Back in 1931 there was an official English publication (Burt) that stated: `the period between seven and eleven displays features sufficiently characteristic to render it desirable on psychological as well as administrative grounds to treat those years as a distinct stage in education.’ The report went onto maintain that there should be separate schools as well as separate classes.
This statement was made on the premise that tests could predict future academic success.
Cyril Burt was a forceful and believable proponent of testing and it is likely that his thinking influenced the early development of the eleven plus examinations.
We need to roll forward a few years. Children today have also been `educated’ through T.V., computers, ipads and other touch screens, smart phones. Some children have even been able to access a local library! But does all this exposure to technology actually help them to solve eleven plus problems?
Of course there are many different types of eleven plus problems and each will need to be solved in a different way – but some problem solving techniques will probably remain until the end of time!
Step One – Trial and Error
Step Two - Blunder to try to find a solution
Step Three – Explore various solutions
Step Four – Learn from success and failure
(Somewhere in this list are the magic words: “Mum, Dad, please help!”)
Naturally there is an eleven plus secret hidden in this anecdote. If children can miss out some of the early steps - and learn from success and failure then – who knows?