Extract from an Education Department draft circular on the introduction of 11+ exam, July 1945 (ED 147/134)
2. Special Place Examination. In paragraph 27 of the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction the Minister stated that in the future children at the age of about 11 should be classified, not on the results of a competitive test, but on an assessment of their individual aptitude largely by such means as school records, supplemented, if necessary, by intelligence tests, due regard being had to their parents’ wishes and the careers they have in mind. The conclusions of the Norwood Committee in this matter deserve careful attention and the question has also been discussed in paragraphs 98-103 of “The Nation’s Schools”. In some respects Educational pamphlet No.63 on “Examinations for Scholarships and Free Places in Secondary Schools” together with the Supplementary Memorandum on “Examinations for scholarships and Free Places in Secondary Schools” issued in July, 1936, contain material which is of value to a consideration of the problem.
3. The following general principles may be accepted:-
a) Carefully devised objective and standardised tests are needed to asses intelligence and to indicate aptitude with a sufficient degree of accuracy:
b) Tests must not be such as could dominate or even materially influence curriculum and methods in the primary school, the aims of which must be the full and appropriate development of the personalities and capabilities of individual children up to age of 11:
c) Weight should be given to the judgements of teachers supported by carefully maintained records of individual children.
For the present at any rate some form of qualifying examination will often be necessary and, where the provision of places of a particular type is not adequate, such an examination inevitably becomes competitive. Further research into the process of selection is, however, clearly necessary and is already being undertaken. Local Authorities are asked to experiment and to keep careful records of the subsequent performance of pupils. The Minister proposes to publish from time to time such information as becomes available for the assistance of local authorities and he will also arrange for the problem to be discussed with teachers and others at short courses.