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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Eleven Plus and the Rod and Frame Test

Very able eleven plus children must become a rather bored at times with the sameness of some eleven plus questions. By the time a bright ten year old has worked out how to answer, for the third time, a similar words question then a state of ennui may be imminent.  Why not give our eleven plus children something that he or she may enjoy?

In 1962 Witkin developed the Rod and Frame Test. The subject was seated in a totally dark room. (Think of the squeals of excitement from some of our eleven plus candidates!) A display of a luminous square frame had a luminous rod mounted centrally within it.

The frame had its bottom edge parallel to the ground but it could be tilted about a horizontal axis so that either of the bottom corners could point towards the ground. The rod was mounted on the same axis.

The dark room was 6 feet 6 inches in cube internally. The luminous square had sides 13 inches long. There was a slit in the square ¼ inches in diameter. The rod was 11 inches long and also had a slit ¼ inches in diameter.

The task was for the subject to tell the experimenter to move the rod back to a vertical position. Results were recorded.

Question 1
Where can parents buy the equipment? Is it on Amazon or from some well-meaning but opportunist publisher?

Question 2
Which room in the family home should be darkened?

Question 3
How are the eleven plus authorities going to be able to test lots of children at the same time?

Question 4
Would the Rod and Frame Test really test ability? Would this be a better test than working out three per cent of the length of an animal’s tail?

Question 4
Would a high score represent poor performance? Can the test be standardised? Would coaching help? Would grammar schools accept the findings? Are we right to criticise some arcane and obscure eleven plus questions?