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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Constructing an Eleven Plus Test

Do the men and women who develop the Eleven Plus tests try to present tests that are theoretically sound or are they building tests to select Eleven Plus children who have had access – and exposure - to T.V., the internet, ipods and mobile phones?

A number of the present Eleven Plus Selection books, that are available in bookshops or over the internet, were developed some years ago. Some children, however, are still confronted with questions like: `Which letter occurs in stream but not in disaster?’ Children today can go on MSN and communicate. Our eleven year old children can download music from a website and then share their labours with friends and family.

The people child write the actual Eleven Plus Tests must have a theoretical picture of what an ideal Eleven Plus child should look like. The picture painted by authors of books designed to help children pass the Eleven Plus does, however, seem rather gloomy at times.

A theoretical psychologist sets up construct a test with an expected outcome. Suppose, for example, one criteria for a successful Eleven Plus child was to be able to cook a cake. Cookery schools would develop in all Eleven Plus areas. We would be offered questions like:

“The correct term used to describe baking a cake is: A. burning B. cooking C. roasting D. freezing.”

If a preset number of children are able to answer the question correctly then the cooking question would be included in the test. (Naturally the question should discriminate between a child who should pass the Eleven Plus, and one who should fail.)

When one day there is a concerted push from parents to demand a rethink of what should be in an Eleven Plus test, then perhaps we may be urged to try to develop our Eleven Plus children in new and innovative ways.

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