Can you ask an eleven plus child a question if you are not completely sure that you know the `correct’ answer? If the question appears on an established eleven plus paper or in a school text book, and seems to be reasonably genuine, then it may, sometimes, take courage to question the answer.
Suppose you ask: `What is the opposite of white?’ Then your bright, alive and an alert eleven plus child should know the answer. If it looks as if there may be more than one reasonable answer - then there may be a case for concern.
In some of our centres we are offering children wider and different comprehension passages to work through. This is because some children will meet questions in the eleven plus examination where they have to read short passages and supply the answers. Text book type answers are required in the examination. These are answers where there is a right and a wrong. We are meeting, however, bright children who appear to prefer to adapt or embellish the answer. These are children who are used to thinking and reasoning. Perhaps they are even children who have been taught at school and at home to think and to question?
In some questions children may be asked to explain the meaning. The questions will probably start with the words: “Explain the meaning” or “What does the writer mean by?” Parts of the eleven plus have for a long time been dependent on vocabulary. Some children may not need a wide vocabulary to be able to come up with a plausible answer!
Sometimes it may be possible to emerge with a plausible answer even if the phrase or question is not clear. If the question asks the reader to refer to something in the passage then finding the answer may be reasonably straight forward. If, however, the questions asks for an explanation of a relationship between two passages or events then different parts of the passage may have to be understood and appreciated.