An awful lot of information about the eleven plus is available. Who and what can parents believe? Wouldn’t it be useful if there could be a major study to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the dissemination of information? We could call the three areas: playground chatter, the internet and individual counselling.
Of course there would need to be a control group – a rather specialist group of mothers and fathers who did not really listen to others in the playground, did not do `Eleven Plus’ searches on the internet and preferred to keep their eleven plus ambitions within the family.
The researches may feel that a thirty question questionnaire would serve to provide sufficient information.
Parents do not use the internet
Parents do not drop their children off at school – or collect them
Parents do not talk about their child and the eleven plus
Parents are active members of an eleven plus forum
The scope and extent of questions seems to flow quite easily. What we will probably find, nevertheless, is that the results could prove to be inconclusive. At times each of the different methods will almost certainly be useful to parents. Most of us undoubtedly enjoy the benefits of a little one to one counselling every now and again. We also probably enjoy the cut and thrust of playground chatter. (Will Mrs. X still repeat that accusation?) The internet too is fun with the wonderful variability of the themes and responses.
We will probably never know if any of the three methods mentioned above are strong enough to change the behaviour of parents – it is likely that the sum of the methods adds to knowledge about the eleven plus. Poor children – imagine being bombarded with everything that Mum and Dad learns!