Psychologists are responsible for providing evidence for the content of the eleven plus tests. It is their responsibility to look out for the reliability and validity of the tests used. Some parents used to believe that in some areas the same tests were used year after year. Anecdotal evidence suggests that effort was made by these parents to place their child with a tutor who had `access’ to the content of the tests used in previous years.
We know about parallel versions of tests – and unless there is sound consistency between the results of the tests, one test or another will always be rejected. If the test was thought to be reliable then the test could be used with a wider audience.
A very reliable form of establishing the predictive value of the eleven plus test would be to take comprehensive `after histories’. This post eleven plus examination history would be able to offer an account of what the child had achieved at school and at home.
For some eleven plus experts passing the eleven plus may be the ultimate reward – and score most highly. Other experts may value strength in other areas as being important. A child prodigy in Irish dancing may choose to ignore grammar.
Some could argue that success in dance or playing a musical instrument could not rank as highly as a grammar school pass. Beauty, however, is in the eye of the beholder. A child with the ability to write an outstanding story or account can be counted as being creative and gifted with words. A different child, however, with an interest in the sciences could demonstrate equal creativity and giftedness – but not in the same fields.
One of the aims of a grammar school may be to promote an interest in the humanities. Another school could prefer the sciences and computer technology. A potential author could land up in a science school – while a scientist may possibly be forced to eek out a lifetime of frustration at school in a humanities institution.