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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eleven Plus Solutions

Little Lisa arrives. She has a verbal reasoning score of 129 and a non verbal score of 105. The verbal test is made up of verbal reasoning, vocabulary, verbal classifications, some arithmetical reasoning and verbal analogies. The non verbal test covers at the very least pictorial classification, analogies and numerical relationships.

We can see that the verbal test is made up of much more than language or linguistic skills. The non verbal test looks at spatial relationships, the dreaded block questions and the ability to visualise. (We once had a girl who loved block questions – mainly because she could see the answer almost in a flash. She always enjoyed `helping’ us lesser human beings.)

If our girl, Lisa, is to sit one eleven plus examination – based mainly on verbal reasoning – then she should enjoy the challenge of the eleven plus. If she sits a different examination that has both verbal and non verbal reasoning – then she could find the whole experience requires a little more thought and work.

Her overall score of 129 and 105 gives total of 234. The average is 117. This is a bright girl!

Instead of looking at her scores and saying: “This girl can not go to grammar as she has not reached the correct level,” we could look at other factors. The verbal reasoning score suggest that she has the potential to do well in a grammar school environment. The non verbal score, however, suggests that she has reached only an around average level – and is only capable of average work. This may not, however, be true!

What about her interests? Could she sit and put a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle together? A jigsaw requires many different nonverbal skills – as well as many verbal skills. What would stop her putting the jigsaw together?

She may not enjoy jigsaws.

She may have other things to do.

The motivation to complete the task may not be there.

She prefers to work with someone else.

The subject matter of that particular jigsaw may not appeal to her.

Her younger sister is better than her at doing them.

She has not had much exposure to jigsaws.

As Christmas approaches parents of eleven plus children could turn their attention to jigsaws. Some will choose fairy land settings to land in the stocking – others will want a more educational nature. Some parents will make time to sit with their children to complete a puzzle – others will be too busy. Sometimes other members of the family will drift up with a variety of suggestions – some helpful and some decidedly unwelcome.

There is something quite remarkably wholesome of clearing the table away after the Christmas meal and starting on a mammoth jigsaw. No T.V. no electronic games – just the ability to think, reason, supply solutions, laugh, argue and work as a team. (Quite useful eleven plus attributes?)

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