A key part of some eleven plus assessments is the written task. On some occasions the children are asked to describe how they would feel about being blind, a different assessment could cover the controversial topic of when it is valid for a child to lie. Other children are simply asked to write on a topic that interests them.
In every case we encourage the children to write a plan. Some children are able to cope with planning – and others need help in trying to work out how to develop the answer. Of course we remind the children that planning involves coming up with ideas – and then working out the order that the ideas are put into. Some children, however, continue to write their essay without the benefit of a plan – and some of these children then come up with a jumble of ideas.
A number of children are able to write a plan – and then have trouble following the plan into the body of the story. Some times it is evident that the child has had a different idea – or that the development of the story is simply taking a different route.
Some children have difficulty in writing a short plan – of a reasonable length. However many times they hare reminded to write in bullet points or to employ a spider diagram, some children persist in writing the plan using full sentences. The plan on some occasions lands up longer than the story – because the child has run out of time.
Even very bright children some times have difficulty in getting to the point. Some will persist in developing an introduction that could emerge into a written piece where the introduction dominates the story.