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Friday, June 26, 2009

Eleven Plus Aptitude

The word intelligence is sometimes used instead of aptitude. The work aptitude is sometimes called reasoning. It is easier to say that a child has not passed the eleven plus because of a lack of aptitude or poor reasoning skills than it is to say that a child lacks intelligence.

Intelligence tests usually contain questions on vocabulary, analogies, similarities, opposites, arithmetic and general information.

Father is to son as bull is to (ewe, cow, colt, calf and mare)

Sometimes an intelligence test can look at short term memory – for example recalling a series of numbers. Quite often codes are used – and here the code can be used as often as is needed. Questions are sometimes designed to take into account the ability to learn and apply the code.

These types of questions were prevalent in intelligence tests sixty years ago. Surely eleven plus questions could have moved on?

Earlier this week I worked with a boy who obviously had high non verbal and spatial abilities. He found some types of verbal reasoning difficult. If his eleven plus examination had been made up of non verbal reasoning, spatial abilities and mathematics reasoning questions he would find a place in any grammar school.

It was likely, however, that his verbal reasoning scores would struggle to rise over 115. He would do very well in mathematics and computing grammar school – but not one that specialised in languages. In time he should go on to enjoy a degree in engineering – but would struggle at university doing Ancient Greek.

He may or may not gain entry to the local grammar school but he will certainly lead an academic life away from certain types of books and words. His intelligence is obvious – scores over 135 in non verbal reasoning and mathematics point to this. He may lack certain verbal reasoning skills in spite of every effort on the part of his parents and the school. He deserves a place in a grammar school.

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