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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Comparing Eleven Plus Results

There is a phrase which must be on the lips of almost every eleven plus parent.

We all know that there is a temptation, at times, to compare the score of the previous eleven plus paper against the current offering.

“Well dear, you achieved 68% last time and 72% this time. This is great progress. I am so pleased with you. This is definitely reward time.”

“Why thank you mother.”

“If you can describe how to work out the percentage increase you will qualify for a great reward.”

“That is easy. I take the 68% from the 72%, put the answer over 68 and multiply by 100. This is the percentage increase. O.K.?”

This is called an `ipsative assessment’. This is where you give your child feedback about progress. A slightly different use of ipsative tests is to try to encourage a candidate to make an answer. This could be useful at home – because parents are not trying to compare the scores of their child with those of other eleven plus candidates. If their child’s score is better than the rest then a parent will want to keep quiet so as not to antagonise others. If the score is not as good then a parent will burn with a need to help their child improve.

One view of the eleven plus must include the thought that some eleven plus children have to beat other children to win a place in a grammar school. This then raise the spectre that some eleven plus children are actually in a competition! Ipsative tests are not designed to promulgate competition. An ipsative assessment, however, can be vastly rewarding to parents as they encourage their child to do as well as possible.

It would be one for the playground gossip if you could slip in the comment that you and your child worked through an ipsative assessment with positive results! Think of the kudos as you explained the implications. (Playground guru?)

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