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Friday, August 26, 2011

Planning for Eleven Plus Success

We are often asked; “When is the right time to start eleven plus tuition?”

Kuhlmann and Terman tried out and then standardised tests for children aged three and above. They were working on intelligence back in the middle of the 1920s.

For example a three year old was asked to name common objects like shoe, watch or knife. A different test asked the child to repeat three digits like 6-4-9 - spoken slowly.

A four year old was asked to select the longer of two lines, and discriminate between common geometrical shapes.

At five the child was asked to count four objects and define objects like table, fur and hat.

The six year had to find missing parts of pictures and note and explain difference between wood and glass.

The tests were standardised – and this was probably a good thing because it is likely that there is quite a difference in the confidence of a child aged 3 years and 1 month – and one aged 3 years and 11 months.

We know that our eleven plus ability tests work off a system of standardising the tests on an age basis. Parents can take their prospective (three year old) eleven plus candidate to a psychologist and ask:

“Is my child ready to take the eleven plus?”

“Will my child pass the eleven plus?

The psychologist advises the parents that a bit of work is needed – but that they are on the right lines. The psychologist does mention the need for a wide vocabulary – as this is useful when working through verbal reasoning questions. The mother asks how many words should her child know aged three?

The psychologist counters with the findings of Madorah E. Smith who was also working in the mid 1920 and 1930s.

Age Vocabulary

1 . . . 3
2 . . . 272
3 . . . 896
4 . . . 1540
5 . . . 2072
6 . . . 2562

So if your child is average on the three year old test and has a usable vocabulary less than 896 words – then it is probably time to start of pre eleven plus lessons. Is this not too early? Not to a concerned mother!

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