Do eleven plus parents really need to follow the laws of parsimony or the laws of economy of hypothesis? We all probably, at times, accept the hypothesis that is the simplest to understand – but explains the most. When we accept a hypothesis we may be trying to reason – but we don’t always know if what we are thinking is the truth.
Suppose your child sits a number of eleven plus papers. Your child usually reaches a very good score of around 80% on the tests. You reassure your self that your child is on track and doing well. You hope that your child is going to pass the eleven plus after all the effort and hard work.
In statistics the null hypothesis is that there is unlikely to be a difference between children who obtain good marks on practice tests and children who do not obtain good marks – because practice tests are not the real tests. The null hypothesis could, possibly, go on to state that good marks in the practice tests is down to chance – mainly because the tests that your child is working through at home are only a sample of all the available eleven plus practice tests.
The Law of Parsimony, as it applies to the eleven plus, could be that we must adopt the simplest possible theory that we can – and even though the ground appears to keep shifting under our feet. We must adhere to the theory that it is worthwhile attempting the eleven plus because we, as a family, have worked hard and done our best. In fact, you may well have said to your child:
“Just do the best you can. We will support you whatever the outcome of the examination.”