## Monday, January 04, 2010

### The Family and the Eleven Plus

The next time you will get all the family to meet will be at a wedding or a birthday. You will need to do some preparation, of course, but after catering for all the family (and some friends) over Christmas and the New Year you should be well versed in the art of keeping the peace. It is likely, at some time another, that a discussion arose over which sex was better at washing up. From this point it is likely that there will be a discussion on whether females are more able than males. Thankfully there is a sound method of arriving at a definitive answer. It is called the Wilcoxon Matched-Pairs Signed-Ranks Test.

The Wilcoxon gives more weight to a pair that shows a big difference than between pairs which show a small difference.

Of course the whole family will be inordinately proud of your eleven plus candidate. In fact it is likely that it will be your progeny who will suggest that the males and the females take part in a competition based on elements of a timed verbal reasoning test. (Great cheers from all concerned!)

To renewed load applause you find the anagram section in an eleven plus paper. Quick as a flash, and again to load applause, you build a list of four letter anagrams. You print the list – and make twenty copies. You give ten copies to the males of the family and ten to the females.

The rules are simple. No collusion. No copying. Write down your time as soon as you have completed the exercise. Your eleven plus child is the final arbiter of fact and opinion. (After all, his or her presence on the team would offer an unfair advantage.)

Eipp
Nopu
Dglo
Attu
Belw
Denv
Cklo
Mnow
Imnt

As each member of the family rushes up excitedly to your child, he or she will write down the time it took to solve the anagrams. This creates a record of the order in which the different sexes completed the test.

You will now need to work out the difference between two matched pairs. This could be the difference between the scores of Aunty Ingrid and Uncle James. We now arrive at a new list with the difference scored as a plus or a minus. If we add all the + and the – signs it becomes easier to work out if the females of your family are better at solving anagrams than the males.

(If there is a tie then the results are dropped from the analysis.)

Of course it may have been easier to have put the two teams against each other doing the washing up – but think how your child will be offered praise and support for having to cope with pesky anagrams in his or her eleven plus test.