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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Eleven Plus Attitudes

What would happen if the eleven plus could include a test of attitude as well as the traditional standardised tests? Of course we would all need to agree on what the word attitude really means in eleven plus terms. Would we need to measure attitude to work or doing extra work? Should an attitude towards parents or developing a vision of grammar school life be measured? Presumably the test would need to look at factors which could be determined.

Would a test of attitude need to measure how well a child is able to cope with pressure? This is where some parents and some teachers may have some difficulty in arriving at a universal definition. Is this the pressure that a child puts on himself or herself or the pressure that can occur in the examination hall? “My child tends to fall about in examinations.” This could be true of some situations but others may argue that the better the child is prepared the more likely that pressure will be blown away in the heat of the moment.

As we stand considerations of attitude have to be left out of the final eleven plus tally possibly because it would be difficult to decide on the amount of weight that could be offered to the attitude mark.

A very important part of any consideration of attitudes must be the need to main as wide a distance as possible from the rather vague phrases so often used on school report – be they verbal or written.

“Could do better.”

In contrast H.G. Wells gave us: “His studies were pursued but never effectively overtaken.”

Indeed many eleven plus children may, at times, feel a need to discuss the examination using the words of Mark Twain: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

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