Talk:Eleven plus exam

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Articulation to A Levels[edit]

I was a secondary modern student who completed GCE O Levels in 1964. My results were good. Had I been a student at a Grammar School I would have had no difficulty in proceeding to A Levels. However, my school offered no assistance to students who wished to study for A Levels. Neither was it possible for me to transfer to the local Grammar School. Attempts to achieve this met with blank refusal (without reasons being given. Fortunately, my family emigrated to Australia where I entered a High School which prepared me for university entrance examinations. I subsequently completed Bachelors and Masters degrees and became a psychologist. If I had stayed in England I would have found it extremely difficult to achieve the same outcome.

My major complaint about the English Tripartite system of education at the time I attended school in England was the extreme difficulty experienced by secondary modern students who wished to study for A Levels. I can see no satisfactory justification for this situation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 12 February 2013 (UTC)


The article says: "In counties in which vestiges of the Tripartite System still survive" ... But there is no listing of these counties. Could one be added? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:52, 24 September 2007 (UTC)


If anyone could provide some firm percentages for intakes in different areas that would be fantastic, i can't seem to find any sources and I'm going on memory at the moment. Also the article on Grammar schools in the United Kingdom seems to have a lot about the eleven plus if anyone feels more confident than me in reaming information from it. --Pluke 23:26, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

There's also a danger of not comparing like with like - secondary technical schools were I think more common in the North Midlands (Notts? and certainly in Derby) than in the 'South West' ( where was that anyway? Gloucester to Cornwall?? That's at least half a dozen LEAs! Linuxlad 12:49, 27 May 2007 (UTC))

Reference Grammar schools and 11+ the Wirral has some of the highest number of Grammar schools in the country. Contact Wirral Borough Council Education Authority, they should have the figure, but remember the individual schools of the grammar system there handle their own entry process and guidelines i.e. Wirral Grammar for Boys and Wirral Grammar for girls. St Anselms for Boys have a separate entrance exam of their own. This by the way is the North West area.


some arguments to include in this page:

I'm still looking for more pro grammar/pro selection articles, if you know of any please link them here, so appologies if this looks all anti grammar school, i'm still searching! --Pluke 14:06, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

I put a several links into my site on 11+ news and corrected the figure on the List of grammar schools in England as it is so out of date it is ridiculous! It is 174 not 164. I also put details into each Local Authority page so that people would be able to get the latest details but I got these messages back:
Welcome to Wikipedia. Everyone is welcome to contribute constructively to the encyclopedia. However, please do not add promotional material to articles or other Wikipedia pages, as you did to Buckinghamshire. Advertising and using Wikipedia as a "soapbox" is strongly discouraged. Take a look at the welcome page to learn more about Wikipedia. Thank you. Plus e.g. additional sites Eleven Plus, Bexley, etc Tmol42 (talk) 11:54, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Please do not add inappropriate external links to Wikipedia, as you did to Calderdale. Wikipedia is not a collection of links, nor should it be used for advertising or promotion. Inappropriate links include (but are not limited to) links to personal web sites, links to web sites with which you are affiliated, and links that attract visitors to a web site or promote a product. See the external links guideline and spam guideline for further explanations. Since Wikipedia uses the nofollow attribute value, its external links are disregarded by some search engines, including Google. If you feel the link should be added to the article, please discuss it on the article's talk page rather than re-adding it. Thank you. - Pointillist (talk) 12:23, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Wiki needs updating on these details,it is incorrect, 10 schools have not been included. Rather than just removing the links they should have updated the pages.
It is a shame as thay could just have asked if I minded updating the pages, I spend at least an hour a day searching for 11+ News and am not going to copy it across if it will just get undone. —Preceding unsigned comment added by PlanetBOFA (talkcontribs) 12:56, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Debates_on_the_grammar_school seems to be quite a bit of overlap here, will get round to tidying it up when possible --Pluke 07:15, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Way ahead of you- revised article going up now.--Evil Capitalist 17:25, 29 September 2005 (UTC)
Fantastic work! Any chance you have access to the pass percentages in different regions as I've been looking for a source to explain the predominance of Essex Grammar schools in the high end of league tables due to the pass rate of this exam (3%ish i believe)? --Pluke 07:20, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Afraid not- most of the figures I have come either from lectures (which, sadly, come without footnotes), or from old books on the subject I've dragged up. Checking the Times Archive (which my university kindly subscribes to) I seem unable to bring up much at all on the topic, which makes me suspect that the information probably wasn't published, or at the very least wasn't publicised. Of course, if you're particularly keen to find the answer, the Freedom of Information Act would mean you could get ahold of it with a little whinging in the right places...--Evil Capitalist 14:38, 2 October 2005 (UTC)


The eleven plus is talked about here in the past tense... it still exists and is taken by thousands every year...a little misleading?

The article does refer to it in the past tense but this is due to the fact that the exam is taken by a small minority of people as opposed to previously, when it was universally taken. If you really think it would be better reworded don't be afraid of jumping in and trying yourself--Pluke 12:22, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
I think the the major usage of the term is to the eleven-plus as once used (determining the future academic career of every schoolchild in Britain); the exam taken these days at the same age is not really comparable in effect. And the article makes this point, I think, by using the past tense when talking about the old system. --Telsa ((t)(c)) 16:29, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Tense-switching (the exam was / the exam is) still jars, however. I don't believe the problem of referring to a once universal, now only locally used, examination in the one article has yet been resolved. Before anyone answers "Well, go ahead and fix it then", I do have my thinking-cap on. This is just advance warning / a plea for any helpful suggestions. -- Picapica 12:16, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

The "Scholarship"[edit]

I can't find a nice cite for this, so can anyone else? I gather that the eleven-plus was referred to as "the Scholarship" in at least some parts of Britain in the fifties. "He's passed his Scholarship" and so on. According to the person who was reminiscing about this, it was definitely seen as an exam you either passed (went to grammar school) or failed (went elsewhere), and everyone in the town would know about it. This term "scholarship" was in use in at least south-east Wales in the early to mid fifties. Wikipedia doesn't like "Ah yes, I remember it well" as a source for information, so has anyone found mention of this somewhere cite-able, by any chance? Was it used anywhere else? --Telsa ((t)(c)) 16:29, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

I sat the 'scholarship' in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1964, so Northumberland county called it.Tudric

The 11+ was referred to colloquially as 'the Scholarship' in West Sussex in the early/mid fifties. West Sussex also had one of the few Technical Schools ever built under the Tripartite System - the Technical High School in Worthing, opened in 1955 and which I attended from 1956.

Thanks for those. We need a reference (as per WP:V) before we can put this in though. Still hoping to find something we can cite. Telsa (talk) 07:37, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I also took the scholarship to go to Strutts Grammar School in Belper in 1949. I don't recall any mention of eleven plus or secondary moderns. (The first in my area I think was Allestree Woodlands) Those who failed the scolarship either worked for their fathers (farming for instance) or took apprenticeships. This was before the school leaving age was raised to 15 Chevin 16:16, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Suggested material[edit]

Hmm - I actually wanted to contact Telsa directly but difficult to find out how to do so in short time available to me now. As an 11 plus failure who rebelled against being so categorised I am not that happy with what is here, even though the contributors are obviously critical. I would have liked to see the 11 plus placed within the context of intelligence testing as a whole, and some mention of the extremely thorough critiques of the whole concept of IQ, e.g I felt a bit critical of some of the assumptions of the argument; that there is some kind of "fair", "unbiased" way of doing this kind of test, which allocates people fairly - in contrast to the view that any way of abstracting the world into a quantifiable measure involves a framing of the world (decision as to what constitutes an object to be measured) which only makes sense in a social and political context. I realise that that is (to some extent) my POV but nevertheless one which I guess is not only held by me, but well, this is the discussion page - I just wanted to kick it around a bit. Also the links against the eleven plus seem very general - to do with selection for state education generally and not really examining the basis of the eleven plus in intelligence theory - I would love to find such sites. Oh well 19:19, 9 February 2007 (UTC)Donnard White

To contact me, you can leave a message on my talk page at User talk:Telsa. You should also be able to email me by hitting "Email this user" when looking at my talk page, but I have had trouble setting an email address, so it won't let you. To discuss this article, though, you want to bring things up on this page. I actually haven't contributed to the article much. I may have fixed a typo or something, but that's about it. So contacting me about this article may not be the best idea! On the other hand, those look like good points to me. As with so much else on Wikipedia, the main problem is referencing. I don't seem to be able to find good information on the web about any of this. Might have to resort to—horror!—books! Hope this helps. Telsa (talk) 19:33, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I have added a sentence in brackets to make the point that pupils could sometimes transfer from SM schools to grammar schools at around age 17 in order to study for A-levels. I base this purely on personal knowledge, because I recall that at my own grammar school in Essex in the 1960s there was a (small) inflow of SM pupils every year for this reason. But I don't know of any statistics on the numbers involved nationally. [David Burbridge, 16 Sept 2007] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:14, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Controversy - Communists?[edit]

From the Controversy section: "For example, judging candidates on their ability to recite the succesion to the throne, their fencing and soggy biscuit playing abilities and also how many Communists they had excuted whilst serving in the White Army during the Russian Civil War made it easier for middle class children to pass the exam and also conveniently weeded out those from less wealthy or less educated backgrounds."

I am assuming this is nonsense. If someone has better, correctly-spelled alternatives, please be bolder than I am.Shouriki 02:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Scratch that, I've replaced it with a section from this history version. But still have a look, this isn't an area I'm that bright in.Shouriki 02:56, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

The continuation of the eleven-plus has been a sectarian issue in Northern Ireland, with Unionists(mainly Protestant)supporting the exams continued usage and Nationalists(mainly Catholics)opposed. Can someone add some information explaining this ? Ken Burch 05:29, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


The Sampson reference is to 'anatomy of britain today' not 'modern britain' but i'm unsure how to fix it —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sarahjeantaylor (talkcontribs) 21:19, 26 April 2007 (UTC).

Age group[edit]

The age group of the takers is not 11-12, but 10-11. I was 10 when I took it. perhaps this sentence should be taken out? or perhaps it should be said that the age of 11-12 is that which is gained by the time the school is actually attended (I was 11 by the time next September came around. I took the test in November.)

Jake the Editor Man (talk) 21:23, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

There's a lot of confusion because as far as I can see, the state sector has never had uniformity of transfer ages across the country and changes over the years just increase the lay confusion. See Three-tier education for the wide variety around. Timrollpickering (talk) 12:07, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
As you say, it's the age of entry rather than of testing. I've tried to clarify the wording. Kanguole 14:13, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Controversy NPOV/Weasel Words[edit]

The Controversy section is not presented from a neutral point of view. It is written as if the 11+ was or is necessarily a bad thing. It also uses a classic non-sequitur when it states (as fact) that because of the 35%/10% difference in pass rates between the South West and Nottinghamshire, the results must have been determined other than by ability. You can only make such a statement if you assume that the population of the South West at the time of the quoted results was equally academically gifted as the population of Nottinghamshire, and since even today those parts of the country have quite different demographics, it seems unreasonable to make such an unwarranted assumption.

It is also full of weasel-words; indeed, it even uses the classic "critics say" that is one of the first things listed on Wikipedia's Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words page. In a couple of cases, weasel-words have been used to include disparaging remarks about the middle classes (for instance, the part about how middle-class opposition to the eleven plus exam came about because of "greater fairness" in the exam itself).—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:48, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Response to second paragraph (I have enclosed it by exclamation marks). This is very badly argued. Differences in exam results are not simply due to being `academically gifted' but to difference in ability, motivation and attitude of teachers and pupils. Pupils will be influenced by parents, employers and society (yes it does exist) to value and respond to educational opportunities in different and not always cnstructive ways. Inherent ability, which is a vague concept, will be masked by many factors. A good teacher will try hard to over come these. I passed the 11+ in the mid-60's, but my contemporaries who did not were devastated with a sense of failure and resentment that stayed with them for years. This is the only argument needed for the abolition of this simplistic anti-educational test. Barney Bruchstein (talk) 17:13, 27 December 2010 (UTC)


I dispute the comment about the Eleven Plus being more important than the SATs, especially considering SATs are not designed to measure a pupil's actual ability, but instead their teachers' performance.

That seems to me a judgement; that testing pupil's ability is more important than testing standards in the English teaching profession. Should judgements be in a supposedly impartial encyclopedia?

Ginger Warrior (talk) 12:20, 26 February 2008 (UTC)Ginger Warrior

Different entrance criteria for the sexes?[edit]

It was my understanding that in areas where the Secondary Modern and the Grammar schools were mixed sex that the 11+ results had to be adjusted to allow approximately equal numbers of boys and girls to enter the Grammar school because, in the 10 to 12 age range, girls tend to outperform boys and that, without an adjustment, the Grammar schools would have been predominantly female institutions. Unfortunately I can find no references to this but if something can be found I think it would be important to add something about this in the main page. Colin Mill (talk) 19:17, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Was it really ended in 1976?[edit]

I was 11 in 1981, and remember taking 11+ exams in Dorset.. So I think this article may be incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:41, 18 July 2008 (UTC)


At the moment I can't find suitable references, but when I took the 11+ back in 1964 (and the 10+ the year before, which was regarded as a "mock" 11+), the results decided two things.

If your marks fell below a certain level, you qualified for attendance at a secondary modern school (also known as "comprehensives").

If they were high enough to qualify you for attendance at a grammar school, a second threshold came into play - the "stream".

There were two streams: "a" and "b". The topmost performers would be classed as "a", while the remainder (those whose marks fell below the "a" requirement but still lay above the requirement for secondary modern) were classed as "b".

This streaming mapped to the first year of grammar school in which there were two "forms" labeled "IIIa" and "IIIb". If you fell into the "a" stream you were assigned to form IIIa, otherwise to form IIIb.

Thereafter annual performance exams would determine whether the pupil stayed in the same stream for the next year or was promoted/demoted to the other stream. This process continued through years labeled Lower IV, Upper IV, Lower V and Upper V until "O" levels at about age 15.

Streaming ended at that point - the two form years following Upper V (Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth) that led to "AO" and "A" levels did not have streams.

If anyone can find acceptable references I think a brief discussion of streaming would be a useful addition to the article. AncientBrit (talk) 20:19, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Regarding Contradiction.[edit]

A contradiction tag was placed on the article on 00:35, 22 December 2008 EvilFred (talk | contribs) (11,208 bytes) ("The 'Eleven Plus' ... is now only used in a number of counties and boroughs in England, and, more widely, in Northern Ireland" vs "the system was phased out in Northern Ireland in 2008"). Tag was removed for the following:

That the information was at one time outdated did not make it contradictory as the Eleven plus exam is still in use in some areas for other reasons than originally intended. Instead of placing a contradict tag, perhaps correct the outdated information. Thanks so much on the hard work with this article. Kjnelan (talk) 18:04, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Confusion and some "missing" information[edit]

From this page - and in general - I am not sure what the "status" (if that is the right word) of the 11plus is. Some particular questions I have are:

  • Is there "a" syllabus or many different ones ? (References - Links)
  • Is there a body (bodies) that standardise it authorises it? (References - Links) It is categorised as a Standardised test in the UK but I can't see evidence of it being stnadardised
  • Is it just a label given to any general exam used for admission to some schools at age 11?

All I have found in searching the web is some books and sites that offer to sell materials to help with it but no evidence about. There is something about [| NFER]. But they seem to be acting as someone who is commisioned by schools or some LEAs to produce tests for the Schools. So the tests are owned by the Schools. (Msrasnw (talk) 09:45, 11 September 2009 (UTC))

Possible to change to opening paragraph[edit]

I would like to change the opening paragraph to:

In the United Kingdom, the 11-plus or Eleven plus is a name given to an examination administered to some students in their last year of primary education. The Eleven Plus examination was once used throughout the UK but is now only used in a number of counties and boroughs in England. The exam no longer has any formal status within the UK national education system, and there is no standardised syllabus which it examines nor is it regulated by any national bodies.

Does anyone have any specific problems with this? The reason for this change is that I had though the eleven plus was like other nationally authenticated school exams. But it does not seem to be. Questions I have are:

    • Is there "a" syllabus or many different ones ? (References - Links)
    • Is there a body (bodies) that standardise it authorises it? (References - Links) It is categorised as a Standardised test in the UK but I can't see evidence of it being stnadardised
    • Is it just a label given to any general exam used for admission to some schools at age 11? (Msrasnw (talk) 15:18, 14 October 2009 (UTC))
Hi Msrasnw, The change you had made to the lead and which I have reverted back and which you have now posted in slightly revised form here is not correct. The 11+ exam relates to one key aspect of the selection process determining entry into certain schools (Grammar Schools) at secondary level in those Local Authorities and schools in the UK which require it. It has therefore a formal/ legal status given to it by those admission authorities who apply it.
You wording in the above relating to syllabus is also not accurate as the pupose of the 11+ is not to examime against a syllabus but to assess certain aspects of the 'aptitude' of students sitting the test. There is one nationally approved syllabus in operation in the UK for key stage 2 pupils:- the national curriculum, but like admission tests in most situations as opposed to qualification tests or exams e.g. GCSE's A-Levels Highers etc etc, which I guess you are thinking of, the purpose of the 11 plus is not to examine capability in the curriculum.
NFER is the nationally recognised not for profit organisation used by the vast majority/ nearly all local authorities to research verify and develop the exam papers which are published by GL Assessment. There is no legal requirement for statutory regulation, however the governance of NFER is regulated under relevant legislation, so the last phrase is at best redundant and inclusion would introduce some level of bias as per WP:POV into the statement.
The body of the article is in need of some refreshment but is not on my personal hotlist at the moment. Hope this helps as a starting point at least Tmol42 (talk) 16:41, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Intelligence Citations Bibliography for Articles Related to IQ Testing[edit]

I have posted a bibliography of Intelligence Citations for the use of all Wikipedians who have occasion to edit articles on human intelligence and related issues. I happen to have circulating access to a huge academic research library at a university with an active research program in those issues (and to another library that is one of the ten largest public library systems in the United States) and have been researching these issues since 1989. You are welcome to use these citations for your own research and to suggest new sources to me by comments on that page. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 20:03, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Controversy: Middle Class?[edit]

Is it true that middle-class families in the U.K. commonly have servants? This is not true in the U.S., where only movie stars and families with great wealth can afford long-term servants. It has been common for the last few decades for wealthy Americans to call themselves "middle class." This is confusing, at best. Donfbreed (talk) 05:14, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

No, nowadays it would be very unusual for middle-class families in the UK to have servants, although perhaps this was true earlier, e.g. 1950s? (talk) 09:33, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Given it's not a particularly viable source for this, there's a Catherine Tate sketch in which the ideal middle class family have to dramatically call for their 'nanny' or 'help' at one point, I think this was due to them getting jam on the floor or something. The point of this is that where middle class families previously had a housemaid, a cook and various other servants they will now probably use a part-time 'helper' instead. (talk)

I know this is late. Up until the 1920's, then yes, but after the depression, so by the 1940's no. -- (talk) 19:00, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Influence of false research[edit]

Somwhere in an A-Level Psychology lesson when talking about socially-sensitive research, I distinctly remember my teacher saying that a psychologist called Bert, who's research was during the 1920s I think, heavily influenced the design of the Eleven-Plus. But we were then told that it was discovered that his findings were completely false and that he'd invented them in order to receive credit to his name. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:39, 24 November 2010 (UTC).

That's Cyril Burt. Kanguole 10:52, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

removing POV tag with no active discussion per Template:POV[edit]

I've removed an old neutrality tag from this page that appears to have no active discussion per the instructions at Template:POV:

This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. Remove this template whenever:
  1. There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved
  2. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given
  3. In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

Since there's no evidence of ongoing discussion, I'm removing the tag for now. If discussion is continuing and I've failed to see it, however, please feel free to restore the template and continue to address the issues. Thanks to everybody working on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 15:23, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Current situation - counties?[edit]

The article refers to areas of the country that still use the 11-plus as "counties", but this is not strictly true. For instance, it is my understanding that it is still used in the cities of Plymouth and Birmingham, but not in the surrounding areas of Devon and the West Midlands. I believe the division is along local council administrative boundaries, i.e. whichever is appropriate of city council, county council or unitary authority for any given location. (talk) 13:59, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

There are definitely places in the West Midlands outside of Birmingham that use it. Wolverhampton for one. I don't have personal knowledge of the South West, but a cursory search reveals that there are indeed grammar schools in Devon outside Plymouth. (talk) 18:41, 27 October 2013 (UTC)