The Italian criminologist, Cesare Lombroso, came up with the theory that genius is akin to insanity. He also had many other theories – but none of them would apply to any normal eleven plus child. He thought that insanity and instability – and in some cases degeneracy – accompanied genius. We are fortunate that much of his work is unproved.
Genius includes only the topmost fraction of 1% of our population in terms of both ability and achievement. The Eleven Plus examination does not even come close to investigating ability at this level. Children who score full marks on eleven plus papers could be investigated – if their parents wanted another label. A genius is someone who excels in performance. A near genius misses out by a matter of degree.
Francis Galton learned to read at two and a half. He signed his name at three and wrote a letter when he was four.
"My Dear Adele,
I am four years old and can read any English book. I can say all the Latin substantives and adjectives and active verbs besides 52 lines of Latin poetry. I can cast up any sum in addition and multiply by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10. I can also say the pence table. I can read French a little and I know the clock.
February 15th 1827”
Many of our eleven plus children can also write letters telling of wonderful achievements.
I am but six years older but I can also read. I do verbal and non verbal reasoning exercises – and advanced mathematics as well. I am expected to work under pressure of time – and answer lots of questions very quickly. I have also learnt where and when to use paragraphs.
My sister says that I am mad to try for the eleven plus. She is already at grammar school but says I have no chance. I keep telling her that I am a genius in disguise – but she does not listen.
Eleven Plus Candidate
February 2nd 2010.