There are a number of variables that will affect a child’s performance in the Eleven Plus examinations. Each child will affected differently by the preparation and the events of the actual examination. Some factors will include:
The examination room condition
The extent of preparation
Attitude of the child towards the tests
Mother’s final pep talk. (Don’t worry dear, just do your best.)
Dad’s last minute advice. (Go get them Tiger!)
Visits to the toilet.
Teachers and tutors have luxury of being able to take some of these factors into account when they are talking to mothers and fathers. Building a coherent picture of the child is easier after a few lessons and tests. “Oh yes, he is doing fine,” may be true at a certain stage of the preparation – but not as valid if offered the day before the actual examination.
The term `continuous assessment’ can be used to describe the terms of a child’s preparation – but the final examination is a one off. The Eleven Plus is one examination that can not be re-taken.
Of course parents could monitor scores on test papers themselves.
Suppose Heather scored:
Paper 1 2 3 4 5
Mark 45 50 40 45 50
The average mark Heather reaches is 46. (Average is total divided by number.)
We can now see how variable these marks are by calculating the variance from the average:
1 45 -1
2 50 +4
3 40 -6
4 45 -1
5 50 +4
If a variation from the mean suddenly grew to a remarkably high number then a fluctuation could be due to far more than `examination nerves’ or `illness’.