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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Eleven Plus Tanks

My 1952 edition of DIAGNOSTIC AND ATTAINMENT TESTTING (Including a manual of tests, their nature, use recording and interpretation) by Fred J. Schonell and F. Eleanor Schonell (Oliver and Boyd) is just two years older than the first edition of 1952.

The Preface contains the following remarks:

“Test performances represent complex resultants for the adequate interpretation of which one needs additional information. One should not place too much reliance on an isolated test finding.”

In Chapter One the Schonells state (Page 1):

“Teaching without the use of carefully planned testing may result in a good deal of misplaced effort on the part of teachers, and failure and frustration on the part of pupils.”

They also maintained (Page 11):

“It is only very occasionally that children with I.Q.’s less that 100 or 105 really succeed in the academic courses of the grammar school, whose pupils have been selected from the top 20% of the pupil population of 10+ and 11+ years.”

“If he is not a suitable candidate for a grammar school then he should not be pushed unless we wish to run the risk of his developing and anxiety condition.”

The Schonells were particularly concerned with selecting tests that were suitable to the intellectual calibre of testees.

In their time the Schonells were highly influential in educational circles – and we can only wonder if the authors of the early eleven plus tests drew on the experience and findings of the Schonells.

A question that I particularly enjoy is one which could possibly have few of today’s eleven plus children scratching their heads:

A convoy of 25 tanks, each 18feet long is parked alongside a straight road. There is a twenty foot space between each tank. What is the distance between the front of the first tank and the end of the last tank?

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