Assessing your child’s chances of success in the 11plus exam involves gathering information about their abilities from a variety of sources and trying to create an overall picture of their learned skills and natural talents.
This diagram provides an overview of what to take into consideration.
If it is not clear from your assessment of your child’s current ability as to whether a Grammar School is the right choice for them and you have a bit of time on your hands (or you can employ the services of a good private tutor), it is worth beginning to work on the weaker areas of ability that are highlighted during the assessment process and then assess them again 4-6 months on. In many cases, a child could have gotten a bit lost in some areas at school and now just may not have the confidence in their own abilities to actively engage their brain in academic work and hence has lost interest in trying. By working with them to improve their core skills and confidence, this could all turn around in time to improve their 11 Plus Exam result and reinstate their interest in learning. However, this is not the case with all children. Some children will certainly improve their skills with extra work on these areas; however their core skills may require too much improvement to reach the required level in time for the exam. This is also a sign that a Grammar School may not be the best choice for their learning style.
A strong indicator as to whether a child is likely to improve quickly with extra support is how quickly they can learn new skills and adopt new concepts i.e. absorb completely new information (not based on prior learning) and apply this to questions in a logical manner. However, it is not worth deciding against doing some extra work on core skills too quickly. It is highly beneficial for all children nearing the end of Key Stage 2 to have their strengths and weaknesses assessed and to embark on a path of improvement – whether this is in preparation for an 11 plus exam, or just in preparation for secondary school. It will become much easier to make a clearer assessment of your child’s abilities once they have had the opportunity to do extra work on many areas and you can see how much they improve in these areas over time.