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Intelligence Tests (Coaching)

Volume 499: debated on Thursday 24 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Education what advice her expert advisers have given to local educational authorities on intelligence tests for grammar school entrants and methods of guarding against the falsification of those tests by coaching.

As I indicated in the reply I gave on 6th March to the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), I should prefer to leave local education authorities to work out methods for determining the most suitable secondary education for each child. It has been suggested to some authorities who have informally sought advice that a limited amount of practice and coaching for intelligence tests might be allowed in schools.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, while nobody wishes to interfere with the freedom of the local authorities in this matter, it is simply a question, as indeed my right hon. Friend indicated, that certain local authorities would welcome advice because they were first told that coaching was not possible and it now turns out that in some cases it is possible; and they themselves are very anxious for some guidance as to how they can get round that difficulty?

As I have said, if local authorities have asked for suggestions, we have suggested that a limited amount of practice and coaching for the intelligence tests might be allowed in schools, but the responsibility for the decision rests with the local authorities.

Can the Minister say what are the qualifications of her expert advisers on this matter, and can they pass intelligence tests?

I think that the guidance I have had has been from Her Majesty's Inspectors.