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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

One Thousand Five Hundred Eleven Plus Posts

A traditional way of changing the content of the eleven plus would be to set up a working party. The chair person would write the equivalent of a White Paper – outlining the present position, future needs and a list of recommendations.

When it came to look at the future of the eleven plus the paper would possibly need to contain at least:

Materials Needed
Teacher Education
Presentation to the public.

The aims and objectives of any proposed eleven plus changes would need to include the assumption that any changes in the eleven plus would occur through evolution rather than revolution.

The materials that the eleven plus children work off would have to reflect the needs of the present grammar schools. Making changes to the eleven plus would be a waste of time unless the grammar schools explained what they wanted as outcomes to the test. Specialist mathematics and science orientated grammar schools, for example, may prefer to select boys and girls who demonstrated more than precocious verbal talent..

The reality of making any changes to the eleven plus must take into account that there needs to be considerable interaction and discussion between schools, parents and examiners. Changes to materials, for example, would involve continual evaluation so that materials were suitable and effective.

It may be true to argue that it would be highly desirable that the eleven plus curriculum remained in a state of flux. This can not happen in today’s eleven plus system not true as some items are remarkably similar to questions asked fifty years ago.

What would parents want if they were consulted? Would most parents be happy to continue with the present system – or would they like to be presented with alternatives? Would parents feel that they are qualified to vote on what they would like in the eleven plus?

Some parents may feel that it is not desirable to press for changes because this could set off a pattern of depth charges that could rock the whole fabric of the eleven plus. “Better the devil you know!” and “Not in my backyard!” Other parents may, however, relish the idea of taking on a system founded many years ago where some bright children, for one reason or another, lost out on the chance of an eleven plus place.

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