Education news

Single 11-plus cannot come at any price

Pupils will sit 11-plus style tests in November

GRAMMAR schools running their own 11-plus exams say they support plans for a single test - but not at any price.

Proposals are currently "not fit for purpose", according to the chairman of one of the rival groups.

There has been no state involvement in 11-plus exams for more than a decade.

Schools are split into two camps, using either the Common Entrance Assessment set by the Association for Quality Education (AQE) or multiple-choice papers set by GL Assessment.

Some children take both, and sit five papers over four consecutive Saturdays.

The Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC), which uses the GL papers, and AQE last year agreed draft proposals for a new test.

It would involve two papers taken on successive Saturdays with a supplementary paper for children missing one paper due to illness or other circumstances. The best score of the two tests would determine the outcome for each pupil.

The PPTC said there was overwhelming support from its schools for this model.

However, it has been reported that John Mulholland from the AQE has now attacked the plans in a letter to principals and governors.

He said the AQE board was not opposed in theory to a single test.

"The proposal for two tests with one to count does not meet the standard which is required to combat criticism from experts who oppose the concept of academic selection," he wrote.

"The three-test format is key to the current assessment and the board have been convinced this approach offers the best opportunity to children, particularly to those from less advantaged backgrounds. Our board was and is very supportive of the concept of a unified test but does not accept that it should be adopted at any price."

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