Are eleven plus papers useful? Children, at times, may ask this question with a sense of wonder but fortitude. After all children trust their parents who almost always know better! Parents, however, know that working on an eleven plus paper is good for their child. Some parents may even believe in quantity over quality.
Most eleven plus papers are an entity in themselves. Some have 50 questions, others 80 and some even 100. The questions in papers are usually a reasonably varied selection – after all the papers are written by teachers for consumption by real children. It should not, however, be assumed that all the questions are carefully graded. If your child achieves 78% on one paper and then a `shocking’ 72% on a different paper – please remember there is no onus on a supplier of a test to ensure that the tests are entirely equivalent.
Sometimes a child will be encouraged to work through a whole paper. On other occasions the eleven plus candidate will only be asked to work on a section of a full paper. Naturally timing is important. The watch or clock needs to be on the desk in front of the child. Timing should be discussed as a matter of course.
Once parents have bought and paid for an eleven plus paper then naturally the paper belongs to the family. The paper can be cut up into sections – it can be written on – or even left pristine. Papers just can’t be copied or reproduced in any unlawful form. Sometimes children can be helped on a paper and on other occasions they have to work entirely on their own. Parents can prompt the correct and the incorrect responses. Parents can even do the paper the night before to make sure that they have covered all the answers.
If an eleven plus child is going to work on a paper under challenging conditions – then parents could consider trying to ensure that their offspring is fresh, fed and watered. Some parents may even try to ensure that the `eleven plus paper zone’ is kept as free as possible from younger siblings, radio, T.V. animals and even marauding older sisters.
By the way when parents are comparing one score with another – it may be politic to try to remember how many questions were answered with assistance. 72% with no additional help may be better than 78% with some help! Memory is often selective!