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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grandmothers and the Eleven Plus

I wonder just how much research there has been into the eleven plus examinations. Educational research is a complex subject – because we are dealing with people. Research in a laboratory would be very different to that which could be safely undertaken in a classroom.

It is easy to think of little rats running around mazes – being fed on different diets. Researchers, however, would be hard pressed to obtain permission from parents for formal experiments into their children’s behaviour within mazes.

One method of research is observation. Can you see the picture? A white coated `expert’ sitting behind glass watching eleven plus children struggling with challenging questions. The research could be into
Test techniques
Confidence with multiple choice papers

A different approach could be interviews. The eleven plus candidate could be interviewed by one person or a panel. The interview could be recorded through notes being made, tick boxes completed, audio recordings or by video. Would we want a ten year old to be subjected to an interview – however well meaning?

Whatever the findings we would all interpret the results in different ways.

Parents could say: “I told you so!”
The eleven plus teacher or tutor would say: “What a pleasant surprise!”
The child may say: “Oh no! Not again!”
Grandmother could remark: “You were just like that as a child.”