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Friday, November 13, 2009

Eleven Plus and the Contribution of Parents

Your eleven plus child will be tested in a variety of ways before the actual eleven plus examination. Parents will often initiate the testing themselves – and not rely on the expertise of others.

Some questions may be looking for knowledge. Questions can look at general points or attempt to make a judgement on a single detail.

Other questions try to find out if your child understands the material or the situation. Questions based on comprehension will often try to take for granted that your child has knowledge of what is being tested, the questions are therefore looking at performance.

Other questions will try to see if your child can apply what has been learnt or studied.

A different type of question looks at the ability to analyse. Here there questioner tries to take for granted that your child has some understanding of the subject – and can also apply what has been learnt.

Some questions will attempt to make a synthesis of what has been learnt. These questions can combine more than one type of answer.

A final type is called evaluation by most professionals in the subject. Evaluation can be made on the basis of evidence – like evidence of being able to apply logic or make a judgement or draw a conclusion.

So here lies the challenge or children. If there are many types of eleven plus questions – how is a ten year old supposed to be able to demonstrate both application and ability in an actual examination? The advantage the eleven plus child has is that there is very likely to be lots of intelligence at his or her command.

Here lies a little challenge for parents, if they so wish. Discuss, with your child, the different types of questions outlined above. Ask your child to try to work out which category the following question falls into:

If all the letters of the word MEDICAL were removed from the alphabet, what would be the seventh letter of the alphabet?

It is likely that knowledge is involved – along with comprehension and application of a rule. The more abstract concepts of synthesis and evaluation play a much smaller part. The question only needs to be phrased slightly differently to force the eleven plus child to adopt a different approach.

Parents with their wisdom and experience being so much greater than that of their children, will want to consolidate the time and effort their children put into eleven plus work. If parents can help their children to try to evaluate some their answers then this important contribution could make the difference between a pass and fail.

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