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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Eleven Plus Assessments

Does every eleven plus paper form a part of an assessment? Papers are there to assess what children know and to give practice in working through papers. It may be a very bad paper if a good candidate can-not score reasonable marks. It would be an even worse paper if the questions provided the answers.

There should be a purpose involved when an eleven plus child works through a paper. An able and well prepared child may enjoy parts of a paper – but feel in deep despair about an unfamiliar section. An eleven plus paper can-not be a good paper if the purpose of the paper is immoral. To pronounce an eleven plus paper as immoral suggests that a judgement is being made.  A lot depends, naturally, on who is stating that the purpose of the paper is corrupt.

When an eleven plus child sits down to do a paper we must hope that he or she is enjoying a positive experience. Is then a good paper one where the eleven plus candidate comes away feeling pleased and uplifted? Do children have to obtain 100% on a paper to feel happy?

When an eleven plus child works through multiple choice questions, and the results are added up, then a measurement is being made. There could be a comparison with a similar paper completed earlier. The child could also have to cope with results on one paper being compared with results on very different papers. 56% on one paper could be much a much fairer result than 78% on another paper.

If we look at a ruler used by an eleven plus child we may see one edge where inches are used and the other with centimetres. Same instrument – but different units of measurement are being used. I saw a ruler today with one side with the measurements in centimetres and the other in millimetres. There were no centimetres marked on the millimetre face – just lots and lots of little lines. In theory it does not matter if a ruler is measuring in inches and the centimetres. If the ruler illustrated on a question paper only shows inches, and the eleven plus question is about centimetres, then is the question corrupt? 

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