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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Logic of Some Eleven Plus Questions

For some children the eleven plus examination is now a matter of days and weeks away. By now many of the children will have covered the majority of the so called `Eleven Plus Syllabus’ and will be revising and going over problem areas.

As parents work with their children on verbal reasoning exercises they will be aware of a rainbow of emerging linguistic skills.

Sometimes parents will be aware of their child solving a problem – when they can not really explain in words what they have done. Before wondering if their child has seen the answers – it may be worth considering that the brain is beginning to develop powers of being able to see solutions to problems. “I can’t explain how I got the answer; I just know what the answer is.”

Sometimes too your child may display powers of organisation of thought that could make you wonder: “Where on earth did that come from?” This is a natural consequence of the time and effort that has already gone into working towards the eleven plus. Parts of the brain are clicking in to place.

On other occasion your child may be able to explain how to reach an answer – without really being able to achieve the final step. The final step being selecting the right multiple choice answer.

Parents could test how far their child’s thought processes are developing by playing the game Twenty Questions once again. Suppose the answer was a large kitchen knife. At a pre eleven plus stage a child may ask: “Is it in the kitchen?” Later on in a child’s development of thinking and reasoning, you could expect a question along the lines of: “Is it a kitchen utensil?” A two part question like this opens up a different type of generalised thinking.

Eleven plus children will continue ask some general questions – but will also be able demonstrate that they have reached higher level of hierarchy. This type of thinking is part of being able to understand that in some multiple choice questions they may have to choose between remarkably similar answers – without the luxury of being able to recognise immediately that a particular answer needs to be eliminated.

Parents will use language to help their child develop skills of theorising. Developing a theory entails collecting information and evidence and then organising an answer. A correct eleven plus answer can seem to defy logic. In fact some eleven plus questions do defy logic. “I can see the answer in the answer book, but how did they do that?”

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eleven Plus Health and Safety

There is a game we used to play as children. There must have been many different variations of the game – and a wide variety of popular names.

Two boys stand about a yard from each other. (This would be about a metre in today’s eleven plus parlance.)

Their feet are together.

One boy throws a knife, preferably a sheath knife, so that the point sticks into the ground within a foot of the other boy’s shoe.

The other boy does not move his foot – but he has to grab the handle of the knife – and then has to move his foot to the point where the knife went in. he then holds the blade of the knife and throws it towards his opponent.

If the knife does not stick in the ground then the turn is lost.

If the distance between the knife and the foot is greater than about twelve inches – then the turn is lost.

Once one of the boys can no longer hold a position – because the legs have been driven apart – then the winner can be declared.

There was a variation on the basic game. If a knife landed between the feet of an adversary then the knife thrower could close his feet.

Of course some boys started the game with the legs far apart and then were allowed to close their legs to where the point of the knife landed. Sometimes the point did seem to go very close to a foot!

A different variation was to play the game in bare feet. This added a little sense of adventure!

Answering demanding verbal reasoning questions seems to engender the same sense reckless endeavour.

“Let us try answering `B’ then `B’ then `B’.”

“There was an `A’ then a `B’ then a `C’ so the next answer must be `D’.”

“The “D” option had fewer letters so I went for `D’. I don’t know why, but it seemed a good idea at the time.”

The advent of health and safety, thank goodness, has stopped school children being able to carry a knife. Play ground monitors and staff will certainly, and rightly, cut out any effort to play dangerous games. It may be the last resort of some children lie in the multiple choice elements of the eleven plus examinations. Some multiple choice examinations seem to throw a whole set of seemingly unrelated questions at a child – and then expect the child to keep cool under pressure. When your eleven plus child closes his or her eyes - and lunges at the right answer to a multiple choice question – then he or she is playing no less dangerous a game.

Read the question. Re read the question. Eliminate answers which simply can not be correct. Try then to make an educated guess rather than a stab in the dark.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eleven Plus Answers

Questions to ask your eleven plus teacher:

“Are you working on a system whereby you select work that my child will need? Have you tried to cut out of the lessons topics my child already knows? Are you revising on a regular basis?”

Depending on the answers you may then care to ask:

“Have you developed an individual plan – and defined the tasks that my child has to do? Are you working on my child’s needs or are you following a set course of action?”

What ever the answers your eleven plus teacher will be trying to analyse the components your child needs to assimilate – and then isolate the essential components. Some teachers may choose to do this by working through eleven plus papers while other teachers will follow a course designed to build up to working through papers.

Eleven plus teachers will be trying to make the structure of the work clear to their pupils as well as the parents.

Parents simply do not want their eleven plus teachers, or tutors, to muddle through a course of lessons. Parents will hope that the eleven plus teachers will be working on the hypothesis that a lot of the course can be broken down into small components. The course then gets built up step by step until it becomes a recognisable whole.

Comenius, once thought to be the Father of European Education, said: “Nature proceeds step by step.” He also went on to maintain that: “Nature observes a suitable time.”

What would he have thought of the child approaching his eleven plus examination secure in the knowledge that he and his tutor had done everything possible in their preparations?

The child will have worked through pre eleven plus papers, eleven plus papers, topics arising from the papers and topics the tutor thought would be in the examination. The boy will have done on line questions, on line papers and done some on line work. He will have had bundles of CDs – and even some DVDs.

Throughout all this work he may have had one factor that could have held up his mathematics – he could have been unsure how to multiply by two numbers. This little weakness could cost marks.

Some parents will be grateful that so much help and information is available. Other parents will prefer to feel that they are following a planned course of action suited to their child. There will be some parents who will not want to leave everything to the tutor and the school – and will prefer to direct the course of the eleven plus themselves. For these parents some of the questions could become:

Am I proceeding step by step?

Am I allowing my child to learn in a structured and organised manner?

Is my child building confidence in tackling a wide range of work?

If you answer yes to all three questions – you are on the road to success.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eleven Plus Laws

I can't remember who said it, but somebody said it once.

The most dangerous concept ever introduced in politics is the idea that the solution to any problem involving humans is simple.

The news today was full of the conditions under which Members of Parliament were going to be able to employ members of their family. For some MPs, in the past, having a spouse working as a researcher or secretary must have felt like sailing down the River Thames on a gravy boat. We hope they had good working relationships. It looks as if some families were able to spend their money wisely on second mortgages. But rules are approaching to break up the cosy set up.

Some family businesses, however, have immense problems with members of the family trying to treat the business as an extension of family life. The hallowed halls of Westminster must, we hope, have provided an atmosphere of quiet and conscientious deliberation.

The shock factor of the exposure of the extent to which some Members of Parliament were able feather their nest will impact on all our lives for years to come. We hope the next posse of Members of Parliament will govern with dignity and wholesome respect for their position.

One day we can expect parliament to look more closely at the eleven plus. Parliament may decide to do something about the eleven plus. Parliament may decide to pass the 'Eleven Plus Law'.

Law One
Just because public opinion has stopped us (parliament) working with members of our family, no child will be allowed to work with their mother, father or any other member of their family. (If this law seems strange think of all the other laws passed in the last fifty years by parliament.)

Law Two
Parents will not be able to talk about or share ideas about the eleven plus with other parents.(Some schools will not countenance any significant discussion on the eleven plus.)

Law Three
Any parent who asks the family doctor for any form of medication to help their child do well in the examination will be banned. (Appeals will be heard by the Law Courts of Europe. No child can be denied an education that he or she is worthy of.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eleven Plus and the Internet

When we look at some eleven plus questions it can seem that the nature and the content of the examination has changed very little. While some of the curriculum and some of the questions may seem to be outmoded at times, there has been a rapid explosion of ways and means in how children acquire eleven plus knowledge and understanding.

Margaret Mead,an anthropologist, remarked some sixty years ago that because of the fantastic rate of change in the world, children of five have already incorporated into their thinking ideas that most of their elders will never assimilate.

Today the Internet allows eleven plus children access to a wonderfully wide range of papers and ideas from all over the country. Children and parents do not need to rely on the local and favoured eleven plus teacher.

Perhaps one day there will be a rethink of the eleven plus that will take into account the manner and speed children learn.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eleven Plus Culture

In 1958, when the Eleven Plus was in the glory days of infancy, the Association of Teachers in Technical Institutions tried to effect far reaching changes.

The teachers did not want: "a limited culture dominated by the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome reflecting little of the achievements, the ideas and the philosophy of modern science."

The eleven plus was taking away some of the more able children. Some of the children in the less academic schools were, however, forced to learn the more academic subjects.

Today the eleven plus remains the pursuit of the academically able. It is also sad to note that science remains a low priority in the selection process of the eleven plus. Would our children be better served if the examination reflected the modern world we live in?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eleven Plus Barriers

Your eleven plus child is only ten years old. In another ten years he or she could be reading the following passage for pleasure. I came across this piece of informed something or other when I was looking for information about the middle years of the International Baccalaureate. Some of our eleven plus children will be studying the IB when they reach senior school. What I am a lot less certain of is how many children will opt for a study of `free space relativistic electrodynamics'.

The sourceless free-space (vacuum) Maxwell’s equations can be written
as [1, 2] ∂r ?E = −μ∂tH, ∂r ΧH = ε∂tE (1) where ε = ε0, μ = μ0 are the free-space (vacuum) parameters and are associated with the speed of light c = (ε0μ0)−1/2, and with the free space impedance for plane waves Z = (μ0/ε0)1/2. Applying the divergence operator ∂r?in (1) and assuming that ∂t∂r ?E = 0, ∂t∂r •H = 0 implies ∂r •E = 0, ∂r •H = 0, the remaining Maxwell equation. In (1) all fields, e.g., E = E(R) are dependent on the
spatiotemporal coordinates grouped as a Minkowski [3, 4, 2] four-space quadruplet in the form R = (r, ict) (2) which so far is only notational, without any further content.

At one level I know what some of the words mean: sourceless, parameters, impedance, divergence - and can guess at what spatiotemporal co-ordinates are, but I am not sure how these words and concepts link up. If any one can give some clue as to what a Minkowski four space quadruplet is, I would be very grateful.

This passage caught my eye because yesterday I worked with a boy who is just 9 years and 4 months old – but he will be sitting his eleven plus next year. We met one of those funny sections in non verbal reasoning where we had to complete the series. To arrive at the answer required many words and plenty of gesticulating and drawing of sketches. We got there in the end.

It would have been easy to give the answer but this boy wanted to `discover’ how to work the relationships himself. I had a sudden picture of him in the actual eleven plus examination becoming intrigued by a demanding eleven plus question – and forgetting the rest of the paper as he tried to solve the problem.

What lies ahead for this boy? He will hopefully go from grammar school to university. He may then want to study mathematics – or even become an engineer or follow some such career. One day he may even want to explain to his children how to apply a divergence operator.

The very quirk of his makeup that could drive him to academic excellence in his twenties and thirties may become little barriers in his eleven plus journey. Yet this is what keeps teachers relatively sane. When we work with a child who is very possible much brighter than we are, and displays a depth of thought that is truly astounding in a little nine year old, we can only feel privileged. What a lucky teacher he must have at school.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eleven Plus Needs

It is often quoted that there are three unconscious needs. These were stated years ago by the great psychologists and psychoanalysts Freud, Jung and Adler. The adults associated with today’s eleven plus children may find these needs a little self conscious – but that dos not mean that they are without foundation.

The first is to have a mother.

The second is to please mother and father.

The third is to be like father (This applies to girls as well as to boys – and in some cases more so.)

Mother of course, in eleven plus terms, is the peer group as well as all those at school. The family is also part of the loose term `mother’. A number of eleven plus children, however, are generally so strong and independent that they have the ability to go out and create their own `mother’ figure. The eleven plus experience gives the child the opportunity to be part of a large, shifting and amorphous group. There must, we hope, also be a sense of security. The children must be aware that they are competing against other children for a place in grammar school but they are sharing the same journey. There must also be a feeling of loss if the dream of a grammar school place does not materialise.

The drive to please mother and father must be strong. At times it may seem that the child is doing everything possible to upset mum and dad – but the need to be liked and loved must be powerful. “Do it for me!”

The third great unconscious need – to be like father - may, at first glance, to be a little more superficial. The drive is, however, remarkably strong and powerful. A little illustration may possibly help.

The eleven plus child completes a paper, without help and in a reasonable time. He or she show the paper to father.

One type of father will say: “It that all you did? Why did you not do better?”

A different type will offer: “Well done. There are a few questions for us to go over together. I am remarkably proud of the sustained effort you have made.

Parents will have their view points on each approach. There is no need to condemn the parents who keep asking for more from their children. There is also a time and a place for children who are over indulged.

We must all hope that common factor, in the eleven plus journey, is a powerful desire on the part of the child who is offering the completed eleven plus paper; to be recognised as a serious eleven plus candidate. At some stage or another most eleven plus children will turn to their mother for comfort and support. At other times the children will want to please their mother or father. And there must come a time when the eleven plus child wants to be able to do better than their mother or father.

There may, after all, be something in the psycho babble of one hundred years ago.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eleven Plus Arbitration

Every now and then, and hopefully not very often, the eleven plus child may feel inclined to throw a wobbler. Sensible and down to earth parents will watch, with interest - and a little concern - their child become more and more agitated. As the one sided tension builds, the concerned parents will feel that they are standing on the side of a cliff. The word `acrophobia’ springs to mind. “Oh dear, we are on the slippery slope,” could also enter the conscious. Of course the concept of `mixed metaphors’ can not apply when parents are aware that a `slight discussion’ is imminent.

To pre-empt a strike parents need to employ all their skills in negotiation. It is no good taking up a too rigid stance. There has to be some flexibility on both sides. Forward thinking parents will immediately bring into action the `Eleven Plus Parent Mantra’:


It is important that parents do not feel they have to react to a situation. They have to be ready. After all the signs must be there that a build up towards a problem is looming.

Collect the evidence. If the discussion is about a family matter – listen carefully. If the potential dispute is eleven plus related, look for clues as to what could be bringing the matter to a head.

Hear and assimilate suggestions from `the candidate’. Offer your own thoughts – after all negotiation does not need to be one sided.

As the discussion draws to an end, try to strike a bargain. Give a little bit here and a little bit there. Ask in return for a little bit here and a little bit there. Be prepared to volunteer a little bit more than was offered in the opening salvo.

If possible allow a little time for reflection. Ask your child, “What was all that about?”

“Mum, Dad, you know I like to take a hard line in negotiations. I tell you what. For once I will not use MSN to communicate. I will write a real letter, in my own hand, and post it to you. If the letter arrives before the weekend I will complete the paper. If, however, circumstances beyond my control prevent the delivery of my letter then I expect you to accede to my demands.”

“But dear, there is a postal strike on. How can your letter be delivered?”

“Too bad. You should have made alternative arrangements. Not even arbitration by an outside body will help. I am not going to complete the paper again. I have already done it once. So there!”

(No parent will take exception to this final remark. After all children also have to have the last word, sometimes!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An Eleven Plus Tale

It is Thursday today. This is a highly significant day in the annals of the eleven plus. It was on a Thursday, many aeons ago, that a girl was working towards her eleven plus. She did her mathematics conscientiously and worked hard at her verbal and non verbal reasoning. Her parents were very proud of her but worried that she was working so hard.

“What can we do to help?” asked the mother anxiously.

The bright and willing girl replied, “You have given me everything. I am so grateful. I am fine. Just let me do one more paper and then I will go to bed.”

That night, as she was going to sleep a fairy god mother spirited into the bedroom and asked: “What can we do to help?”

The girl was sleepy; after all she had completed three full papers that day, and murmured, “It would be wonderful if I could answer every question correctly.”

The fairy waved her glittering wand and vowed; “Tomorrow you will not need to worry. You will find the papers easy.”

The girl slipped happily into sleep. She felt secure in the knowledge that a promise is a promise.

She woke the next morning refreshed and ready for work. Her parents were astounded to see her skip down the stairs and chat merrily without any grumpy one word answers.
School was over, and the girl returned home. She hugged her anxious parents, agreed to a glass of milk, nibbled a piece of cold cod from the fridge (brain food you know) and ran singing up the stairs.

Her pencil flew over the papers. She had never felt better about her eleven plus and her prospects. The time went by in a flash. She even forgot to complain about the noise her little brother was making. She ran down stairs to her parents with her papers and the answers in her hand.

Her parents were sitting side by side on the couch in the lounge. They had sat their holding hands for comfort during the entire time their daughter had been upstairs working. To their everlasting joy every single answer was correct. There was no rubbing out or evidence of second thought. They were so proud of their daughter.

They turned to each other and said together: “I wish ..” They stopped and laughed. Two minds with but one thought. There turned to their daughter and asked her what they could do to help.

The girl was mindful of the fairy’s ability to deliver promises. She knew in her heart that she had had a warning.

Life was never going to be easy. She had to be sensible about the work she did. There was no need to overdo anything.

Time went by. She passed her eleven plus. She went to grammar school and then to university. She married and had two fine children. Her eldest daughter was due to take her eleven plus. Her eldest daughter was hard working and keen. One day her daughter turned to her and said: “I wish.”

The mother held up her hand to stop her daughter completing the wish. She knew in her heart that the last thing that was needed in the journey towards the eleven plus was pressure and an anxious face. She hugged her daughter, secure in the knowledge that the wheel had turned a full circle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little Green Men and the Eleven Plus

Our Eleven Plus system must be looked at with some interest by outsiders. Not only do we have different interpretations of our educational systems within schools but we also select some children to be taught in specialist academic schools. There is supposed to be an all embracing National Curriculum - designed to even out pressures on teachers and schools. Standards with schools seem to be climbing every year – and this rise presents more and more children with wonderful opportunities.

What would a Martian find if he or she arrived in a green space ship into an area where the eleven plus was offered?

The Martian would find some happy parents, secure in the knowledge that they had children who would be able to pass the examination – and then go onto to profit from an academic education. There could be other children who tried very hard – and still would not pass.

It is difficult to know if a Martian, approaching the problem of the eleven plus and grammar schools, would opt for a wholesale re-introduction of a much castigated system of education.

There may still be a few children who would love their eleven plus preparation to be carried out by little green men.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

EBay and the Eleven Plus

I read about `Concert Hands’ today. The £6000.00 system includes wrist pilots that help beginners – and the more advanced – to memorise a piece of music in just a few steps. The wrist pilots guide the fingers over the keys.

Can’t you see this in eleven plus terms? Your child puts on a magic wrist band, holds his hand over the paper – and the wrist pilot takes over. Your child could complete a whole paper in less than fifteen minutes! What a saving of time. What a saving of emotion. What a pleasure.

After the eleven plus is over you could sell the `Eleven Plus Band’ on EBay. Think of the bidding as next year’s examination grows closer!

Will there ever be a free market for used eleven plus materials? Will one day families rush to collect bundles of cheap and used books?

EBay Adverts could include:

Used Eleven Plus papers for sale.

Slightly written on NFER papers. Pencil marks only. A good rubber will remove all traces of previous user. Some sections have no writing.

A full set of the Bond Verbal Reasoning and mathematics papers. The set starts with the verbal reasoning papers 7-8 year olds – and ending up with the 11- 12 papers. Some books are hardly used.

A comprehensive collection of free eleven plus papers. Many of the papers have the answers worked out – making it easier for you and your child.

The most expensive part of the second hand eleven plus used paper market could be the post and packaging. With post and packaging at an average £2.75, parents could soon be snapping up bargains.

A set of slight used NFER mathematics papers at only £4.00. Full worked answers for an extra £2.30. All answers checked and verified by both parents. (There were arguments over Question 30 because there is more than one way of solving the problem.)

If the market does grow then there could be opportunities for parents to look out the eleven plus papers and exercises they worked through. Copies of rare editions could add premium prices! Bidding wars on EBay could start.

A boxed set of 1987 verbal reasoning. Used by Dad for grammar school – and then by the son last year. The papers were kept in the attic by the dad’s mother until her grandson was approaching the eleven plus. A quote from the grand mother: “My grandson has done better on the papers that his dad, my son, did.” Only £4.50 and p and p for just £2.75.

In the end you do offer an EBay bundle.

One slightly used `Eleven Plus Band’ and a pile of slightly used eleven plus papers.

Bidding needs to start at £ ……..

Any takers?

Monday, October 19, 2009

How do Eleven Plus Children Learn?

Why can’t elements of eleven plus tuition be provided by a home shopping channel? Children are used to fast moving action on the screen. By the time they have reached ten years old they are likely to have watched a variety of powerful adverts.

Home shopping channels appeal to basic human instincts. You either love them or hate them. The goods and the "hard sell" is fast, informative and compelling.

Picture a one minute presentation aiming at reducing a fraction to lowest terms in only one minute. There would need to be a carefully researched script, unforgettable music and an easily memorisable `Lowest Terms’ jingle.

Your child would walk to his or her bedroom humming a passionate song:

“Lowest terms
Lowest terms
Divide the top and the bottom by the same number
Lowest terms
Lowest terms."

Would your child prefer a little Beethoven? Should the top rated `Lowest Terms’ be sung as a lullaby or a hip hop? Would a rap do it for your child?

It would be fun to try a little experiment. You may need to ask a few friends around for a fractions party. After a ten year old version of pass the parcel and large slices of birthday cake, spilt the children up into groups.

Group 1
One minute of a paper and pencil presentation of lowest terms.

Group 2
An explosive jingle `Lowest Terms’ – with full sight and sound.

Group 3
Ask this group to spend a minute reading a mathematics book.

Arrange to have the children back again to test their recall. Which group would remember how to do `Lowest Terms’?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An Eleven Plus Victory

It is generally considered to be a sign of weakness. Real men do not it. Reading a book of instructions is not considered to be `manly’. It is much easier to simply follow common sense in the knowledge that `it will come right in the end’.

This rush of blood came about because I was almost forced to read the instruction for a `BT Access Manager’. This is a piece of software that is needed to install an E170. An E170 HSPA is a USB stick. Information guide, a little book about 6cms by 6 cms, has 12 pages of instructions .The safety information is covered in detail pages 13, 14, 15 and 16. The main points covered include:

Do not use your wireless device when it will cause danger to electrical devices.

Avoid inflammables and explosives.

Do not use your wireless device while driving. (A bit difficult when it is attached to a lap top.)

Do not allow small children to swallow the components.

Promote recycling to protect the environment.

Eleven Plus safety instructions could include:

Remember to say please when asking for urgent help.

Do not tackle papers after `words’.

Read all instructions twice.

If the male members of the family do have to concede defeat on a question – and thereby ask, or even plea, for help - then you need to make a point of reading the instructions twice, work out how to answer the questions and then say repeatedly:

“There you are. I told you so. Read the instructions.”

“There you are. I told you so. Read the instructions.”

“There you are. I told you so. Read the instructions.”

“There you are. I told you so. Read the instructions.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eleven Plus Answers

Some eleven plus examination boards require a story.

If parents are asked to explain a simple punctuation rule then usually a straightforward and unembellished answer is all that is needed. Naturally a range of explanations will help to clarify the rule. All that parents will expect from that stage onwards is the hope, and expectation, that their child will remember the rule – and apply it when necessary.

Other explanations may require a broader elaboration of meaning. Suppose the eleven plus candidate is asked for a justification of the need for speed cameras. (Should speed cameras be outside all schools?) To explain this would demand a far more sophisticated answer. Parents would then need to try to relate their answer to their child’s current understanding of the rules of the road, different types of speed cameras and whether the word `outside’ means literally that or in close proximity.

I heard recently of a man with seven previous convictions for speeding – but had `gone straight’ after attending a speed awareness course. It is then up to the parent to rule on whether this is relevant to the question. It may be more desirable, however, for the child to make the decision – after having `talked it through’.

Questioning can be used to promote many different types of thinking. Indeed asking and answering question is usually regarded as a higher level cognitive skill. A question can be a quick check to make that the child is paying attention to the punctuation explanation or can be the starting point for real and sustained dialogue and discussion.

Question and Answer 1
“Have you completed your paper?”

“Yes thank you. I finished ahead of time too.”

Question and Answer 2
“Have you completed your paper?”

“Yes, thank you, but I had trouble with Number 34. That the type where FG is to RS as JK is to ….. You remember we did them together. I tried to count on in the way we said – but the answer book shows that I made a mistake. Can we go over them again, please?”

It would be wonderful if a simple question could lead to a higher level answer which displayed reasoning and evaluation. Some parents, however, may have to put up with an answer couched in more simple terms.

Question and Answer 3
“Have you completed your paper?”

“Yes. Can I have something to eat please?”

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eleven Plus and the Wear Out

A remark that sometimes made in eleven plus circles:

“This is wearing out my brain.”

For most of us the items that appear to wear out with terrifying rapidity are our tyres. Years ago motorists were told to rotate their tyres to increase wear – but today we are warned that this can be counter productive.

Discuss tyre pressures with your eleven plus child – after all `you never know . . . . . It might come up . . . . . .” Talk about keeping the tyres balanced – as this is supposed to maintain the health of the tyre. Then think of some tyre related questions.

Grand dad is still a little old fashioned. He bought a new car two years ago and it is his pride and joy. He keeps his spare tyre in his car. He did not want one of those funny little skinny tyres. He wanted the real thing – a tyre he could use if he got a puncture. (The garage had to take the thin reddish looking tyre out of the car and order a special wheel and tyre for grand dad.)

Over the last two years he has driven 10 000 miles. He rotated the tyres at intervals, so that by the end of the period each tyre had been used for the same number of miles. For how many miles was each tyre used?

Grandmother thinks that he has gone a little loose in the head – but she puts up with his idiosyncrasies. Sometimes she is not sure why. She is, however, an ex head teacher so knows a thing or two about education and the eleven plus.

“How many miles did the car travel?”

“Ten thousand. It said so.”

“How many tyres were there?”


“If each tyre had been used for four fifths of the journey, how many miles did each tyre travel?”

“Eight thousand miles.”

“How did you do that?”

“Easy. One fifth of ten thousand is two thousand. so four fifths is two thousand times four.”

“Why did we use four fifths?”

“There were five tyres – but there can be only four in use at one time. The other tyre is a spare so it stays in the boot.”

Of course every parent will now be on full alert. A spare tyre? Dear, oh dear! Back to the gym. Back to swimming. Sack the tutor. Engage that rather dishy personal trainer at the club. The spare tyre around your waist is one tyre that you do want to wear out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eleven Plus Choices

What do parents look for in an eleven plus tutor?

A bit of experience.

“No, Mrs. Borthwick, Your child is my first eleven plus pupil. I am so excited. We are going to go on a wonderful journey. This is going to be good!”

“I have been tutoring eleven plus children for eleven years. All my children have passed the eleven plus. Your son will need to work hard and keep his mouth shut. I do not like children who talk back.”

The ability to raise standards.

“We are going to do all sorts of work together,. This is going to be such fun. We will need to read some books together to develop your vocabulary.”

“We will start at the beginning and go to the end. These are the books I use. I don’t want your child to do anything else. You must do what I say or I will stop the classes.”

A cost effective solution

“Payment in advance, please. £.. an hour.”

“Payment in advance, please. £.. an hour.”

Build Confidence

“I am going to try to help you to well at school as well as in the eleven plus. Bring any problems from school to your lessons and we can work on them together. If you do any additional work at home, and have any difficulty, please let me know.”

“My goal is the eleven plus. You work through these books and papers and you should pass. Now pay attention. Do your work. Don’t expect any favours.”

Parents and children will respond to different styles of relationships between teachers, parents and pupils. Not every teacher sets out to be sweetly nice to their pupils. They have a job to do and expect respect and high standards. Other teachers may adopt a different style.

“You pays your money and you takes your choice.”

My Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 1964, suggests the phrase comes from a quotation from Punch in 1846. The phrase, apparently, is derived from a ancient peep show rhyme. The word `peep’ may be taken from the Greek – to stare at. There is also an allusion, however, to when the word peep is used to describe hiding or skulking from creditors.

Of course we know what happened to the tailor who peeped at Lady Godiva as she rode through Coventry – yes, you are right, the tailor had his eyes dug out by the Earl.

All this to say – every now and then take a peep into the lesson – and see how happy and involved your child is. If you are not happy then you know what to do. Do it and don’t hold back.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wasting Eleven Plus Time

Your eleven plus child has promised to forswear any use of any games console for the duration of the eleven plus. This is not a sanction that you brought about – it is simply your child responding to the market forces of the eleven plus. Pleas of: “All work and no play” fall onto deaf ears. Your child needs to mature and settle down to serious and sustained effort.

This jargoned approach to the problem of encouraging your child to work in an environment of endeavour and ennoblement requires some toys to be hidden until the examination is over. “Do we really have to throw away my Wii? We only bought it at Christmas?”

“No dear, we are `lending’ it – with the sports pack – to Auntie Harry. She wants to try to get her weight down and I know that you really want to work hard this year. You will get it back again after the examination. We are only going to discard your old games consoles.”

“Oh mother, I do know how to cope with the re-cycling element.”

“First of all we have to decide if my old consoles have reached the end of their useful life.

We also need to go to our local Recycling Centre to see their permits or licences from the Environment Agency.

We need to make sure that we are able to have proof of what happens to the consoles after their disposal.

I am sure that the batteries will be dealt with properly. We don’t want any hazardous waste.”

“Look dear. It is not worth the effort. Just keep playing your games. We won’t interfere with you. We can do your eleven plus work nearer to the examinations.”

“Oh Mum!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eleven Plus Questions and Answers

There must have been a number of influences working in the minds of the original pioneers of the eleven plus.

It does seem possible that the work of a man called Roberts, who in 1940 tried to find evidence of intelligence, may have contributed to the early pre eleven plus debate. He tested 3400 children of school age. He looked at the siblings of the top 4% and the dullest 4%.

He found that 63% of the siblings of the brightest were bright. 6.6% were dull.

3.7% of the siblings of the dullest were bright and 56.3% were dull.

We do not need to replicate these tests today. All we need to do is to find 3400 grandmothers.

Question: Are all your grandchildren as bright as each other?

Answer: Of course they are. Little Chloe, who is only two, is going to be the brightest of the lot.

Question: Will any of your grandchildren pass the eleven plus?

Answer: Of course. My son did, my daughter did and all their children will pass.

Question: Who is the most intelligent person in your family?

Answer: What an impertinent question. I am of course.

These question and answers will not provide a satisfactory basis for any current discussions about the eleven plus. They will show, however, that it is almost impossible to forecast that because one member of the family has won a place in a grammar school, it does not necessarily follow that all the rest will. Parents are remarkably resilient, however, and will keep trying to do their best.

(The grandmother mentioned above may possibly have been a highly respected member of the community – and a demon at bridge as well as a tough tennis opponent. You just never can tell.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eleven Plus Opinions

You must sometimes wonder why your eleven plus child seems to have opinions on virtually everything under the sun. I am afraid that the answer lies in history. We may need to blame Quintilian.

It was Quintilian who felt that the ideal orator was a good man skilled in speech. He thought that no other human type was conceivable. (What would he have thought of a morose teenager?)

He pointed out that man is superior to animals in virtue and speech. He broadened this to maintain that distinctive excellence needed eloquence and reason. He felt that the complete man was an orator and that a philosopher, by comparison, was essentially inferior.

He felt that instruction for children must be adapted to the age of the child. He preached that the fact that a subject can not be completely learned is no reason for not teaching it. Quintilian wanted wise teachers to recognise peculiarities of talent and make choices of subject in order to teach the more able effectively. He felt that the gifted, or those good at oratory, needed good all round development.

Today’s parents may, sometimes, be faced with an outspoken eleven plus child. If Quintilian, however, is correct then as soon as a child gets up on his or her soap box - and produces evidence of skills in oratory – we need to take notice.

Let us explore how we can apply Quintilian’s laws to our present day situation.

We need to allow eleven plus children to be able to argue and debate a point.

(We just have to make sure that they do not overwhelm us and win any major points>)

The work we give to eleven plus children must be reasonably fair and appropriate.

(Is this fair? A clock gains three seconds every three quarters of an hour. It is set right at nine thirty one day. What time will the clock show at five thirty on the next day?)

We need to be able offer hard and demanding work.

(We know that we can revise the work closer to the examination.)

We have to be able to recognise and appreciate some bizarre statements.)

(After all we were young once too.)

A good all round education must encompass more than the eleven plus.

(Oh dear. It is so easy for the eleven plus to take over the lives of full families.)

If any child does come up with a good rant – please share it with us. We promise we won’t smile but will respect the oratory with the dignity it deserves.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eleven Plus Gifts

Selecting an eleven plus teacher is an important decision for parents. After all, their child’s future can hang in the balance.

An American called Beale, back in 1936, describe a contract teachers had to sign.

“I promise to take a vital interest; donating my time, service and money without stint for the benefit of the community. I promise to abstain from all dancing, immodest dressing and other conduct unbecoming a teacher and a lady. I promise not to fall in love, to become engaged or secretly married. I promise to sleep at least eight hours a night, to eat carefully, and to take every precaution to keep in the best of health and spirits in order that I may be better able to render efficient service to my pupils.”

If any parent can coerce their eleven plus teacher to sign this pact – please let us know!

Back in the days when the eleven plus examination was beginning to play a wider part in the lives of communities, a writer, Synnberg, in 1948, wrote about different pressures put onto teachers.

“Despite tenure, regardless of contracts, many teachers live in a state of perpetual insecurity. They are fearful of the principal, of the head of department, of examiners, of tests and their failure to reach teaching norms. Some of them are afraid of their students.”

The eleven plus tutor can sometimes be in a delicate position. Some children, however well prepared by the school and the parents, can not bring themselves to `try their best’. The child, for example, may bring up that the teacher had spoken sharply or had not explained how to do the work. A natural reaction from any parent would be to blame the teacher.

We would like think that most eleven plus teachers want to be liked and respected by their pupils. Eleven plus teachers, like all other teachers, will presumably, want to feel a sense of professional accomplishment. If we were to try to develop a contract between the eleven plus family and the eleven plus tutor we could start with a simple statement from the teacher. This could then be developed.

I would like you to like me.
If I do something that you do not like, please let me know.

I will do my best to help you.
You must do your best to help yourself.

If I do something and you do not understand, please let me know.
If you do something that I do not understand, please can we talk about it?

Some parents may also be willing to sign up to this credo. Some parents may want to add a little more:

I would prefer you to sleep eight hours a night.
You must be aware that you are a special person with special gifts – and you need to work very hard towards the examination.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Eleven Plus Ambition

Parents may need to remind themselves at times that they are working towards the eleven plus because they think that their child has talent and ability.

Most parents approaching the eleven plus experience for the first time will be enthused with good will and good intentions. Along with this dream come excitement, elation and feelings of inspiration.

If your daughter or son has talent then you want him or her to fulfil his or her potential. As parents start on the eleven plus journey they will be aware of the need to collect vast quantities of information along the way.

Of course with so many available books, papers, lessons and courses, parents may think that they are missing something. Some parents may even feel a sense of compulsion. “I must collect as many papers as possible in case we miss some vital question that is located in some obscure paper.”

All that most parents can achieve is some form of approximation of the type of work that is needed for their child. It will be impossible for most parents to cover every type of question in great detail. Their bright eleven plus child may remark calmly: “Relax mum, dad it is in the bag.”

One commodity, however, that most parents struggle to enjoy – is time. Time, in eleven plus terms, is remorseless.

Eleven Plus Consistency

Children sometimes feel put upon. An apparently bright eleven plus candidate may feel that too much is being demanded of him. A slight touch of resentment may creep into the dialogue. The dramatic eleven plus call goes out: “Why can you not be more consistent?” (Some parents may abbreviate this to: “Why can’t you be more consistent?”)

It is not hard to imagine that looking at a non verbal reasoning question can call into account nearly all the senses. The question may have a non verbal intent – but may need at least some of the senses to be alive and alert before the question is fulfilled.

Part of the reason why children can answer non verbal reasoning questions is that intrinsic perception of the shapes on the page calls for perception. The perception of brightness, colour, shape, size and number of items must all play a part. Perception in turn relies on many physiologically determined events. Fatigue, hunger, thirst, anger can all affect the senses in almost the same way that ambition and the desire to win must play a part.

We all, however, have individual differences. Furthermore on some days desire and emotions may play a large part. It must be incredibly hard to manufacture intelligence. It must be much easier if the child is guided towards desire and emotion.

It is not hard to see why desire must be near the top of any eleven plus attribute list. Having a good feeling about attempting a wide range of different eleven plus exercises must be aided by a drive towards ambition.

The total eleven plus child therefore has at least some of these attributes:

Ability and a desire to do well.

Of course parents will attempt to control the environment by being pleasant and encouraging. Parents will also try to make sure that their child is well fed and watered. Of course parents can not wish intelligence onto their child – but they can try to awaken a sense of ambition.

Clearly, however, parents can not hope to achieve consistency unless the vital ingredient of co-operation is offered by their child.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Eleven Plus Prospects

Politicians have become more accountable in recent times. We now know what they earn from their various ventures into public life. We also know what they spend their money on.

Teachers are also more accountable these days because of the introduction of school based tests. One result is that some teachers have had intolerable pressure put on them to reach certain prescribed standards. From what we read in the papers some highly gifted teachers have chosen to leave the profession. It is not only the weak teachers who have been pilloried and held up.

Back in Zimbabwe, in the early days, a child was judged to be ready to read when one of his or her front teeth had fallen out. This offered reading readiness. In parts of British West Africa, years ago, a child was thought to be ready for education when he or she could reach over their head with their right hand and touch the left shoulder.

Can you picture the scene? A white coated doctor, from a famous teaching hospital, peering into the mouths of prospective eleven plus candidates, and counting teeth: “Yes, you are ready to go to grammar; you have the required number of molars.”

Some parents would immediate react by ensuring that their children had the required number of teeth – with one spare one in case something happened. Other parents would maintain that their child should be able to pass the eleven plus without any extra care to their teeth. “Yes dear, I don’t mind if Jane’s mum makes Jane brush her teeth thirteen times a day. You only need to brush yours after meals. That is enough.”

The 11+ tests are designed to categorise children into pass or fail situations. (Some children even have to enter the `Never Never Land’ of being: “Nearly got a place. On the waiting list!” We know that Never Never land was where Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys Lived. Thank goodness that J.M. Barrie wrote the book before the introduction of the eleven plus. We might have had the Fairies bringing the Lost Boys to Never Land where they had to work on verbal reasoning papers – as well as be poor lost orphans.

One very big problem with the eleven plus is that the examination is on a set day at a set time. It requires considerable effort on the part of parents to bring their child to a peak on the right day, at the right time. If a child is not doing all that well then he or she may simply be in the middle of a development stage. Think of the worry you would have to entertain if you were aware that your child was just arriving at a `learning spurt’ while the eleven plus examinations were taking place.

One of the reasons for having eleven plus tests is that the tests are supposed to be predictive in nature. A child that passes the eleven plus – and has a place in a grammar – is therefore likely to leave school with good `A’ level results.

A prediction, however, is no more than a guess. For some children the guess will be an intelligent guess – but for others the guess will need to be treated with caution.

After all, if your child is `away with the fairies’ on the day of the examination, then you may need to adopt the persona of that dreaded character in Peter Pan – the awful Captain Hook. You may need all his devious and underhand methods at your disposal as you try to prepare an appeal for your child. Can you imagine the appeal board looking at YOU and wondering if you can tap your head and rub your stomach at the same time? (All eleven plus parents know that this is the criteria for a successful appeal.)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Eleven Plus Maze

For years psychologists have used rats and mazes to study problems. One important experiment with rats was to see if maze learning ability could be passed by heredity to successive generations of rats. The plan was that learning could be passed onto successive generations.

Sadly for eleven plus children the maze learning experiment did not work. Imagine if the wisdom, experience and ability of parents to be able to cope successfully with eleven plus papers could be passed successfully onto their children?

There were, however, other experiments with rats, adults and children. The general finding was that rats adults and children did about as well as each other in learning similar mazes.

Many of us when trying one of the famous, and not so famous, mazes will adopt a hit or miss process. Able children and adults reported visualising, planning and reasoning to find their way out.

The first was trying to verbalise the steps to leave the maze – “left one, right two, left three”.

The second was trying to build a visual picture.

The third was motor learning – rather like a hit or miss method.

Of course the most successful was the verbal method.

If you hear your child muttering under his or her breath while trying to solve a complex eleven plus problem – you know that your child is likely to be on the right lines.

If your child closes his or her eyes in the middle of an exercise he or she is either trying to visualize the problem – or is falling asleep.

If your child suddenly, and in desperation, offers up a selection of unrelated answers then you know that a hit or miss method is being used.

Suggest ever so gently to your child that to achieve eleven plus results he or she needs first of all to look ahead and plan the answer. Make the point that hit or miss methods will not always work successfully.

Tell your child that planning and reasoning is a sign of intelligence.

There is, however, a moral in this story. The next time you are driving towards an unfamiliar location and you start to feel lost you need to consult your partner in sweet and normal tones. Do not suddenly start attempting to reach your destination in a hit or miss manner. It would be far better to verbalise your thoughts.

“At the next junction I am going to turn right, and then left after missing two roads. Stop that. Do not argue. I will then turn right and my friend’s house should be on the right. If you don’t stop that you will be invited to walk the rest of the way. You must never ever call your brother a little rat.”

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Eleven Plus Schedule

We used to have seven cats – all at the same time. Some were acquired, some acquired us. P.G. Woodhouse maintained: “Cats, as a class, have never completely got over the snootiness caused by the fact that in ancient Egypt they were worshipped as gods.”

When you are trying to work out your weekly work schedule with your eleven plus child you may do well to remind your child of Stephen Baker’s poem about cats.


Monday: Sleeping and eating
Tuesday: Sleeping and eating
Wednesday: Sleeping and eating
Thursday: Sleeping and eating
Friday: Sleeping and eating
Saturday: Sleeping and eating
Sunday: Sleeping and eating

We can easily adapt this into an Eleven Plus schedule – from a reluctant child’s point of view.


Monday: Eleven Plus Work and surviving
Tuesday: Eleven Plus Work and surviving
Wednesday: Eleven Plus Work and surviving
Thursday: Eleven Plus Work and surviving
Friday: Eleven Plus Work and surviving
Saturday: Eleven Plus Work and surviving
Sunday: Eleven Plus Work and surviving

These words have a kind of melancholy ring. Charles Dickens wrote in Oliver Twist about a little boy who escaped the work house – and went on to better himself. We all hope that none of today’s eleven plus children will ever have to suffer the pain and misfortune that Oliver had to cope with.

The eleven plus is supposed to be a fabulous journey full of endeavour, excitement and a strong sense of fulfilment as the odds are beaten. We therefore need a more uplifting eleven plus hymn.


Monday: Stimulating Eleven Plus Work
Tuesday: Stimulating Eleven Plus Work
Wednesday: Stimulating Eleven Plus Work
Thursday: Stimulating Eleven Plus Work
Friday: Stimulating Eleven Plus Work
Saturday: Stimulating Eleven Plus Work
Sunday: Stimulating Eleven Plus Work

Why not ask your child for an apposite refrain? After all you and your children are also progeny of the Gods. Nothing half hearted please.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Eleven Plus Fears

It only happens very occasionally – but when it does occur it is a bit of a shock. Who could imagine that a bright, alert and loving eleven plus child could actually grumble, every so slightly, about doing an eleven plus exercise?

We know that the fear of the unknown can cause tension.

Back during the First World War there was a wide spread rumour that Russian soldiers, with snow on their boots, were marching through England. The story goes that even the Germans believed the tale – and altered their plans accordingly.

H.G. Wells wrote the War of the Worlds. Orson Welles broadcast a radio program based on this book in 1938 which caused widespread panic and fear. Radio listeners were terrified to hear that the Martians were coming.

There are of course other dramatic stories and events, associated with stress that have affected mankind. We know, for example, how easy it is to transfer our stress to our dogs. A dog will alter his behaviour and even break down when the stress levels climb too high.

As the dog begins to exhibit signs of stress it is evident that there will be changes in patterned behaviour. A dog, for example, may start barking a little more often than usual. It is not hard to imagine that a dog’s resistance to stress can be lowered by factors like fatigue or drugs.

To avoid stress parents and children have to temper the eleven plus experience with a little circumspect caution. Some examples:

Don’t believe everything you hear or see about the dates of the examination and the content of the papers. (The stories may have been originated by Martians.)

Don’t let your child stay up too late at night and this become over fatigued.

If you hear a story that the new style eleven plus examinations have been set by Russians – simply apply a little caution. (Even if the Russians have snow on their feet.)

If your child starts grumbling a little more often – try not to bark at your child too much – but think of ways of covering the work without stress.

It is highly responsible of parents to fear the unknowns of the eleven plus experience. It is possible much less satisfactory if those same parents are responsible for passing their fears onto their children.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Eleven Plus Words

When our eleven plus children are working through verbal reasoning exercises they keep meeting a heritage of words from our ancient past.

Find a similar word:

After a brief interval the combat was resumed.


Combat - from Middle French combattre, and from Latin - combattere
Fight – Old English - feohtan to fight
Game – Old English gamen
Dispute - from Old French desputer and from Latin disputare examine, discuss, argue
Argument - French argument and from Latin argumentum, from arguere to argue

Just a thought – to pass the eleven plus – and pass with flying colours – it seems that some knowledge of Latin, Old English and Old French is required. The word `game’ for example was also used by the Goths – and we can all remember the consequences of the Huns, the Goths and the Vandals sweeping through parts of England.

Does this mean that a child faced with similar questions over five hundred years ago could have passed his or her eleven plus? The children may have struggled a little because William Caxton, the printer, worked on the Canterbury Tales rather than `The Official Twenty One Types of Verbal Reasoning – with special sections dealing with the Official Fifteen verbal reasoning types’. The printing press had not been invented when Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales.

When the first Eleven Plus primers were written fifty years ago the internet had not yet been invented. When Tim Berners-Lee saw the opportunity for communication through the web – back in 1989 – I wonder if he thought of the use that today’s parents and children would be making of the internet.

How many of our truly bright eleven plus children would be able to find the correct answer to this question?

Find a similar word:

After a brief interval the combat was resumed.

Feohtan, gamen, disputare, arguere

Please let us know. Some children must be able to work out at least part of the answer.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Eleven Plus Multiple Choice Questions

How are you going to help your child recognise how to do multiple choice questions? The answer is you set some rules.

Read the question and try to decide if the question is identifying something you know something about. This could help.

Don’t expect an expert eleven plus examiner to give away the answer. You, and your eleven plus child, may have to work for you answer.

Look closely at the question and try to see if there is any superfluous or irrelevant detail.

Are there any negatives in the question?

Can you recognise, and find, the distracters easily?

Can you bear to reject the obvious distracters?

How your child will remember the five points to identify the five key words


This then shortens down to:



G S N D R.

Try a few challenging questions together. Apply the five point rule. See if anything helps.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Eleven Plus and Pressure

Past and present eleven plus parents know all about pressure. Some will claim that their children can take the examination in their stride - while other parents will be faced by their children feeling miserable under pressure. The great majority of children will admit to feeling worried - but will not display any external symptoms of pressure.

In a few years time our bright and and eleven plus children will be older and faced with examinations at university. The recent report on the BBC about drugs being used to help study is terrifying.

In some eleven plus areas there is immense pressure on parents and children to win a place at the local grammar school. The BBC report "Students could face Dope Tests" suggests that older students could be tested for traces of drugs.

Think of an desperate eleven plus mother. "I will just give a little Ritalin to make sure he does as well as possible. It will calm him down. I know he worries."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Eleven Plus Development

Many discussions on the effect of the eleven plus examination on children will be drawn to how ready the children are to take the examination. Years ago Piaget outlined three main stages of thought:

1. Non Operational (Birth to two years) or sensory motor stage;
2. Pre Operational (Two to seven years);
3. a. Operational (Seven to eleven years) stage of concrete operations;
b. Formal Operations (twelve years and over).

Naturally some children will be ahead and others behind.

Stage One describes children who can not answer questions because they do not understand the principles involved.

Stage Two is a transitional stage – with grouping so sometimes answers are correct and on other occasions the children will make mistakes.

Stage Three is for children who give a correct response and show by their explanations that they have a firm grasp of the concepts involved.

Piaget was not writing about the eleven plus – he was born in Switzerland back in 1896 – long before the eleven plus was a twinkle in the eye. What he did do was provide a developmental approach to education – which is very different from the way that our present eleven plus tests look at children.

We naturally presume that most, but not all, of the children sitting purposefully for the eleven plus examination will have reached National Curriculum Level 4 – and some will even cope comfortably with National Curriculum Level Five work.

The link between Piaget and the ever changing National Curriculum must be tenuous.
I wonder, however, if it is possible to presume that some eleven plus questions require children to show that they have developed to the stage that Piaget called `Formal Operations’?

Scientist is to Laboratory as Surgeon is to ……

What about?

The (filly, child, cashier) put the (money, beer, silk) in the (bucket, case, till).

My 1932 `New Standard Encyclopaedia’ describes Teaching as:

The work of teaching offers an attractive career for both men and women. The salary is reasonably good, the hours are not over long, and the holidays are longer than in most occupations.

Not all teachers will agree with these sentiments – even though they are presented as facts in the encyclopaedia. Not all parents will agree with the limits of development argued by Piaget – because, undoubtedly, any true eleven plus candidate will swoop through the stages. Not all eleven plus writers will attempt to offer questions that require explanation – so beloved by Piaget. Some eleven plus questions just require a logical and thoughtful approach.

Find a name in this set of words:

He is just in time.

Don’t you wish that sometimes that some eleven plus questions require a bit more formal thought?