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Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Value of the Eleven Plus

Is 56 on a paper good, bad or meaningless? It all depends! The idea of the eleven plus examination is to judge whether children can reach a pass mark.

The purpose of the eleven plus is to try to find children who will benefit from a grammar school education. The worst part of the eleven plus would be achieved if children had to commit facts to memory. It would be even worse if the eleven plus examination gave children facts – and then asked them to apply the facts.

The eleven plus could possibly be judged as a good examination if it produced results that were of value to the grammar schools. Some will argue that the purpose the eleven plus is bad – thus the examination would also be flawed. If selection is wrong then the eleven plus examination may also be wrong. But this can not be true because eleven plus children are expected to think and develop.

Of course there are stories of children who can pass the eleven plus without doing any extra work. There will also be children who can swim a length at a very young age or play an instrument or ride a bicycle. This is not to say, however, that the examination is worthless. It is still highly prized – and very worthwhile.

The great majority of children who pass the eleven plus have had to work very hard. They have to rise far above standards set at school. Their parents have to be involved and committed.

Every child who aspires towards the eleven plus needs to be commended.

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