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Monday, September 21, 2009

Eleven Plus Gloom

Children are usually very trusting about their teachers, their parents and the content of examinations. After all why would the eleven plus examiners want to set questions that might trick children?

For example, we can meet eleven plus questions that belong to the family of patterns:

Every garden must have:
A: flowers
B: grass
C: trees
D: vegetables

It would be possible to have different set of questions relating to gardens:

Every garden must:
A: be at the rear of the house
B: enjoy partly paved areas
C: have a driveway for the garage
D: steps leading to the rockery

The first set of questions is about the vegetation in a garden. The second is to do with paths and access.

It would lead to a truly confusing set of multiple choice questions if the examiner mixed the two sets of questions:

Every garden must
A: have plants
B: have growing things
C: have a driveway
D: have a path

A question of this type would be testing two different areas of knowledge and understanding. Parents of eleven plus children would be right to feel every aggrieved if their children were exposed to questions where the answer was ambiguous. Was the examiner looking at vegetation or access? Finding the correct answer could be even more frustrating if the question was changed to: `Give one item must every garden have?’ Your poor child would rightly descend in a state of unbalanced gloom.

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