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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Eleven Plus Mistakes

Eleven Plus tests do not seem to have changed much over the years. My 1963 copy of Essentials of Verbal Reasoning by O.B. Gregory has questions that puzzle children in today’s eleven plus papers.

“If CQDLQ means VERSE what does LQCQDQ mean?

Is it possible then that parts of the conventional eleven plus tests are out dated?

What would happen if today’s verbal reasoning test was enriched with some test items requiring a littler more creativity and thought?

After all it is possible to teach a child to look at the position of the two Qs – and then place them into the word LQCQDQ to come up with the answer SEVERE. To answer a question like this takes ability and intelligence – but the technique of answering can be taught. Children who have the ability to focus and think in convergent terms are likely to be able to answer a question like this remarkably easily. A child with a more scattered or divergent approach may find a question like this a little more confusing.

Today’s verbal reasoning test has the ability to change a child’s future in the space of the fifty minutes it takes to write the test. If a child makes mistakes on three code questions then a place in a grammar school could be in jeopardy.

We should imagine that the chance of child passing ten GCSE subjects with a verbal reasoning score of 105 would be lower than the chance of a child attaining ten good GCSE grades – with a verbal reasoning score of 125. Look at the same two children on twenty years time. It would be much more difficult to predict which individual would have a satisfying well paid job - and be happily married.

There could be a a forty six year d reader of this blog today who used Gregory's Essential of Verbal Reasoning all those years ago and was able to do the codes questions. Perhaps there could also be a reader who was not able to cope with the codes questions in the allocated time. All we can hope is that these imaginary readers are both happy and content.

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