When parents are chatting about the Eleven Plus the point is sometimes made that the Eleven Plus fails to get at the true ability of their child. Parents naturally feel that a child’s ability to do well on reasoning and mathematics is affected by his home background and other social factors. “My child comes from a good home. His dad went o grammar. We work on papers every night. He has a wonderful tutor.”
Parents hope that if they find out about the Eleven Plus, buy books and work with their child they will enhance the child’s ability to do well on different types of Eleven Plus tests.
The question of home background affecting scores could possibly be true in a town setting where children come together from many different backgrounds.
Some Eleven Plus children, however, come from a similar background. The children could, for example, come mainly from a leafy suburb. Their primary schools would be generally similar. The backgrounds of the home would also be very comparable.
If the Eleven Plus examination sat by these children only looked at reasoning, then we could expect that the test should be able to find the `true ability’ of the child.
Once we look for `true ability’ in mathematics and English a vast number of other factors could affect the Eleven Plus results.