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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Multiple Choice and the Eleven Plus

On a certain day in each county children sit in rows in desks. Outside invigilators prowl up and down the rows.

There is a deep silence – broken only by the sound of pencils falling out of nerveless hands.

There are huge clocks to that the children can monitor the passing of time. Nervous eyes flick sporadically – and calculations are made: “Twenty questions, 12 minutes left. How can I do it? The questions are getting harder. I am becoming anxious now. What is mum going to say if I do not finish?”

. The papers are made by experts. There is a right answer and some wrong answers. All the eleven plus child has to do is recognise the right answer.

In some cases only the correct answers are counted.

In other multiple choice examination the wrong answers are subtracted from the right answers.

We warn the children of `red herrings’ in the answers.

If the question was:

Rearrange the letters of the word to make a word corresponding to the definition.

shore (a four legged animal)

A) horse
B) hotly
C) spider
D) horsu

We hope that the bright Eleven Plus child will choose `A’ for a horse.

If `C’ was chosen then perhaps a mark should be deducted because every child knows that a spider has more than four legs. Deducting marks if a child does not show ability and concentration could seem to be attractive to some.

Losing marks for unstructured guesses could help to focus attention.

A big problem with timed Eleven Plus Multiple choice questions is that a child could pass the examination in the morning when he or she is feeling fresh. The same examination could be failed in the evening when the `candidate’ is tired.

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