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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Missing Five Eleven Plus Questions

It is mathematics and English for a large number of children tomorrow. We wish them well.

Today was verbal and non verbal reasoning. We hope it went well.

Outside of the world of the eleven plus examination we are all caught up with judging and commenting on verbal skills. Children need verbal skills to be able to express thoughts and ideas in words. Children need sound verbal skills while they are engaged in essential reading exercises. We also need words to cope with much of our daily life. Imagine a world where sport commentators were speechless. Think of parliament where the speaker could not say `Order! Order!’

When children are working towards the eleven plus they use a range of verbal reasoning skills that are not restricted to: `Find the odd one out’. Children at school, and at home, have to talk, discuss reason and argue. They watch T.V., read books and many delight in computer games.

Eleven plus children also have to develop non verbal skills that are not tested by pen and pencil tests. The manner in which a child deports himself and the gestures a girl uses to explain a tricky point are all part of the make up of a child.

All this to say is that good scores on verbal and non verbal reasoning tests may help some children win places in grammar schools. Many other children, however, will survive happily in life with very different verbal and non verbal reasoning skills.

I heard today of one of our very bright girls who was reduced to tears after leaving today’s non verbal reasoning test because she had been forced to leave out five questions. She has worked very hard towards these tests. Her parents have given her every opportunity. We hope those missing five answers do not preclude her from enjoying the academic environment she fully deserves.

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