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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eleven Plus Extremes

“Thank you for bringing me to the lesson. It was fab. I really enjoyed the verbal reasoning.”

“It is a pleasure. I like the way you are interacting with the teachers and assistants. Do you mange to go over those questions we worked on together on Thursday?”

“Oh yes, thank you. I often seem to get confused when doing the codes questions. I was shown a different way of doing the questions. You know we usually draw lines along the alphabet to show the connection between the letters and the numbers, well today we wrote the letters on one line and the numbers on the next. On the third line we wrote down the difference. This really seemed to help.”

“We will look at together when we get home. I can’t look now because I am driving but I look forward to seeing your work. What else did you do?

“I met something new today in mathematics. I know how to work out area – that is easy. It is volume that I struggle with – but as soon as I copied out the example everything seemed to become clearer. Then I tried to do the volume of a pyramid. Fitting the numbers to the formula is fun. I was told we would not see a question like that in the actual examination – but it was good fun to do something new.”

“Is that all you did? I sat here in the car waiting for you and you only did three exercises. What a waste of my time.”

“We tried to go over codes and I was shown a new ….. “

“If I have told you one I have told you ten times. You need to do more in the lessons. Concentrate. Work faster and ask for more help.”

“The maths was easy. We did volume.”

“I hope you learnt it. That means you won’t have to waste time and do it again. It costs a lot of money to send you to lessons.”

“Sorry mum. I will try harder next lesson. Where are we going now?”


These encounters between parents and children are important. The truth is somewhere between these two extremes. The Eleven Plus syllabus is necessarily narrow – but occasionally parents need to understand what happens in a lesson from the child’s point of view. After the Eleven Plus examination is to do with the total education of the child – rather than with marks and attempting to appease parents.

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