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Friday, August 22, 2008

To understand a little more about multiple choice tests we need to look back to the Army-Alpha tests that were developed in America during the 1914 – 18 war. The American Army needed good leaders. The Army-Alpha test gave grades between A and D. Naturally achieving an `A’ grade suggested good officer material.

It is interesting to look at some test items from all those years ago. We can then try them on Eleven Plus children. I took these items from my1935 book called `Psychology’ by Boring, Langfeld and Weld. (John Wiley and Sons).

Test 1
If six is more than four, then, cross out the five, unless five is more than seven, in which case draw a line under number six.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Test 2
If it takes 8 men 2 days to dig a 160 foot drain, how many men are needed to dig it in half a day?

Test 3

Why are warships painted grey? Because gray paint

--- is cheaper than other colours
--- is more durable than other colours
--- makes ships harder to see

Test 4
Complete the number series.
9 1 7 1 5 1 ___ ___
4 5 8 9 12 13 ___ ___
1 4 9 16 25 36 ___ ___

Test 5
Cold is to ice as heat is to: wet cold steam stars

When we look at the content of these items it is easy to see why I am concerned that the present writers of Eleven Plus tests seem to be stuck in time. The world has moved forward considerably. Why do the authors of Eleven Plus tests still include some pretty silly questions?

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