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Monday, November 01, 2010

Parents, Children and the Eleven Plus

Is it possible that the eleven plus could have been easier back in the seventeenth or eighteen century? We know that the size of families was about the same as today. So even if we look back over seventeen or eighteen generations there was still a father, a mother and some children. We can only surmise that the parents had to work just as hard as today. Their roles would certainly have been difficult but many parents may have been faced with the same dilemma as to day - how to give their children the best possible opportunities.

The word `coterminous' springs to mind. This is where we need to be able to share similar boundaries. The family of years ago would have had grandparents that may or may not have been able to read - unlike most of today’s elders. Today’s grandparents may or may not be able to work out some strange non verbal reasoning question - but both sets would have tried to do their best.

Luckily for some of the children two hundred years ago verbal and non verbal reasoning tests had not arrived at the degree of test sophistication that we expect our children to achieve.

Surely, however, a bright child some two hundred years ago would have been able to answer a question like:

Which word is opposite to GOOD?

kind bad deep rude wrong

What about a question like:

The young knight Harry was eight years old two years ago.

His best friend William is two years younger than him.

Harry’s cousin, Mary, was one year older than William.

How old is Harry now?

Perhaps we should not always talk about eleven plus children but about children who have parents who want the best for their children.

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