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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Eleven Plus Project

Some parents may feel a strong desire to direct their thoughts towards making the eleven plus journey into a project. After all projects have been used in education for many years. Projects also have a role to play in adult life. So why not establish the `Eleven Plus Project’?

The term was used by Kilpatrick in the spring of 1918. He felt that a project needed to be a purposeful activity. He also argued that there was a strong element of a `social environment’ within a project. He hoped for sharpened intellectual acumen and enhanced moral judgement.

What Kilpatrick was on about was the way that reading, spelling, mathematics and English were all taught as separate entities and that there was a need to combine the activities.

This would mean children studying in the `Project Eleven Plus’ manner working on mathematics and English as well as verbal and non verbal reasoning papers – but not as four separate subjects but as a wholly integrated unit.

Grammar schools would need to understand that the extent of net that an integrated Eleven Plus syllabus would cast. After all it is possible that a different type of intellect would be exposed. Eleven plus tutors would need to teach methods of investigation and analysis rather than how to answer preset types of examination question. (Which word is opposite?) It would be far more difficult to set the eleven plus syllabus in advance. It may even be much more difficult for major publishers and players in the eleven plus market to set the agenda.

Of course a new curriculum would appear very swiftly. Publishers and examining bodies would quickly organise the subjects into some form of structure. Chapters would appear. Spin off would spin off. The whole excitement over a new form of the eleven plus would swiftly dissipate.

There is a chance, however, that a small number of children would be able to benefit from a grammar school education even if they did not know how to cope with analogies and codes.

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