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Friday, August 13, 2010

The Eleven Plus and the Environment

It has long been held, by some, that changes in environment can bring about the capacity to do well on intelligence tests. The evidence was gathered from studies of children, often twins, who were brought up away from each other.

In some cases the difference was 7.7 points but the range was 0 to 17 points. All this research took place back in 1946 – but these were the very years when the eleven plus was first postulated and promoted.

At one time a lot of work was done on the relationship between intelligence and the occupation of parents. Sociological influences on eleven plus parents may play a part but in the end their child has to sit in an examination room with other children and plough steadily through a slew of questions.

Imagine your child having to fill in a pre eleven plus questionnaire:

What is the occupation of your father?

What is the occupation of your mother?

Does your father do a job or enjoy a profession?

Is your mother a manager or does she have to take orders?

Are you the first born?

Do you have relatives at grammar schools?

Did either or both parents go to grammar school?

Positive answers, carefully weighted, could gain marks and help to secure a place in a grammar school.

We surmise that environmental and sociological influences will affect eleven plus scores. It would, however, be very difficult to apply a uniform weighting to any loaded questions.

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