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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eleven Plus and Finding Answers to Questions

We are now in the world of the eleven plus with a nine year old girl. Her grandmother says that she is, `Nine going on twenty nine.” Her teacher said that the girl can do work at the eleven year old level. There is a general feeling at school and at home that the girl is bright and able.

She has done a battery of tests at school – and they show very good verbal reasoning ability. Is this enough evidence for the girl to pass the eleven plus? Sadly, no. Possibly yes! For any test we can only say that the girl showed excellent ability on that particular test, which does not mean that she will pass the eleven plus.

Her parents, however, need to be able to draw some conclusions. They know that there is sometimes a flurry of moving houses just before the eleven plus. They have heard that this could be caused by anxious parents wanting to make sure that they live in the right catchment area.

Her parents take a blank sheet of paper – and sit down with their heads in their hands.

Is my daughter bright enough to go to grammar school and, do well?

Can she function consistently at the level of girls we know are already in the local grammar school?

Could she miss a year and still go to grammar school?

Will she do well in a grammar school environment?

Will her mathematics be strong enough to be able to stand up to the rigors of grammar school pressure?

Will the eleven plus test that she takes actually measure her reasoning ability?

Can she translate her excellent reading skills into understanding the intent of the more complex verbal reasoning skills?

Just because our nine girl can think and behave like an eleven year old (hence the teacher’ remark) or will she actually struggle with the work of an eleven year old?

Could she miss a class at school because she is a bit bored with school?

Will the house prices change?

Is redundancy nigh?

How quickly can we exit the world of the eleven plus?

Who can answer my questions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The question is not necessarily '' Is this a bright child who will do well in a grammar school? '' If only it was that simple.

Of course I am not a professional in this eleven plus stuff. I'm just a parent of a Bexley child who finds that in a grammar school area such as Bexley things are more complicated than this. Lets compare the predicament of Bexley parents with Bromley parents for example.

Because Bromley has only 2 grammars (often referred to as super selective) parents who are keen for their children to go to grammar school are able to sit the 11+ for their own super selective school and throw in Kent and Bexley for good measure, just to be on the safe side.

If your little girl passes lets say Bexley she happily skips of to the grammar school and lives happily ever after.
On the other hand should she not pass any of the tests this would by no means be a disaster. Bromley only has few grammars. A large proportion of very able children will end up in so called all ability schools or comps. Our bright little girl would probably end up in a high stream and do very well at school.

These parents have 2 bites of the cherry. Pass any of the neighbouring boroughs and go to grammar or don't and go to good local all ability school.

In Bexley on the other hand the scenario is rather different. Pass and be spoiled for choice, especially living in the South of the Borough where most of the grammars are situated, the world is your oyster...
But if you don't pass you the alternatives are rather grim.

We are in a grammar area and the comp alternatives are not doing well at all, in fact performance of these schools is so poor one doesn't even want to think about it...some are referred to as failing and have been put in to special measures, not very promising is it?...

I can only answer your question with another question '' Will she do well in a grammar?''
I honestly don't know... But I do know she will do better in a school where children are proud of their achievements, where working hard is ''cool ''and where a lot of different opportunities are on offer than in a failing school where it doesn't really matter to much if you leave without qualifications, behaviour is poor, the majority of children have no aspirations and the academic subjects on offer are limited.

My two pennies worth; If your little bright 9 year old lives in an area like Bromley.... Relax. However if you live in a grammar area there is only one thing for it PASS. Doesn't matter how you do it just PASS. Don't get carried away about various different interim test results, the only one that really matter is the one on the day... Put your life on hold, clear the diary and just do what you need to do to PASS.