When your child has a problem – and needs help to solve the problem – you are offered insight into how your child’s mind works. One would think that an eleven plus child has nothing much to hide from a devoted mother and father – but some eleven plus problems can help to bring out the best in all factors of the family.
Diagnostic tests try to work out where a child is up to and what work needs to be done. A level test, however, give us levels of attainment. The final eleven plus test is neither a diagnostic test nor a level test. It could be called a `Pass Fail’ test. The final test results are not posted back to the school or to parents. Under some circumstances parents can see the actual test and their child’s responses – but this is not an option that is open to all.
The actual eleven plus tests do not progress on a step by step basis. There are, however, a range of problems that have to be solved. Ideally the problems would be above the level of rote learning. We are in the middle of eleven plus courses and can see how some children actively explore and think about problems. Some children seem to be able to apply common sense in an attempt to arrive at a solution. Some children seem to have the benefit of strong specific knowledge and are able to display sound mathematical knowledge.
The multiple choice element of the eleven plus examinations offers ease of administration and collection of results. Yet oral and practical eleven plus tests may add richer information – and this could allow different children entry to grammar schools. Of course there would be a cost to have an `expert’ present a few problems and then make judgements about the ability to explain strategies.