To pass an Eleven Plus examination means that a child has had to answer a number of questions – with remarkably few mistakes. It is rather sad to think that lots of questions with few mistakes ensure a successful Eleven Plus outcome.
The role of the Eleven Plus teacher then becomes one of trying to make sure that their child makes as few mistakes as possible. The teacher, therefore, has to give the child the methods and techniques of answering questions with out making mistakes.
This ensures that `mistake – avoidance’ becomes one of the main educational aims of eleven plus preparation.
The more experienced the teacher at anticipating where a child will make mistakes, the more likely the child is to pass the examination.
Avoiding mistakes offers us a totally gloomy approach to the eleven plus.
The heads of grammar schools must have at their `disposal’ some of the finest teachers in the land. Surely these `super teachers’ can come together to propose a new battery of eleven plus tests that allow children to make mistakes?
When these dedicated grammar school teachers look at their Year 7 children, they must see children who want to learn, and who have worked hard to earn a place. They must also worry that some of their children may have become preoccupied with a culture of avoiding errors.
Could the eleven plus examinations have provoked a climate where originality is stifled?