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Friday, November 02, 2012

Fixing the Eleven Plus

Is there a case for a national eleven plus curriculum? The theoretical case is that there would be a common standard throughout England. But there could be problems!

The anthropologist Alexander Goldenweiser found that there were remarkably few occupations universally practiced by one sex or another. In some cultures hunting was done by women. Men did the cooking and the house keeping. According to Goldenweiser there were some African tribes where sewing was traditionally a male activity. Efforts to encourage women to sew were greatly resented!

We need to go back to Lewis Terman who did so much to promote intelligence tests because schools and the business world needed some methods of measuring ability. Other tests grew out of the need to screen men and women during the Great Wars.

I used to enjoy watching the film Cheaper by the Dozen’ – and watching the Galbraith family of twelve adjust and develop to different surroundings. The parents used time and motion studies with their children to help with learning. Could we learn from them?

Now if the universal eleven plus could take into account the need for questions to be culture free, accurate in measuring ability and easily absorbed into a family’s life then the case for a universal eleven plus could be little stronger.

There may also be a case for `If it ain’t broke don’t fixit!’