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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Eleven Plus and Progress at School 02/12/08

All concerned in the Eleven Plus must sincerely hope that all the hard work that is done in preparation for the examination has some effect on school work. Theoretically it would be possible to set up an experiment to examine academic success, as measured by the KS2 SATs tests.

We would need two sets of children – constituted as an experimental and a control group. We would need to try to make the two groups as nearly identical as possible. The experiment could have as many variables as was thought to be necessary.

There could be, for example, a total of fifty children chosen from a cohort of around three thousand. Twenty five children would take the Eleven Plus and twenty five would simply attend school. (Selecting fifty children from a group as large as three thousand would be very expensive!)

The groups could be matched on present academic success in mathematics and English. There could be a case for verbal and non verbal reasoning to be included. Age and sex could also be matched. Different types of match could be obtained by reading age – and even the numbers of books that are read in a preset period of time.

As we can imagine it would be very difficult to disentangle all the variables. The idea that working on Eleven Plus topics will help a child to do well in KS2 SATs test is a rather abstract concept. In any event we would need to start with the hypothesis that doing additional Eleven Plus work would make no difference what so ever.

All we can do is ask the question. We may not be sure of the answer

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