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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eleven Plus Luck

Your child is working through an eleven plus paper at this very moment. A friend calls and suggests that your child should join a little group that are going out together to a local park. The park is near your house. Your child would be safe walking there – especially as the mother of the caller is going to accompany the children to the park.

“Of course, my dear. Just finish off those last few questions before you go.”

“Thank you mother. This will not take long.”

The paper was completed within a very few minutes.

“Did you guess any answers? That did not take long.”

“Oh no, Mum, I was very careful.”

Subsequent marking showed that all the answers that followed the call were wrong. A little doubt entered the mind of the long suffering mother. Had her much loved child guessed at the last few answers?

The assumption that all wrong answers were guessed may be completely wrong. Your child may have answered the questions with great care and still made mistakes. We are presuming that there were four answers from which to choose. The laws of chance would suggest that if there were twelve four point answers your child would score at least three. Sometimes your child would score more than three and on other occasions less than three. If the previous sixty questions had been answered correctly – and only the last twelve questions completed very quickly - then dark thoughts may cross your mind.

It is unlikely that if your child answered the first sixty correctly that he or she would suddenly start making mistakes on the final twelve questions. Yet it happened. One solution could be that the final twelve questions were of a type that had never been seen before.

The indubitable fact is that even if your child has missed the word `not’ at the start of the block of twelve questions the laws of chance would still have offered three correct answers.

Perhaps, and this is a perfectly acceptable conclusion, some eleven plus children are luckier than others. Some will be lucky to pass – and others pass because of luck. If your child passes I am sure you will not mind either way.

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