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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Eleven Plus 80 - 20 Rule

A well-known man, V. Pareto, was an original thinker. He is well known for his 80 – 20 law. He discovered, back in 1906, that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20 of the people.  Would it be true that 80% of grammar school places come from 20% of the people?

Pareto talked about:

 `unknown’ incentives
 `residues’ – which are declared motives
 `derivations’ or accepted ideals.

He explained that people constantly feel the need to justify their actions in a logical way. He further felt that because many people are unwilling to recognise true incentives – they adopt `pseudo-logical’ residues and derivations.

Where does this fit into eleven plus parameters? Able children, with parents who recognise their ability and have the means to help their children prepare, are likely to do well in the eleven plus. Some parents will maintain that they simply want to give their children the best possible chance. Other parents will declare that their child deserves a place in a grammar school because their child is bright and able. All of these feelings and thoughts appear to be entirely logical.

Do parents really have to be accountable for striving to give their child the chance of passing the eleven plus? It does not seem fair for their motives to be questioned – because as a number of parents say: “You only get one chance.”

Most of us will recognise that originally the eleven plus was designed to give bright children from poorer backgrounds a chance of being able to enjoy an academic education. Just because some parents have the time and the money to be able to support their children it does not mean that the motives of these parents need to be questioned.