Not so many years ago we were led to believe that human beings possessed some form of general ability. It was thought that the general ability a person determined how successful the person was at developing and maintaining a career. It did not matter that one person was a cow hand and someone else an international banker – it was felt that people rose to a level of expectation. If this was true today then many children would find the eleven plus trail much easier to travel. “Oh yes! My child is bright – an eleven plus pass is on the cards.”
Sadly, for some children, there could be strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. Passing the eleven plus depends on more than a parent’s desire. One factor, that may be a determining influence, is the desire of the child to pass. It would be a brave parent, however, who would bet their house on the outcome of their child’s desire!
This is where relying on one or two tests could be unfair to some children. The eleven plus is supposed to be a form of a predictive examination. The eleven plus is designed to find children who would benefit from a grammar school education. A verbal reasoning test, for example, may be an attempt to find a `pure’ test that will enable a grammar school to find children who will be able to deliver wonderful GCSE and `A’ Level results. A verbal reasoning test, however, measures a lot more than ability with words – the test may also measure a child’s ability to stick to time limits or even, possibly, a child’s uncanny ability to guess correct answers.
Strength with verbal reasoning exercises may be a vitally important attribute to possess to be able to enjoy a grammar school education. When the individual leaves full time education at school and university, however, the ability to concentrate and check little details may not be enough to ensure a good job.