question like: “Why do you think this school should accept you?” may not be received as favourably as one phrased: “If you were to be offered a place – what would you bring to the school?”

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