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Monday, February 07, 2011

Eleven Plus Papers

A group of mothers from one class at school were discussing the eleven plus. Some maintained that one type of paper was more valuable for eleven plus preparation than others. The mothers decided to go out for dinner and settle the discussion through good food, superb wine and animated chat. The hot topic of the eleven plus remained the glue that held the evening together.

One of the mothers was a born organiser. She pulled out her ipad and asked the mothers for eleven plus scores on two different but popular papers. Each mother was able to respond immediately – after all eleven plus scores are imbedded into every waking thought – transcending even the need to provide the next meal on the table.

Score A 43 59 76 28 53 55 81 49 38 47
Score B 67 82 75 48 91 63 67 51 44 54

The mothers discussed the scores and tried to draw conclusions. Just as it all became a little heated the daughter of one of the mothers arrived to take her mum home. She listened for a moment and then remarked quietly. “We can sort this out statistically.”

(One proud mum nearly turned a somersault.)

The girl suggested:

Draw a scatter graph to illustrate the data. Wine was forgotten for a moment as all the heads came together.

Calculate the value of the product moment correlation between Scores A and Scores B.

The girl, by now in her stride, asked the assembled mothers if they would be kind enough to comment on how they would expect the scatter diagram to change if all the children were given the same help and assistance.

The mothers all agreed that there was a positive correlation between the scores. They felt too that the evening had been a success and they wanted to repeat it next month. Two mothers promised to look out their A Level Statistics notes from years ago – and come armed to the next meeting.

The mother of the girl was so proud of her daughter that she had to be helped down the stairs. (Was this aided by the amount of the wine and her deep satisfaction with her daughter?)

The wine waiter, who was a mathematics graduate from Cambridge, asked the girl out for a date. (Only to discuss ` product moment correlation’ – not for any other ulterior motives.)

The sanctity of the eleven plus was preserved for another week.

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