You hear of a good school. You then receive an offer on your house that is simply too good to be true. You don’t prevaricate or ask for a higher offer, you take the money and run. Where could you go? Close to that `wonderful’ school. You surmise that this is the school that will bring out the best in your child. (Last year 32 children out of 60 passed the Eleven Plus. Only 3 passed in the school your children are in at the moment.)
If over half the children passed last year – what are the chances of the same happening this year?
You know that last year, Year 6 had a gifted teacher who loved the Eleven Plus and loved working children hard. 26 out of thirty in her class passed last year. In the new school you hear that the good teacher has been moved to different class lower down the school. The teacher who is taking the present pre Eleven Plus children is more interested in drama and sport. She never sets any extra homework unless the children remind her.
If we had to use statistical tools to work out if the was worth moving to the new school we would need to be able to look at the numbers of children who won grammar school places over some time. It may also be useful to look at the difference is scores between the two groups of children. One method would be to apply some of the many different formulas associated with correlation. After all if you are going to take the plunge and move, you will want to be sure that the data is both accurate and meaningful.
The statistically informed test expert will need to be able to use clear and appropriate language when offering you conclusions.
We know that it must be possible to correlate success in eleven plus examinations with future success at `A’ level. To do well at `A’ level requires much more than attending a grammar school. We must presume that a certain percentage of children who pass the Eleven Plus will be successful. There must also be other children who did not pass the eleven plus – yet do go on to have a successful school career.
To help parents make their decision `to move or not to move’ the mothers and fathers will need to look at the new school in terms of:
Children who if selected would succeed at grammar school.
Children who were rejected by the grammar school system did succeed.
Children who if selected would fail academically at grammar school.
Children who were rejected, and then went on to fail.
There are very real problems for parents to try to face when they are deciding whether to move into an area which has a successful school.