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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Eleven Plus Passes

Let us take the case of three different eleven plus pupils.

The first one M (Mary) is a dream of a grammar school candidate. She is able, articulate, has an easy personality and is attractive to look at. She works hard at her papers and prides herself in not arguing with her parents and teachers. As the examination grows closer, however, M ‘s attitude to work and the eleven plus examination seems to make a little shift. She does not become critical or argumentative but her artistic side seems to want to take over.  She becomes more interested in dance. M is also offered a part in play where singing and dancing is required. So is dressing up and bits of makeup! M keeps saying that she wants to do the eleven plus – but she no longer really enjoys the preparation.

The second eleven plus candidate is rather different. She may make some of the more subject orientated grammar school members of staff feel a little discombobulated. Her primary school teachers will note that she is `verbally highly active’. Her head teacher will offer the words; “J (Jackie) has grown out of our school.” J is not interested in working on eleven plus papers. She wants to do things – but not the things her parents want her to do – she is more interested in `doing her own thing’. J may be able to pass the examination – but will she be happy at the grammar school?

The third candidate K (Katherine) is at good at her eleven plus work. She usually achieves around 70% on eleven plus papers. Her teachers at school usually describe her as `border-line’.  In K’s case this is not a euphemism for a lack of ability but is a true statement – K may pass or may not pass the eleven plus. The one really sound factor K has going for her is her desire to pass the examination. She is happy to do her corrections. She asks for help all the time and is unfailingly cheerful about fulfilling her pre-examination obligations.

All three girls achieve the same final scores in the eleven plus examinations. Which child would benefit the most from a grammar school education?

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