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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

An Eleven Plus Reward System

Some eleven plus children miss out on a place in a grammar school by just one or two marks. We all accept that the method of marking multiple choice papers and the way the marks are added up must be correct. Older brothers and sisters of current eleven plus children may, however, have missed grades by a similar margin.

In English language some marks are allocated in bands.

Band 1 (1-4 Marks)
Confusingly written
Band 2 (5-8 Marks)
More clearly written
Band 3 (9-12 Marks)
Clearly written
Band 4 (13-16 Marks)
Clear and confident writing

Parents and teachers would have reminded their GCSE candidates to do well to remember that formal language is nearly always used to inform the reader – whereas emotive and dramatic news helps to entertain the reader.

Why can’t multiple choice questions be allocate marks in a similar manner. Suppose we use a simple eleven plus question – one that is often used in discussions on the eleven plus.

A woman who had fallen into the water was dragged out in a drowning condition by a man, but she did not thank him because:

A)     She never felt thankful for small things
B)      She did not know the man well enough
C)      She was feeling better
D)     She was still unconscious.

Which then is the best order?
D must come first – and be worth 4 marks
It is likely that A would come last and be only worth 1 mark.
This leaves B and C to fight for the 2 and the 3 marks respectively.

You child would then not be refused a grammar school place on the evidence of one question being answered in-correctly – but your child could have had some nearly right answers! A child then could enter grammar school with over half the marks worth 4 each, some at a value of 3 and perhaps one or two having the limited value of 2.

It could be argued that some correct multiple choice answers are worth more than others – so why not have an appropriate reward system?