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Sunday, November 08, 2009

An Eleven Plus Decree

The European Community is to have a new President in the near future. It is possible, but not likely, that he or she will have a child at the eleven plus stage. The President may want to add an extra dimension to eleven plus testing. His first decree could be to order a personality assessment to be added to the present form of eleven plus selection.

Brussels would send multilingual teams to all the eleven plus authorities. The taxes would have to rise to cover the accommodation, daily allowances, car hire, mobile phones and the services of the army of psychologists who would need to accompany the Brusselian officials.

Every child (according to Europe) would need an individual personality assessment. In some cases parents would also have to be interviewed if it became obvious that any children felt that they were being over worked and under appreciated. (To new eleven plus parents, eleven plus children do seem to go though a stage at some time or another where they, the children, feel over worked and under appreciated. Eleven plus parents often feel this on a daily basis.)

The assessment would need to take into account:

The physical context of the personality assessment, the personality of the psychologist doing the testing and the attitude of the child’s parents to the testing procedure.

The eleven plus child's ability to interpret what the assessor was trying to establish. If, for example, the psychologist from a European country with poor English skills needed an interpreter – would this be taken into account if the parents had to appeal?

The ability of the eleven plus child to be able to distinguish between genuine questions and those set up to establish whether the child, or the parents, had unrealisable expectations.

What parents would want the tests to show may not always be the same as what the grammar schools would desire. Parents, for example, would be keen for their child to display early independent behaviour. The ability to sit down and do an eleven plus paper without been told over and over to get started must score highly. So the Brusselian team would be charged with finding evidence of maturity and independent study.

Some parents would also be keen for their children to demonstrate that social class should not be taken into account in the selection of children for grammar schools.

And finally parents would hope that the tests were fair to all children. They would the tests to have been constructed in such a way that all children could enter the examination secure in the knowledge that good behaviour and the ability to take constructive criticism was rated highly by the grammar schools.

The European decree would insist that eleven plus children should do their work at the right time without a prolonged discussion and should also welcome any inherent or implied criticism. If the decree established these two points then having to pay extra for a European President may, for some parents, be highly desirable.

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