If your child answers a multiple choice question correctly, is it evidence that he or she has understood the question? It is possible, for example, for a test writer to use unusual words that are familiar to him or her. These words, however, may not have a clear cut meaning for an eleven plus candidate. Parents, teachers, tutors and children alike would, sometimes, be grateful if the language of the question was as simple as possible.
If parents revolted and only bought or used papers that had a model answer for each question – then some of the present host of eleven plus writers may possibly feel the need to be a little more circumspect. Can you imagine of the major publishers asking the opinion of us rank and file eleven plus teachers about the value and veracity of `the’ questions? The world of the eleven plus, at the level of major publishers, may be dominated by the good and the great. But does that make all their questions useful and valuable to an emerging eleven plus child?
Take, for example, a question about magnets and the `push me pull me’ experience. We would expect a true eleven plus child to understand how magnets attract and repulse. We know too there are substances that have the property of attracting iron, and to a lesser extent nickel and certain other metals. You will recall from school that this property was recognised in the lodestone or magnetite of an oxide of iron. You will also recall wrapping insulated wire coils around an iron bar and passing a current to temporarily magnetise the bar.
It is also likely that you will have a clear definition of magnetite in your mind. It is possible that one of your science questions at school asked you to explain magnetite. You know that it is black mineral with a metallic lustre. You will also recall that magnetite consists of the magnetic oxide of iron. It is, as has been mentioned, the loadstone of the ancients because it is a natural magnet. The earth has properties of a magnet with poles lying near the ends of its rotational axis. Lines of force are not regular on the surface so the necessary corrections to compass observations are taken from charts.
Your eleven plus question:
(Money is to [company exchequer light purse]) as (magnetism is to [attractiveness pleasure simplicity minerals])
The exchequer and money have a relationship is do magnetism and minerals.
This may, to some, be an intriguing question – but does it offer evidence of the ability of a child? Would it be a `fair’ eleven plus question for your child to meet in an examination?