A group of twelve men and women are talking together at a party. Naturally the conversation revolves around the examination. One of the mothers, by chance, is working on a full time Social Science degree at her local university. She trusts that her husband will represent her family’s feelings – and so has time to observe the goings on. Her thoughts flicker over the stages of a recent assignment.
Our intrepid social scientist tries to classify the group of potential eleven plus parents into segments covering marital status and age. She uses a twelve point scale.
Following the above exercise an attempt is then made, through the general chatter about families and the impact of the eleven plus on families, at trying to classify the relationship of each member of the family to the candidate. At times our brave scientist wonders if she has it all straight in her mind – but she presses on.
The exercise then enters a brave flight of fancy. How will she establish the income of the men and women and if she adds the incomes together will she have realistic total for all concerned? What does she do about the one person who did not arrive with a partner? (Our investigator decides to leave herself out in case she has the ability to influence the findings.) Does she share this woman with her husband? Problems, problems. By this stage the erstwhile researcher feels the need for a little extra gin.
We now need to build the table. In one column we have names. Column two has age. Column three has the number of people in each family group. Column four covers income.
We now meet the eleven plus question of today. Find the average for each column. Try to see if there is any observable difference between the income of the families and the number of children in the family. Are there any trends? Should the findings be shared with the group? Are there any oddities? Is this valuable eleven plus research or just a rather esoteric exercise?
Does the age of parents, the number of children in the family and how much each family has to spend on the eleven plus really matter? What really does matter?