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.