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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Computers and the Eleven Plus

Can we learn anything about preparation for the eleven plus by the manner in which computer folk implement new systems? As each section of the computer system is put in it has to be tested. Does the composition of the eleven plus allow enough time for an analytical approach?

When a small system is being put in all the users are usually able to use the system by a certain date. This cannot happen in bigger systems as, if a range of problems emerged, there could be chaos. This could be similar to the impact on an eleven plus child’s peace of mind if mother or father arrives with an armload of eleven plus books and papers. “Look dear, see what we have bought for you!”

We then move to what is called phased implementation. This method introduces each task separately and it is allowed to run smoothly before another task is brought into the system. A similar situation is where the parents arrive home with arms full of books and papers and firmly hides them. The unsuspecting child meets a fresh exercise only when he or she is confident and ready to move on.

Finally we meet parallel running – where a new system is started and runs alongside the old system. This then acts as a backup if problems occur with the new system. Each job is carried out twice – so there is more work for all concerned. Oh dear! The poor eleven plus child would have to do everything twice! Would this be a bad thing? Not necessarily – as constant revision and consolidation often helps eleven plus children.

Parents do have some time during the eleven plus year to experiment and try different methods and activities. Some parents may find it useful to plan the year carefully and leave as little as possible to chance. Some may even adopt the view that their eleven plus chrysalis will become an eleven plus butterfly.

Different strokes for different folks!