A few words from Lord Alfred Tennyson can be used as a rallying cry from all involved in the eleven plus.
Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.
Teachers want to be able to say: “Your child has made progress.”
Parents want to hear: “My child has made progress.”
Children want to hear: “You have made progress.”
The Ofstead report demands that progress is made within a child’s school.
School reports, from unhappy teachers, can no longer say: “Albert is working to the best of his non existent ability.”
Even Macbeth whined: “Bring me no more reports; let them fly all: Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane I cannot taint with fear.”
Progress in eleven plus terms can be relative. A child could have been getting 45 out of 80 on a test – and moves up to 48 on the next test. This could mean three lucky guesses – or that a skill has now been mastered.
Eleven plus progress can be a child working at Level 4C at school in mathematics and moving up to 5A. This could be fantastic teaching at school – or it could be down to the intervention of eleven plus teaching. Perhaps the progress could have taken place because of hard work by everyone concerned at school and at home.
Tennyson, the parents of the unknown schoolmaster and Shakespeare have very little in common with the eleven plus – other than a respect for change and an unwillingness to hear an untimely report.
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all.”