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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eleven Plus Relevance

How do parents know if the eleven plus questions their children are working from are relevant?

Do you remember the story of the Mona Lisa? It had been hanging in the Louvre for many years. In 1911 she was stolen. Three thieves, dressed as workmen, walked casually into the gallery before it closed. They hid in a basement room. The next day the Louvre was closed for cleaning. The workmen wandered around the hall, took the painting off the wall, and walked out of the gallery carrying it.

They then forged six Mona Lisas and sold them to Americans for $300 000 each. The gang were discovered and the Mona Lisa was returned. The painting was placed behind a thick glass panel and surrounded by electronic alarms.

A question in O. B. Gregory’s Essentials of Verbal Reasoning, published for the first time in 1963, had a question:

If XAFL means GOES, what does XAALF mean?

If a number of eleven plus authors use the question as a basis for their own papers – are the questions still relevant? After all, this aspect of ability was `discovered’ many years before 1963. The 1944 Butler Education Act advocated the use of a test to decide if a child should go to grammar school.

A test had to be developed that attempted to differentiate between the ability of many children. The test also had to be based on the idea of a normal curve of distribution. The curve suggested that there would be able and academic children at the top end of the curve.

Can it be possible that the question:  `If XAFL means GOES, what does XAALF mean?’ is still relevant? What part of the brain is the question testing? Has the relevance of the question been tested recently?