Delta Module One
Understanding language, methodology and resources for teaching
Examination Report June 2009
Contents 1 2 Comments on Overall Performance ............................................................................................... 4 Delta Module One Markscheme ..................................................................................................... 5 2.1 2.2 2.3 3 Distribution of marks .............................................................................................................. 5 Markscheme for each task ..................................................................................................... 5 Grading................................................................................................................................... 6
Paper 1 Task 1................................................................................................................................ 8 3.1 3.2 Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................... 8 Candidate performance.......................................................................................................... 8
Paper 1 Task 2................................................................................................................................ 9 4.1 4.2 4.3 Guideline answer ................................................................................................................... 9 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 12 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 12
Paper 1 Task 3.............................................................................................................................. 15 5.1 5.2 5.3 Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................. 15 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 16 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 16
Paper 1 Task 4.............................................................................................................................. 19 6.1 6.2 6.3 Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................. 20 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 25 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 26
Paper 1 Task 5.............................................................................................................................. 31 7.1 7.2 7.3 Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................. 31 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 32 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 33
Paper 2 Task 1.............................................................................................................................. 37 8.1 8.2 8.3 Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................. 37 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 39 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 40
Paper 2 Task 2.............................................................................................................................. 43
9.1 9.2 9.3 10
Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................. 43 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 45 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 46
Paper 2 Task 3.............................................................................................................................. 50 Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................. 50 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 50 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 51
10.1 10.2 10.3 11
Paper 2 Task 4.............................................................................................................................. 53 Guideline Answer ................................................................................................................. 53 Candidate performance........................................................................................................ 55 Sample Answers .................................................................................................................. 56
11.1 11.2 11.3
1 Comments on Overall Performance The second Delta Module One examination was taken by candidates from 51 centres in a wide range of countries. Some candidates had taken courses where they were studying all three Delta modules. Other candidates studied for Module One only. There was considerable variation in pass rates at different centres but at a large majority of centres candidate mean scores were above half the marks available for the exam, as they were for the candidature as a whole. In the UK, where the candidature was similar to that of the old DELTA, the pass rate was at 82% very similar to December 2008. Over a third of passing candidates gained merit or above. However, approximately one fifth of candidates did not obtain a pass grade, their answers showing that they did not have the depth or range of knowledge required at DELTA level. There was little difference in candidate performance on the two papers with the mean scores and the discrimination for each being very similar. The wide spread of marks obtained across the two papers indicated that the exam discriminated well. Examiners commented that many candidates showed evidence of appropriate training and that they had clearly taken on board the advice given in the December 08 exam report. They also commented that the standard of the December 08 and June 09 exams was similar. This is borne out in the scores achieved. Candidates performed slightly better in June 09 than they had done in December 08 when the modular DELTA was first introduced. Generally speaking, candidates managed to complete the exam in time with there being few signs of rushed or incomplete answers. Layout of answers was much improved on the December session but weaker candidates continued to provide information not required by the questions. Please see each task for examiner comments on individual task performance. General advice Candidates are advised to make use of the suggested times given on the question papers to complete each question. The times relate to the number of marks available for the questions. They are also advised to read question rubrics very carefully, perhaps underlining or highlighting key points they contain. It is essential that candidates provide the information asked for and do not provide unrequested information. While no marks are deducted for wrong or irrelevant answers, candidate time is wasted and no marks are gained by providing unrequested information. Candidates are also advised to take note of the layout and formats of the guideline answers in this report. They will see that the use of bullet points and grids is quite acceptable. Using these can save time and add to the clarity of answers. Finally, they should clearly label their answers, showing what task or part of a task they are answering.
Delta Module One Markscheme
2.1 Distribution of marks In Delta Module One, candidates accumulate marks across questions and it is the total numbers of marks obtained across the two papers that decides which grade a candidate is awarded. Candidates do not therefore gain a grade for each task. Answers are marked against a detailed markscheme containing guideline answers, with candidates being awarded marks for each correct answer given. The number of marks available for each task is as follows: Paper 1 Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 Task 4 Task 5 Total 6 12 15 40 27 100
Paper 2 Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 Task 4 Total 20 30 10 40 100
Points made twice within an answer are not credited twice and no marks are deducted for wrong answers. Please note that relevant alternative wordings and examples are accepted.
Markscheme for each task
Paper 1 Task 1 One mark is awarded for each correct answer. Paper 1 Task 2 A total of three marks are available per answer: one mark for the basic definition one mark for a further point made
one mark for a correct example Note: The further point is only awarded if the basic definition is correct; only one further point is allowed per question; the example can be awarded a point, even if the definition is not correct. Paper 1 Task 3 One mark is awarded for each subskill / feature of discourse correctly identified A further two marks are awarded for each correct example / illustration. Paper 1 Task 4 One mark is awarded for each point correctly made up to a maximum of 40 points Note: in a, a mark is only awarded if a correct example is given. Paper 1 Task 5 a One mark is awarded for each strength correctly identified up to a maximum of three marks One mark is awarded for each example from the text illustrating the strength identified, up to a maximum of three marks One mark is awarded for each weakness correctly identified up to a maximum of three marks One mark is awarded for each example from the text illustrating the weakness identified, up to a maximum of three marks The 12 marks available for identifying and exemplifying strengths and weaknesses are weighted to 17 marks. In addition up to 4 additional marks are awarded for knowledge and insight into why and how the strengths and weaknesses aid or negate the effectiveness of the text. b
One mark is awarded for each justification given for the weakness prioritised, up to three marks. One additional mark is awarded for each justification that is fully developed.
Paper 2 Task 1 One mark is awarded for each positive / negative identified. An additional mark is awarded for each positive / negative identified if the application to the learner is also identified Up to two additional marks are awarded for accurate use of testing terminology throughout the answer. The 14 marks available are weighted to a total of 20 marks. Paper 2 Task 2 Two marks are awarded for each purpose correctly identified One mark is awarded for each assumption listed; up to two additional marks are awarded for each explanation of an assumption. Paper 2 Task 3 One mark is awarded for each correct point made, up to maximum of 10. Paper 2 Task 4 Two marks are awarded for each correct point made, up to maximum of 40.
2.3 Grading The purpose of grading is to determine candidates’ overall grades, based on the total score gained across the two papers. Results are recorded as three passing grades (Pass with Distinction, Pass with Merit, Pass) and one failing grade (Fail). At the end of the marking process, there is a grading meeting to determine precisely how many marks are required to obtain each of the passing grades. The grade boundaries are set in a way that ensures that the level of knowledge required to obtain the three passing grades: is consistent with the band descriptors on page 7 of the Delta Modules Handbook is the same from one session to the next
does not vary as a result of slight variations in the difficulty of the papers
The following information is used in the grading process: statistics on the candidature comparison with statistics from previous years’ examination performance and candidature recommendations of examiners, based on the performance of candidates The marks required to obtain each grade are: Pass Pass with Merit Pass with Distinction approximately 50% approximately 65% approximately 75%
Paper 1 Task 1
Provide the term for each definition. Provide only one answer per question. a a feature of connected speech when a sound changes to another sound because of a neighbouring sound e.g. in ten boys /n/ followed by /b/ changes to /m/ as in /tembɔɪz/ a word which is opposite in meaning to another one, for example adjectives such as big – small or verbs such as arrive – leave a test which compares test takers to each other rather than against external criteria a procedure in which students create a text by planning, drafting, revising, editing and then publishing or sharing it with others verbs which are used to support another verb in a sentence and have a grammatical function such as showing tense, aspect, person, voice and mood e.g. be, do, have, will, may, can language used by speakers to avoid frequent, long or silent pauses, to hold the floor, gain thinking time etc. e.g. er, um, well, you know Guideline Answer assimilation (an) antonym (a) norm referenced / related (test) / (a) normative (test) / NRT process writing / a process approach auxiliary verbs / auxiliaries / auxiliary pause fillers / fillers / hesitators / hesitation devices / hesitation strategies / filler expressions / discourse fillers / conversation fillers Candidate performance
3.1 a b c d e f
This question was well answered. The majority of candidates obtained four or more marks and many obtained full marks. The better answered questions were b, d and e while weaker answers were for a, c and f, perhaps indicating that candidates are less familiar with terms related to phonology, assessment and discourse than they are with grammatical, lexical or methodological terms. Stronger answers simply gave the required term while weaker candidates sometimes provided various alternative answers and / or an example, or other information about the term. This wastes candidates’ time and gains them no extra marks. In fact, if one alternative answer is right and the other wrong they will not be awarded a mark.
Candidates are recommended to: only write the required term, not giving an example or any extra information only provide alternative answers when they are sure both answers are right; alternatives are not required however spell terms correctly; a very limited number of alternative spellings are accepted lay out their answers clearly as e.g. in the Guideline Answers. Given that this task required one- or two-word answers, no sample answers are provided for commentary.
Paper 1 Task 2
Provide a definition and an appropriate brief example or illustration for four of the terms below.
a b c d e f
syntax bound morpheme compound words TPR (Total Physical Response) tonic syllable genre
Guideline answer Syntax words are ordered/connected in clauses/sentences words fit together clauses/sentences are constructed to make meaning
Basic Definition (the study) of the way in which word order
Further Point a major component of the grammar of a language syntax + morphology = grammar syntax varies from one language to another syntax plays major role in English syntax was important focus in grammar translation approach adds to cohesion Example In English the basic order of sentence elements is Subject – Verb – Object / adverbs of frequency usually precede verb / wh. qu. forms: wh word + auxiliary + subject + infinitive
Bound morpheme meaningful grammatical unit in a language word which cannot stand on its own
Basic Definition The smallest
Further Point can change the word class and/or meaning can be used lexically (derivational morphemes) or grammatically (inflectional morphemes) there are also free morphemes in some languages there are infixes Example (Prefixes such as) un- and de- / (suffixes such as) –ly and –ity; (inflections such as) –s, -ed, -ing
Basic Definition A (new) word created by combining two (or more) words/nouns/adjectives/prepositions/adverbs/verbs (if candidate specifies parts of speech, they must mention at least two) Further Point (Compound words ) can be nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions (candidate needs to mention 2 kinds of parts of speech to gain point) (Compound words ) can be hyphenated or non-hyphenated (or written as one word) They differ in meaning from individual components st Stress placement can cause difficulties for learners / is usually on 1 word in noun compounds Example memory stick / brand name / over-ambitious / website / downsize/ single-handedly/ into
TPR (Total Physical Response)
Basic Definition (a methodology/approach in which) students respond to instructions/language with action (in order to mediate / reinforce learning) Further Point progresses from observation, to listen and respond, to speaking students are under no pressure to speak / a silent period is allowed based on theories of how children learn L1 reception comes before production often associated with lower levels / young learners / kinaesthetic learners developed by Asher / in 1970’s associated with comprehensible input / comprehension approach (Krashen) informed by / shares principles with the natural approach (NOT the same as) Example The teacher says ‘jump’ and students jump, then students say ‘jump’ (if they’re ready) and other students jump.
Basic Definition the syllable in a tone unit / utterance / sentence which carries the main stress / is the start of the main pitch / intonation movement the prominent syllable in a tone unit Further Point also known as nucleus / nuclear stress tone unit includes onset / tail / pre-head generally higher in pitch / longer / louder than the surrounding syllables. (often) the most important content word Example I live in London/ I live in London
Basic Definition distinguished by/with specific features a text type a type/style/kind a specific type of text a type of discourse Further Point spoken or written may be features of organisation / vocabulary / grammar / register / style/ layout(candidates need to provide at least two of these features) (spoken or written) discourse used by members of a particular culture or group a set of (recognised) conventions useful to raise students awareness of genre because helps with writing/speaking skills etc. (must be a valid reason) Example formal letters, anecdotes, informal telephone conversations
4.2 Candidate performance Candidate scores ranged widely on this task with the mean obtained being slightly higher than half marks. Candidates performed considerably better on this task than they had in December 08 and tended to lay out their answers more clearly by making using of bullet points. Stronger candidates provided a correct definition, example and item of extra information about the term. Weaker candidates generally gave no extra information, were vague or imprecise in their definition and gained marks only by giving a correct example. Some candidates also failed to follow the rubric and answered six rather than four questions. This uses up time which would be better spent providing full and accurate information for the four required answers. More specific points on content: a) syntax – mostly well answered although a few candidates equated ‘syntax’ with ‘grammar’ and simply parsed a sentence, identifying each grammatical item. b) bound morpheme – less well answered as candidates needed to identify two parts to the basic definition: that it is the smallest unit of meaning or grammar which cannot stand alone. Sometimes candidates contradicted themselves, saying it was the smallest meaningful unit and then stating a sentence later that it was meaningless. Some candidates only identified the ‘bound’ part of the term, starting their definition by saying that it is ‘a morpheme that…’ c) compound words – generally adequately answered although some candidates seemed to think that all compounds are nouns. d) TPR – this was the weakest answer. Where strong candidates obviously understood the method and its underlying principles, weaker candidates equated it with an appeal to kinaesthetic learners through using physical actions in the class or gave a description which was linked to behaviourism or the direct method. Their answers lacked precision. e) tonic syllable - generally well answered. Stronger answers contained a full answer and analysed features such as the onset and the tail around the syllable itself. Many weak answers wrote about word stress rather than the tonic syllable. f) most candidates were able to identify ‘genre’ as a text type. However, some thought it only applied to writing and because of this, obtained no marks for the definition. Candidates are recommended to: only write about four terms give a basic definition, an example and one item of further information for each term lay their answers out clearly, using bullet points, as e.g. in the Guideline Answer. 4.3 4.3.1 Sample Answers The following answers all gained full marks for these definitions a. Syntax Definition: The way in which words are ordered in a sentence/ an utterance. Further information: This changes whether the sentence is positive, negative or interrogative. Different languages have different syntax. Example: I am moving to Australia/Am I moving to Australia? (Subject verb object/inversion of subject and auxiliary verb to create interrogative form) c )Compound words that are made up of 2 or more words, but that have independent meaning eg “wastepaper bin”.
d)TPR – a method which involves the learners doing actions for example teaching imperative “Close the door” and the learner actually closes the door. It is good for lower levels & younger learners, although its use for more complex, abstract tenses and structures is difficult to see how it would work. Generally the teacher starts off by giving directions and then learners start giving to their peers. e)A tonic syllable is the syllable in a sentence which holds the main stress and signals a change in pitch. e.g. He probably went there f)Genre – Used in discourse analysis to describe different text types, written or spoken. For example film reviews, prayers, novels. Different genres can be recognised by different aspects of the text, such as layout, content, tenor, style, lexis, grammar etc.
Examiner’s comments on sample answers All these answers are full but succinct. They give a definition, example and extra information. It is helpful for candidates to label the different parts of their answer as one candidate above has done.
The following sample answers gained some of the marks available for this task a) Syntax : The conventions of a language in terms of word order. English has the syntactic convention of subject + verb + object. Syntax the correct order of words in a normally written sentence. e.g. “I haven’t the time got” is incorrect “I haven’t got the time” is correct.
Bound Morpheme b) the smallest unit of meaning in language. eg. The prefix pre, although it is not used (normally) in isolation, when combined with some words it comes to mean before, so the word pre-war means before the war. (WWII) b) Bound Morpheme: The smallest unit of meaning that cannot be used alone. E.g. the suffix ‘-ly’ has the function of denoting an adverb (usually), but must be affixed to an adjective to perform this function. ‘quiet’ ‘quietly’. compound words words which are formed by combining, separate words, for example “timetable” is formed from “time” and “table” Tonic Syllable: Denotes the principle stress in a tone unit. E.g. “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts” The tonic syllable is cỏconuts.
Examiner’s comments on sample answers These answers are accurate but provide no extra information.
The following sample answers were awarded no marks Syntax – The syntax is similar to the register. It described the style of writing or speaking and is dependent on the reader/listener or the purpose of the text. An example would be the use of formal syntax in a letter or complaint. Syntax – Syntax is the study of structure in language as opposed to meaning. Syntax is concerned with the structure of phrases, clauses and sentences. e.g. TPR – TPR is a teaching approach that assumes adults and L2 learners learn in a way similar to small children. The approach places an emphasis on input, and for a long period of time learners do not speak during lessons. Genre – Genre is a piece of written or spoken discourse used or recognised by a particular culture or subculture.
Examiner’s comments on sample answers These answers give inaccurate or vague definitions, and/or do not contain examples.
Paper 1 Task 3
The extract for this task is a speaking activity for pre-intermediate level learners. Identify a total of five key speaking subskills/features of discourse that learners at this level would need in order to complete the activity successfully. Provide an example specific to this activity to support each choice. 5.1 Guideline Answer clarifying what you have said / asking for clarification / paraphrasing / circumlocution / repair / negotiation of meaning Example: I mean … / Do you mean you believe…? / I don’t know how to say it but it’s the thing that you do when…. expressing /asking for / giving reasons for / supporting opinions Example: I think… / In my opinion… / It’s wrong/right that… / For me… / What do you think? / …because… / …in order to… agreeing/disagreeing Example: I’m sorry, I don’t agree / I’m not sure about that / Yes, you’re right / Yes, maybe you’re right summarising / reporting / presenting results Example: Everyone in our group agreed that… / No one in our group thought that… / We all thought that…. use of modals (to express obligation/possibility/ability) Example: children should(n’t) / I can’t understand English people when they speak fast / you really mustn’t use your phone use of zero/first conditional (for giving reasons or examples) Example; . (because) if/when children play computer games they don’t spend time with their friends. comparatives. Example: English grammar is more difficult than German. using reported speech Example: Jose said that he thought computer games are bad for children. using causative linkers and conjunctions Example: because (causative conjunctions) question forms / tag questions / indirect questions Example: what happens in your country? range of appropriate lexis/collocations relevant to the topic. Example: for 1: seeing friends / making friends / social skills; for 2 annoying / irritating / makes me angry / disturbs me; for 3 grammar / pronunciation / vocabulary language for talking about quantities Example: Half of us / about 20% of us / the majority of us knowledge and use of appropriate discourse structure Example: initiating / closing / asking for an opinion) expressing an opinion, responding to the opinion expressed / adjacency pairs (an opinion needs an agreement / disagreement) / initiatingclosing a conversation
language and strategies for keeping the conversation going Example: back-channelling / inviting others to speak / recognising (falling) intonation to indicate someone has finished speaking/ interrupting / using discourse markers to manage conversation / using hesitation devices /fillers / turn taking
5.2 Candidate performance This task was well answered, obtaining high mean scores. Candidates’ answers tended to be stronger than those in December 08 as they provided examples specific to the task. Weaker answers tended not to show awareness of a range of discourse features or speaking subskills specific to the task e.g. they focussed on turn-taking and functions within it, or they discussed general speaking skills e.g. fluency or gave examples inappropriate to the specified level of students (pre-intermediate in this case), occasionally used wording from the extract or did not seem to have read the extract carefully enough. Stronger answers discussed a range of features including functional areas such as giving opinions, strategies such as clarifying and paraphrasing, involving other students through, e.g. back-channelling or turn-taking, and linguistic features such as lexis for the topic or the use of modals or causative linkers. Strong answers also contained examples directly relevant to this specific speaking task and to the specified level of student.
Candidates are recommended to: read the rubric carefully only discuss what the rubric requires make sure their answers cover a range of relevant subskills and discourse features make sure their answers, including examples, are specific to the activity described in the task always give examples and avoid repeating any one example make sure examples fully support points made avoid repeating any of the wording of the extract in their answers specify their points precisely simply list the points they wish to make, avoiding any introduction, summary or conclusion. use a bullet point or similar format when answering.
Sample Answers The following sample answer gained full marks
3 1 Language of opinion Students will have to use basic phrases to show their opinions of topics given e.g: “In my opinion, I think that English is an easy language to learn…” 2 Agreeing/Disagreeing Students will have to either agree or disagree with the sentences given, but could also use the same language to agree or disagree with each other. e.g. “I don’t agree with you, I think it’s difficult” 3 Formation of Questions learners are encouraged to transform the main sentences into questions, and also to continue the conversations for one minute, so question formation is a necessary skill e.g. “What do you think about leaning English?”
“Do you think computer games are bad?” 4 Parataxis In basic conversations, learners will have to link their ideas together, using co-ordinating conjunctions such as and or but, and sub-ordinating conjunctions such as because and so; This will help them give reasons for their opinions. e.g. “I think English is easy because you can learn it everywhere” 5 Summarising learners are asked in question b) to tell the class what they agreed/disagreed with, which will require basic language of summarising. eg. “Everybody agreed with 1), but we disagreed about English being easy” Examiner’s comments on sample answer This answer refers to a range of functions, to grammar, and lexis that are relevant to the specified task. It also gives succinct examples at a level appropriate for the specified students. The answer is very clearly presented. 5.3.2 The following sample answer gained over half of the marks available for this task Learners (Ls) should be aware of turn-taking skills. Notice rise & fall in intonation patterns in order to know when the speaker has reached a completion point, so there won’t be a break down of meaning Ls should have a negotiation of meaning. Mutual understanding. Back-channelling could be used by the listener for confirmation of understanding Ls should use compensating and repair strategies to show fluency and flexibility re starts / circomlocution eg paraphrasing / reformulation Appropriate exponent in interaction Adjacency pairs - So what do you think … - Concerning Computer games … Formulating questions correctly to gather required information / completion of task. Do you think people should use …? eg Is English easy to learn? Skills in presenting arguments and justifying opinion Cause and Effect Language.
Examiner’s comments on sample answer This answer covers a range of discourse management skills, though some of them are rather vague and repetitive e.g. ‘a negotiation of meaning, mutual understanding’. The candidate makes good use of bullet points to move on to new subskills / discourse features but does not always distinguish clearly between points and their examples. Some examples are also either incomplete or missing. 5.3.3 The following sample answer obtained few marks
Learners would need to be able to interact with their peers. For this they’ll need to use such features as spontaneity, involving making questions based on the statement in task a) as well as being
able to provide logical answers to the question and produce a kind of monologue. For this lexical range resource is important, linkers to express logical development of their ideas, fluency markers They will need some interpersonal skills, such as being able to agree or disagree with their partner, indicate understanding, repeat and re ask in case of need for clarification. The learners would benefit from practice of discourse markers such as indicating contrast (on the one hand, on the other hand), conclusion (That’s why) examplifying (Take for example …) for a) and b) Mindmapping would be of help to help them with ideas, before doing a) & b) and generate a good range of lexis. As this will be a discussion, the learners will also need to practice turn-taking for task a). Examiner’s comments on sample answer While this answer contains some relevant points, such as forming questions, agreeing and disagreeing, asking for clarification, turn-taking, it is also vague in its specification of subskills e.g. ‘a kind of monologue’, ‘some interpersonal skills’. Few of the points are backed up by relevant examples and much of the final part of the answer is irrelevant as it discusses teaching considerations rather than language or discourse. It would also help the candidate to see what they have already said if the writing were broken down into bullet points or short paragraphs.
Paper 1 Task 4 The text is a human interest story from a popular newspaper. Identify five features of the text which are typical of this genre. Give one example of each feature you identify. You must include features of organisation and of language. (i) Look at this extract from the text (lines 1-3). Comment on the form and meaning/use of the words in bold as they are used in this text. Everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect and chances are this couple will have at least one good one ... (ii) Comment on the phonology of the following: at least one good one (line 3) Look at the following three extracts taken from the text, all of which contain the word would. Comment on the form and meaning/use of would in each case. So the couple decided that, if their families could not come to the wedding, the wedding would come to them. (lines 9-11) Mrs Feeney, 31, said the five ceremonies would cost them £7,000... (lines 13-15) I would certainly recommend having lots of weddings. (lines 34-35)
Look at this extract from the text. (i) Comment on the form and meaning/use of the word in bold. (ii) What problems might learners have with the form and meaning/use? ...a beach wedding attended by Mrs Feeney’s father, Peter (lines 28-29)
a Layout headline followed by body of the text / columns / accompanying photograph / caption / use of different fonts/sizes / first word in capitals / use of dashes short / sentence length paragraphs (e.g. paragraph 1)
Organisation first two sentences clarify headline and summarise text (i.e. paragraphs 1 and 2 explain 5 weddings and underlying reason). / Successive sentences add more detail (e.g. where the weddings will be and who will attend) / problem presented at the beginning with happy end at the end starts off with a home truth (everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect) ends with an evaluation / a quote from a participant (i.e. the bride’s advice recommending lots of weddings) describes events in chronological order / this parallels anecdotal approach to a story (i.e. background reasons, sequence of 5 weddings) one idea per paragraph
Grammatical/lexical direct speech / quotes to provide immediacy and comment (e.g. if something goes wrong I know there’s always another to get it right) reporting structures (e.g. ….decided that, if their families ……. /, Mrs Feeney, 31, said..) headline language (e.g. ellipsis – 5 for price of 1) clichés (e.g. grand tour, 5 for price of 1, if…could not come.., …would come to..) use of appropriate range of tenses for presenting a human-interest story (e.g. present simple, past simple, present continuous, will for future) NB candidate must mention 2 examples information dense sentences (e.g. Wedding dress number four will be packed off to Florida…)
Style humour (e.g. at least one perfect wedding, ‘misuse’ of clichés from other contexts – grand tour) informal/colloquial/spoken because of anecdotal nature (e.g. big bash, packed off, chances are)
Content Incidental information about people involved (e.g. age, hometown, names of parents) Facts interspersed with opinions and comments (e.g. The grand tour began….they should then) Surprise / cryptic element in headline / personalisation in headline (we’re) Shared cultural referencing (e.g. got down on one knee)
b (i) Look at this extract from the text (lines 1-3). Comment on the form and meaning/use of the words in bold as they are used in this text. Everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect and chances are this couple will have at least one good one ... ..at least one Form cardinal number determiner / quantifier followed by adjective and (singular) pronoun
Meaning / use specify/emphasise/state the (minimum) number/quantity of wedding days / weddings part of the common phrase ‘at least + numeral’
…good one Form pronoun (singular) indefinite object of sentence pre-modified by a determiner/quantifier + adjective
Meaning / use anaphoric reference to ‘wedding (day)’ avoids repetition / aids brevity by replacing ‘wedding (day)’ / substitution for ‘wedding (day)’ / helps cohesion does not refer to ‘their wedding day’ in line 1 but to wedding days in general used to play with words to help light style ‘one good one’ / play on sounds
(ii) Comment on the phonology of the following: at least one good one (line 3) (ii) Phonology /t/ in /æt/ glottal/elision/assimilation to /d/ elision of /t/ in /li:st/ schwa / weak sound /ə/ in ‘at’ assimilation ‘one good’ /wʌŋgud/, elision/assimilation/glottalisation ‘good one’ guwʌn/ /gubwʌn/ / / gu¿wʌn/ stress on ‘least’/‘good’/ first ‘one’
x is the onset / x is the prehead Look at the following three extracts taken from the text, all of which contain the word would. Comment on the form and meaning/use of would in each case.
c So the couple decided that, if their families could not come to the wedding, the wedding would come to them. (lines 9-11) Form modal (auxiliary/verb) would + infinitive without ‘to /, bare infinitive / base form past form of ‘will’
st reported/indirect speech / reported events 1 conditional / backshift from ‘If our families can’t.., wedding will come’ / ‘will’ changes to ‘would’
not contracted because of written genre
Meaning / use future in the past / being used to report events real possibility (i.e. 1st conditional) / to express intention/volition shows determination parallels ‘could’ in early part of sentence
Mrs Feeney, 31, said the five ceremonies would cost them £7,000... (lines 13-15) Form modal (auxiliary/verb) would + infinitive without ‘to’ / bare infinitive / base form past form of ‘will’ reported/indirect speech / reported events (said) / backshift from ‘..five ceremonies will cost’ / indirect speech not contracted because of written genre
Meaning / use future in the past / being used to report events a prediction / expression of certainty (will)
I would certainly recommend having lots of weddings. (lines 34-35) Form modal (auxiliary/verb) would + infinitive without ‘to/ bare infinitive/ base form past form of ‘will’
frequent collocation / (lexical) chunk / fixed expression (would + recommend) non contracted form often contracted in speech
Meaning / use refers to present time / expresses hypotheticality hedge / softener / less direct / more polite / to distance / more formal
d Look at this extract from the text. (i) Comment on the form and meaning/use of the word in bold. ...a beach wedding attended by Mrs Feeney’s father, Peter (lines 28-29) (i) Form past participle (of ‘attend’) regular (–ed) part of a (non defining) relative clause non-finite part of dependent / subordinate / embedded clause post-modifier of noun (wedding) ellipsis of relative pronoun ‘that/which’ / Reduced relative clause reduced passive structure / ellipsis of passive auxiliary (will be) part of a noun clause: ‘a beach wedding attended by Mrs Feeney’s father, Peter’ followed by agent (Mrs Feeney’s father)
Meaning / use be present at passive voice forefronting ‘beach wedding’ formal / written style of structures/verbs used allows for focus on agent ‘Mrs Feeney’s father, Peter’ often used in news reports (to save space) gives additional information about the beach wedding
What problems might learners have with the form and meaning/use?
past simple and past participle have same form here, so not clear which this is learners not sure how to use/understand ellipsis learners may include passive auxiliary (...a beach wedding will be attended) learners may use with active verb (Mrs Feeney’s father attended a beach wedding) learners may use subject pronoun (it) in clause passive can only be used with subject of clause / learners may attempt with object complex structure made up of several elements so difficult to manipulate accurately
Meaning / Use learners confused by ellipsis of relative pronoun and auxiliary passive meaning not clear from the structure / confusion with past time ‘attend’ is a false friend for learners with Latin-based L1s / may confuse with wait / pay attention / attend to learners may not realise ‘attend’ refers back to ‘wedding’ time reference not clear from non-finite verb learners may use ‘attend’ in informal spoken contexts where it is not commonly used in English students may spell ‘attend’ with only one ‘t’ problems with collocation with ‘attend’ e.g. attend to school / some indication of what the problem is
6.2 Candidate performance The quality of answers to this task varied widely. There were some very high scores and some extremely low ones. This was one of only two tasks in the exam on which candidates performed worse than in December 08. Many candidates gained less than half marks, partly because of inaccurate answers but also because of incomplete answers. Candidates should be advised to make as many points as possible in Task 4 (within the time available) as some weak answers were very skimpy in terms of content and number of points made. In relation to specific points on content: a Features of human interest story There were quite a few good answers here with most people able to identify the easier features connected with the layout, the short / one sentence paragraphs and various features of language such as the use of direct speech and informal lexis. Weaker candidates relied overmuch on the visual/layout issues, for example counting the headline, the font and the photo as three categories. This tendency was much less noticeable than in the December 08 exam answers, however, indicating successful exam training. Features generic to all types of articles were not credited, e.g. the use of lexical chains or cohesive devices such as referencing. Candidates need to make their answers specific to the genre given. at least one good one. Most candidates were able to identify the first ‘one’ as either a determiner or a quantifier although several were less secure on the second ‘one’ as a pronoun (candidate uncertainty about pronouns was an issue raised by the December 2008 paper also). Candidates were fairly secure on anaphoric referencing and substitution and had obviously had training in analysis of these types of reference. In some cases candidates could not be credited for potentially accurate points as they had not made it clear which of the two ‘one’s’ they were referring to. The phonological analysis was generally not strong: on the positive side, most candidates were able to identify where the stress could fall and also the presence of the schwa in ‘at’. Answers, however, often failed to support descriptions with the relevant phonemic transcription, for example mentioning the ‘elision of /t/’ but failing to show this in the transcription. Indeed often the transcription, done at the beginning of the answer, did not demonstrate the feature at all, e.g. ‘at least’ written with both /t/s in but given as an example of elision. Candidates need to know how to transcribe accurately the part of connected speech they refer to and to describe it using accurate terms. Centres are advised to offer training and practice in this, as well as in the accurate use of terms e.g. elision, assimilation, glottalisation. would Candidates sometimes did not separate out the three extracts on ‘would’ clearly enough and should be advised to do this, e.g. by numbering their analyses in order to make it transparent to the marker which sentence they are referring to. A good number of candidates were more exact in their analysis of form this session than in December in terms of identifying ‘would’ as a modal auxiliary followed by a ‘bare infinitive’ (or equivalent terminology). However, a significant number tried hard to describe the ‘woulds’ differently in each extract instead of seeing that the same form was being used. Most candidates were able to identify the use of reported speech in the first two extracts although a number stated it was the ‘second’ or hypothetical conditional where a clear reading of the text would have shown them this was not the meaning being used on these occasions. Candidates often analysed the meaning of ‘would recommend’ as being advice, i.e. identifying the meaning of the main verb rather than the modal. ‘attended’ This was perhaps the most weakly answered part of Task 4, possibly because although many candidates recognised that something had been omitted from a passive or a relative clause,
They also often missed giving a basic definition of the word ‘attend’ or how learners might be confused over this. However, many people did recognise problems/confusion over the time frame being alluded to. Quite a few candidates needed to take more care over exactly what had been ellipted (i.e. ‘will be attended’ rather than as they stated: ‘was attended’).
Candidates are recommended to: make their answers as detailed as is required, making as many points as possible, as indicated in the Guideline Answer make sure they consistently provide the full information required, including giving examples when asked for only comment on pronunciation/phonology in sections where it is specifically mentioned only comment on learner problems when they are specifically requested layout their answers in list form, and make it clear what part of the answer they are writing read the rubric carefully to see exactly what they are required to discuss pay attention to words given in bold and only comment on them in the way required, not on accompanying or surrounding words make use of precise linguistic / technical terms rather than the more simplified terms they might use with students make use of phonemic script as appropriate; they will not be awarded marks if this is not used or not used accurately, when relevant if the rubric requires it, generalise beyond the specific language given in the learner problems section to the area that language is an example of (the rubric will indicate what this is) 6.3 6.3.1 Sample Answers The following sample answer gained a high number of marks
4a Organisation Physical layout - The use of photos e.g. the photos take up about 50 per cent of the page to attract the reader Layout – short paragraphs - mainly 1-sentence paragraphs to make the text easy to follow and understand for the reader Heading – the heading takes up about 30% of the text - it helps attract the reader’s attention and it summarises the story The use of captions – they summarise the story and thus engage the reader Content The 1st paragraph serves as a summary - it gives the reader all the main information in order to engage and inform him/her
Language The use of informal language – e.g. “bash” to make the story more personal The use of direct speech in the text - e.g. the last paragraph – to make the story more immediate for the reader The use of direct speech in the captions e.g. I really, really do : … - to make the story more immediate and to engage the reader 26
The use of reported speech in the text e.g. “… said the five ceremonies would…” – to make the text informative Giving detailed information about the people referred to in the text e.g. Mrs. Feeney, 31 – to give the impression that the text provides the reader with information
FORM anaphoric reference a numeral indefinite pronoun
MEANING/USE One good one refers to “their wedding day” makes the text more cohesive avoids repetition One good one refers to “their wedding day” and to “at least one” makes the text more cohesive repetition – in order to avoid repetition and also in order to repeat
anaphoric reference a numeral indefinite pronoun
4bii PHONOLOGY at least one good one
elided t – “at” /əli:s / elided t – “least” /li:s / weak form of “at” /ət / glottal stop – “good” /gʊ?wan / catenation – “good one” /gʊ?wan / weak form of “least” /lɪst/ stress on “one” and “good” /’wan’ gʊ?wan /
FORM modal verb followed by a bare infinitive
MEANING/USE Lines 9-11 reporting a decision made in the past about the future
Lines 13-15 modal verb followed by a bare reporting st. said in the past infinitive used in reported speech If the original direct speech was - direct speech – “will” - ) would, then this use of would could because of backshift changes to express uncertainty. i.e. they weren’t “would” sure about the price. Could have been “would” in the original direct speech but there is no backshift Lines 34-35 Modal verb refers to the present time used to express distance and to show respect to people’s negative face/the desire not to be imposed upon.
4di FORM 4 Attended passive past participle regular – ed suffix a verb acting as an adjective agent expressed through the use of “by” part of a defining relative clause d)ii) Problems they might not know it’s regular sts might not recognise the defining relative clause no auxiliary sts might think it refers to a past event because of the form sts might not realise who the agent is sts might be confused by the lack of auxiliary MEANING/USE adjective refers to a future event using a past simple form
Examiner’s comments on sample answer Part a This part of the answer is clear, accurate, succinct and backed up by relevant examples. It covers a range of types of features: organisational, language and content. The layout of the answer is helpful to the reader. The candidate has made multiple points regarding the physical layout of the article. This was considered one point in the Guideline Answer so only one mark was gained. Part b(i) The candidate provides a good amount of detail in b(i) and makes what she is referring to clear. The answer is also helpfully laid out. The information given is however, sometimes inaccurate. Part (bii) The candidate makes a large number of accurate points, uses phonemic script and phonological terms accurately, and lays the answer out very clearly. Part c The answer is clearly laid out and labelled, and contains a good amount of accurate detail. Answers are clear and specific. Part di) and ii) Some accurate detail is given though several more points could have been made.
The following sample answer gained just under half the marks available for this task
4 a) Use of direct speech quotation marks e.g. “I do” (line 32) a b) Use of informal language, such as phrasal verb “packed off to” (line 27) c) Organised in short paragraphs in columns (e.g. lines 1-4 - the paragraph is only one sentence)
d) Use of ellipsis, adding to the coherence of the text (e.g. “The second” (wedding), line 21. e) Use of pictures with captions describing them. “I really, really do: The pair in Turkey”. 4b i) The first ‘one’ is a determiner, it is a numeral (singular) and describes the head of the noun phrase (the second ‘one’). The second ‘one’ is a pronoun, in the singular. It is a substitution for the word ‘wedding’ used to avoid repetition and increase cohesion within the text. The first ‘one’ would be stressed in order to emphasise one (out of 5 weddings) /wʌn / The second one would be weak /wən / as it carries less meaning.
4c) The first ‘would’ comes as part of the main clause in a conditional sentence (modified by the ‘if’ clause preceding it). Because the sentence starts with ‘decided’ the phrases are constructed as reported speech, so the verbs are ‘backshifted’. Originally in direct speech, this would have been a first conditional sentence, using ‘cannot’ and ‘will. The second sentence is also in reported speech, using the modal verb will, backshifted to ‘would’. The backshifting denotes distance, due to a shift in the deictic centre from the ‘here and now’ to the more abstract ‘then’, in terms of time and also space, as the speakers are not present. The third ‘would’ is used as a hedging device to make the phrase ‘I recommend’ less assertive, and to ‘soften’ it in order to sound more polite. This also denotes distance as the situation is hypothetical – she is not recommending any particular/real person. 4d ‘Attended’ is a reduced relative clause, using a non-finite participle (the past participle of attend). It is reduced because the clause is describing the subject not the object of the clause, and it is non-defining. The clause is also using a passive construction, although the relative pronoun (which/that) and the auxiliary verb (‘be’ in the past simple was) are ellipted. The agent is stated using ‘by’. Learners would have problems identifying the passive, and therefore identifying the subject and object of the sentence. They would also have difficulty identifying the agent, as this is shifted to the end of the sentence “by …” Examiner’s comments on sample answer Part a The candidate’s answer refers to a range of features, most of the information provided is correct and backed up by relevant examples and there is no repetition of features related to layout. Point d) however is not specific to the genre, and a large number of further points relating to organisation, grammatical/ lexical features, style and content could have been made. Parts b(i) and (ii) Again, while the information given is accurate, much relevant detail which would have gained marks has not been included. The section on phonology makes little reference to individual sounds. Part c The answer to this part is not consistent in its references to form and meaning. They need to be discussed for each use of ‘would’. As previously, while the information provided is accurate, it is not comprehensive. Part d Part (i) includes a generally accurate answer focussing mainly on form. Greater detail on form and a focus on meaning would have gained more marks. The answer to part (ii) is accurate but not comprehensive.
6.3.3 a) -
The following sample answer obtained few marks Textual : Photo to attract readers interest. PARAGRAPHING: Short choppy punchy paragraphs to maintain readers interest.
ORGANISATION: It introduces the novel idea in the beginning, and continues describing the weddings in a sequential manner. LANGUAGE – Informal, exagerated, e.g. …wanted a big bash” etc. The first ‘one’ is a determiner indicating number (1) the second ‘one’ is an impersonal pronoun referring to wedding at least one good one e.g. (count determiner) Pronoun (wedding)
(ii) good one /gʊwʌn /
The d is assimilated into the next sound. Disappearing in doing so. c) - FORM: WOULD used as part of reported (A-ii) speech of first conditional: -:
Examiner’s comments on sample answer As can be seen this answer does not take advantage of the high number of marks available for the task. Part a contains a number of accurate points as does part b(i). Part b (ii) is inaccurate in its use of phonemic script and in the information given. Part c contains minimal information and part d is not attempted.
7 Paper 1 Task 5 The text for this task is reproduced on the opposite page. It was written by a learner in an intermediate class in response to the following task: Write a description of your country to put in our class encyclopaedia. Include information on geography, important dates, economy, natural resources, places of interest and languages. Identify three key strengths and three key weaknesses of the text. Provide an example of each strength and each weakness. Your answer should focus on some or all of the areas listed below: Task achievement Organisation Complexity and range of language Accuracy of language
Which one of the weaknesses identified above would you choose to prioritise? Give three reasons for your choice. Guideline Answer
a Key strengths Task achievement: Content. The learner provides information about her country and includes some information about each of the points in the rubric Organisation: Overall, the text is in a logical order (and follows the order of the rubric) e.g. History important dates economy natural resources places of interest languages (or part of this sequence) Complexity and range of language: some sophisticated/appropriate vocabulary e.g. democratic revolution, dispersed, sparsely populated, average altitude, natural resources Complexity and range of language: attempts at longer clauses/complex sentences e.g. with ‘which’ and ‘whatever’ e.g. Ulaanbaater, which lies on the River Tuul.’ ‘So, whatever your interest and wherever you come from,…’ Accuracy of language: consistently accurate anaphoric referencing e.g. Mongolia is a huge country….. It has…..It became… Accuracy of language: linking devices / adverbials / conjunctions / discourse markers e.g. although, such as, however, Accuracy of language: accuracy of vocabulary e.g. huge country
Key weaknesses Task achievement: style is inconsistent (possibly due to plagiarism) / final sentence is genre of holiday reviews rather than encyclopaedia, e.g. use of ‘huge’ in first sentence
Organisation: paragraphing not under control e.g. information in the first paragraph is not in a logical order i.e. starts with the geography of Mongolia, changes to the weather mid sentence, then discusses the language at the end of the same paragraph / lack of sufficient paragraphing e.g. when beginning to describe places of interest and when talking about language spoken Accuracy of language: Grammar in sentence formation: Omits there was, it was, there is, ‘be’ making her sentences disjointed e.g. 300 years later dispersed or occupated / from 1990 was a democratic revolution Accuracy of language: Grammar. Some problems with the use of the passive e.g. was foundation, has located Accuracy of language: Lexis. Poor spelling / poor manipulation of lexis e.g. dispersed, occupated, parliamentary public, aricultur, processing manufacture, a medium English, ‘for’ instead of ‘four’ Accuracy of language: uses linking devices inappropriately e.g. moreover, additionally Accuracy of language: general inaccuracy for their level (must mention at least three different types of inaccuracy) (candidates cannot be credited for reusing examples used in j, k and l)
b Candidates may choose any of the key weaknesses listed in part a. They should provide a rationale for their choice that is reasonable, informed and refers to some/any of the areas below: the learner’s level the learner’s future needs (e.g. exams) the learner’s future needs (e.g. future study) the learner’s future needs (e.g. job) fossilization of error transfer to other genre transfer to other skills specific to the learner’s context/situation specific to the communicative purpose/success of the text (i.e. reference to genre in its own right) the effect on the reader easy to remedy systematic error 7.2 Candidate performance The mean score for this task was just under half the marks available. Marks ranged widely even though performance on this task was definitely stronger than in December 2008. a Most candidates were able to identify at least two strengths and two weaknesses accurately, with most citing task achievement and lexical range as strengths and paragraphing as a main weakness. Some candidates contradicted themselves over the matter of paragraphing, identifying it as a weakness and also a strength. The strength of organisation was in the ordering of ideas rather than paragraphing. Candidates should be advised to be more specific about categorising. So rather than writing ‘good vocabulary’ they should state whether they are referring to ‘good range’ or ‘good accuracy’ of vocabulary, linkers etc. There were more candidates this session who were awarded two extra marks because their commentary on strengths and weaknesses made these more than a list. Most candidates identified three justifications easily. Candidates could be advised that an extra point is available for quality/depth/commentary on fewer points rather than quantity in terms of a long list exceeding three reasons.
Some candidates discussed areas not considered key weaknesses in part a and were therefore awarded no marks in part b More scripts in this session were awarded extra marks than in December.
Candidates are recommended to: make sure they give examples when these are requested only give one example for each strength and each weakness only discuss in part a the areas given in the rubric give both strengths and weaknesses as required; discuss only three key strengths and three key weaknesses; marks are not given for more than three of either bear in mind the learner’s level when commenting in part a on the text’s strengths and weaknesses include comments in part a on the effect the particular strengths and weaknesses have on the effectiveness of the text use a bullet point or grid layout for the strengths and weaknesses only discuss in b a weakness mentioned in a limit answers in b to reasons for prioritising an area only discuss one area of weakness in part b see the guideline answer for the list of possible areas to develop in b make sure they allow themselves enough time to complete this task; 25 minutes is recommended. 7.3 7.3.1 Sample Answers The following sample answer gained most of the marks available for this task
5a (a) Strengths Task Achievement It addresses all aspects of the rubric in terms of topic coverage. Economy Natural resources Geography Dates (1-4) (9-12) (15-19) (15-16) Places of interest (20-24) language (25-26) It also uses suitably neutral language and gives factual information as is required by genre. Register is mostly correct. (B)Strengths Cohesive
Some good use of discourse markers to organise / introduce / add ideas and reference. Although … However … additionally … adds to cohesion of text. as does use of pronominal referencing. Weaknesses 1. Organisation a lack of paragraphs 2 topics combined together. repetition of information (7-8 and 24-26) (language) no first introductory paragraph,
individual sentences to constitute a paragraph (13) No sub-headings as might be expected of an encyclopaedic entry – non-conformity to genre last paragraph should be separate. (26-28) to indicate final comment. Negative effect on reader can’t easily locate important information. 5a Weakness Language complexity 1. 2. 3. Sentences are poorly structured lack of linking devices and often short sentences Grammar problems with passives and syntax and complex sentences
1 Example It became in 1921 an independent country, from 1990 was a democratic country (and) 2 Example and passives - syntax
In 1206 was foundation. Great Mongol State was founded in 1206 … omission of auxiliary be in passive formation. ( 20) “Mountain located in Southern capital” is incorrect auxiliary. Huugsul lake was located north side Mongolia 5a Weakness accuracy of language Lack of accuracy with articles. (the) Gobi desert (5) (The) Mongolian government (15) (the) economy (18) (the) a beautiful Bagd Itan Mountain a medium English Some misuse of lexis In 1206 was foundation. Using noun instead of verb. Wrong collocations
Medium English 26 (reasonable) 5b I would choose to focus on overall organisation of information into paragraphs. Student has knowledge of discourse meddlers which they could apply to this. Also would have positive effect on writing as it is transferable to all genres of writing. I would focus on how to write a paragraph. Topic sentence, explanation. Using just on idea per paragraph. If the student wished to study at IELTS or FCE this would be required for all written texts. At intermediate level this ability would be very useful to improve written autonomy when student writes other texts like maybe an application to university or personal statement. Also positive effect on reading of FCE and IELTS level where identifying topic in paragraphs is important. Effect on reader would be improved by better organisation.
Examiner’s comments on sample answer The answer refers to the areas outlined in the rubric. It also gives clear examples. While the weaknesses are well identified, the strengths are not as full as could be. The candidate was nevertheless awarded additional marks as it was felt that the treatment of weaknesses was well developed with its mention of effect on the reader. Part b picks up on an area identified in part a. There is some repetition and lack of clarity about what exactly would be prioritised in paragraph writing, but a series of relevant points are made. 7.3.2 5 a The following sample answer obtained approximately half the marks available for this task STRENGTHS The task is overall achieved, as the learner includes all the information required: geography (mountains & desert, lines 1-7), dates (line 9), economy (free market, line 13), natural resources (agriculture/mining) places of interest and languages (Mongolian/Russian/English). The learner uses a wide range of linking devices (moreover, however, in addition …) The range of lexis is good and vocabulary is appropriate for the task (sparsely populated/average attitude/continental weather) WEAKNESSES Paragraphing is not very effective and clear. For example, the learner talks about languages in line 8 and again after line 24. Sentences are generally short, sometimes verbless, and paralexis is generally preferred. “However, 300 years later dispersed or occupied” (line 10). There are often errors in tenses. Linking devises could be used more efficiently if the learner used paragraphs – Some linking devices are at the end of a sentence: “It has borders Russia and China, moreover.” b I would choose to prioritise paragraphing and organisation of the text, since: problems with text organisation could affect the learner’s future written communication The learner is at intermediate level, so, if not corrected, the error could become fossilised. the learner already has a good grasp of vocabulary and knows a lot of different linking devices, so if he/she solved this paragraphing/organisation issue, he/she could be stimulated to write more and more effectively.
Examiner’s comments on sample answer Strengths are well identified and exemplified. In the section on weaknesses, however, the answer covers few points comprehensively and is too vague to be awarded marks for identification of language weaknesses. In part b, a relevant weakness is identified and two valid reasons for selecting it re given. 7.3.3 The following sample answer obtained less than half the number of marks available for this task Task 5 Three key strengths: (1) Task achievement: The task is done well. The essay has information about his country like information about geography (ex borders with Russia), economy (mining), natural resources (fresh water) languages and interest. (2) Cohesion / There are a lot of cohesive markers in this essay such as However, in addition (3) Structure The sentences are built well. Little evidence of mistakes. The learner shows good mastery of language. He/she uses compound nouns as [East-Central] (sentence structure) ex Mongolia has rich natural resources, such as copper, coal … Three weaknesses (1) Organisation: No paragraphs. The learner shows little competence of organising his paragraph even though he/she has good conclusion. (2) Punctuation: The learner seems to lack good ability of using punctuation. Ex. However. (not using semi colon or comma after it). (3) Spelling: A lot of spelling mistakes Ex: ariculture instead of agriculture (b) (1) (2) (3) I would prioritise organisation as the main weakness in this piece of writing. No paragraphing is used even though he/she has good introduction and a conclusion. Organisation is one of the main criteria of an English piece of writing as it shows the proficiency of the writing skill of the learners. It reflects the degree of thinking of the learner as a critical thinker or else. It reflects his learning style and intelligence. So teachers should give more emphasis on teaching the organisation of writing.
Examiner’s comments on sample answer The part of the answer referring to task achievement is relevant, accurate and well exemplified. However, the reference to cohesion gains no marks as it is not part of the list of areas specified in the rubric and is not transparently linked to any of the areas specified. In the section on weaknesses, the first point is valid but not exemplified and the second point, on ‘punctuation’ is not one of the areas specified in the task rubric. More relevant points e.g. on accuracy of language, needed to be made. Part b gained few marks as the comments do not provide accurate justifications for the choice of area.
Paper 2 Task 1
The text for this task is reproduced on the opposite page. It is being used in the following situation:
N has lived in London for six months and, in order to improve her English, has enrolled on a course that teaches ‘ESOL Skills for Life’. These classes focus on language and language skills that are needed for people living, working and studying in England. The college gave her a test to assess her level in order to help find the most appropriate class for her. This task is part of the writing section of the test. The other language skills are tested in other parts of the test.
Using your knowledge of relevant testing concepts, evaluate how effectively this task fulfils its purpose for this learner in this situation. Make a total of six points. You must include both positive and negative points.
Guideline Answer NEGATIVE May not test range of language sufficient for placement at all levels / may induce error avoidance (poor predictive validity) Application to learner: N may be misplaced because she hasn’t been allowed to demonstrate enough It only tests sentence level writing / there is no test of more complex features of writing (paragraphing, complex sentences, linking etc.)
POSITIVE May produce varied sample of language (vocab, grammar, spelling etc.) so may be good for placement Application to learner: N may be placed at the correct level A direct test of writing skills so generally learner can show her abilities directly / has validity
Application to learner: Allows N to demonstrate her writing abilities Suitable for low levels because can be completed with limited language
Application to learner: May not discriminate in terms of N’s level It does not look like a test so lacks face validity
Application to learner: If N’s level is low, she will still be able to do the test. Can use compensation strategies. Tests punctuation, letter formation, writing on the lines
Application to learner: won’t think this is a serious test Task won’t test realistic genre / communicative competence relevant to skills for life e.g. application forms / is inauthentic / lacks content validity
Application to learner: N’s ‘mechanical’ skills will be tested ( relevant to students in a second language learning situation)
Application to learner: N may be placed in an unsuitable class
There are six fresh starts
Pictures are not always clear
Application to learner: If N can’t do one, she still has the opportunity to demonstrate her abilities in the others Open ended so learner can write what they like
Application to learner: N may be confused about content to write May not be reliable because different learners will write different things
Application to learner: N can relate to the pictures in ways which are relevant to their own life experiences / ideas Picture prompts mean learners don’t need to understand written prompts
Application to learner: N won’t have confidence in her placement The pictures may elicit limited language e.g. present continuous
Application to learner: If N has low reading level, she will be able to respond to the pictures Prompts supplied Prompts allow writer to focus on writing rather than on worrying about what to write Application: N will not have to hunt for ideas on what to write about standard task type Application: N will be used to this kind of task type so this will help make her performance more reliable content relevant to learners needs/context
Application to learner: N may not feel she can demonstrate her range of language No example of / guidance on what kind of sentence to write e.g. describe the picture?
Application to learner: N may be confused about what to write Tests specific items of vocab e.g. football, bucket
Application to learner: N may produce nothing for some items because she doesn’t know the vocab May be time consuming / impractical to mark Application to learner: N may have to wait for results Range of different answers may make answers difficult to mark in terms of focus of marking/ Subjective element in marking may lead to unreliability
Application: N can identify with the situations
Application: N may not get the mark she deserves and possibly be misplaced situations may lack personal/cultural relevance to the learner Application: candidate may not be motivated to write / candidate may be put off their course of study / institution
8.2 Candidate performance Marks on this task averaged just above the mean. Overall, answers gave the impression that candidates did not feel confident about this area of the syllabus. Some candidates also seemed to be under the impression that they were required to evaluate the test in terms of how well it met criteria for good tests such as reliability, backwash, validity. They also seemed to think that they needed to make generous use of testing terminology in their answers. Candidates are not required to do either of these. They are required to follow the task rubric by evaluating the test for the purpose, learner and situation specified in the task rubric. While it is true that a small number of marks (two) are available for accurate use of testing terminology, many more marks are available for points answering the task in the rubric. This should be candidates’ principal consideration. Weaker candidates: - described the purpose of the test as being diagnostic and missed the point that it was purely for placement purposes as there is no indication in the rubric that the teacher of the class would have access to this learner’s test - described the test as having positive or negative backwash which is not possible with a placement test (this could be because they had not read the rubric carefully enough or because they did not understand the meaning of the terms) - focussed on the absence of other skills being tested (particularly speaking), again missing the information in the rubric - focussed on generic features of tests, i.e. subjective marking (u), no prompts (p), test design / unclear pictures (j) rather than on the effectiveness of the test for the specified situation - tried to use as much testing terminology as possible, presumably because they thought this was what was required - confused terminology, e.g. direct and indirect testing. They thought that because the test largely tested grammar and lexis, this was indirect testing. They also confused terms such as construct and content validity but this did not generally prevent them from getting a point - tended not to discuss the predictive validity of the test - repeated the same reasons for a positive or negative point, i.e. the learner will / won’t need to write etc. - did not show how their points applied to the specified learner Stronger candidates (did the opposite of the above PLUS) - considered the value of the test in terms of what skills, language and text types it tested, i.e. points and their relevance to the learner were specified. - applied the use of terminology as appropriate and did not overuse terms for the sake of it - outlined a range of points in terms of the content, purpose, marking system of the test. - gave applications which were relevant to a learner in an ESOL context who was doing a placement test in order to be placed in the right level, i.e. they took on board the situation outlined in the rubric. Candidates are recommended to: approach their evaluation of the effectiveness of the test through the criterion of its effectiveness for the purpose given in the rubric and the learner in the specified situation avoid approaching their evaluation through assessing the test against testing concepts such as validity, reliability, backwash etc. read the situation in the rubric carefully, seeing how each part of it can be relevant to the answer and to the specified learner make sure their answers are specifically about the particular test and learner make sure they always show how the points they make about the test’s effectiveness apply to the particular learner avoid repeating any one application to the learner under different points use terminology only when relevant and use it accurately cover a wide range of points relating to the test’s effectiveness in their answers use clear layout that shows which points are intended as positive and which as negative; a grid layout can be used if wished, e.g. as in the Guideline Answer make sure they include both positive and negative points
avoid including an introduction or a summary in their answer; these are not required and writing them takes up valuable time unnecessarily make sure they make six points, including both positive and negative ones Sample Answers The following sample answer gained a high number of the marks available for this task. + (2) The test does not have high predictive validity in terms of assessing which level will be suitable for N as it only tests her writing at sentences level and does not test her writing as a whole eg. Including ideas, structure and other features of cohesion and coherence. N may get put into the wrong class. (4) The test is not very reliable as N may be from a very different culture to the UK with different customs & she may be living in an immigrant community in London. Therefore the pictures, especially picture 4 might not be clear to hear. She could therefore lose motivation / confidence and the result would not reflect her writing ability. An integrative test such as writing a piece of text might be better for testing writing skills. This test has low content validity as it is supposed to be testing writing but is actually testing interpretation of pictures, lexis and some features of writing eg. sentence structure / tense spelling. The test has low reliability as although N might write a sentence for each picture as the pictures are not very clear, she might not give a sentence in the tense they are looking for eg. Pic 1. A man is holding a map. OR A man has mopped the floor A man is going to mop the floor This would make N feel anxious, would reduce face validity and motivation and could result in N being put in an unsuitably lower class. The test is unreliable as matching may be subjective as there could be more than one right answer. This could mean that a 2nd assessor might give N a different score. N might not be put in an appropriate class and then might lose motivation.
(1) The test may have high face validity for N because she has to write about everyday activities and she is learning English because she needs English for living and working in London. She may therefore feel motivated (3) The test may have predictive validity in terms of predicting N’s ability of writing text at sentence level and of sentence structure and word order, and her knowledge of basic vocabulary. Therefore she may be put in a class suitable for her. The test is a direct test in that it is testing writing ability by asking N to write, but The test has high
The test has high construct validity as ESOL language course are often very functional and it is therefore a good reflection of the way the language will be taught as the course This may increase face validity eg. through functions etc. and N will be motivated as she can relate to the activities
Examiner’s comments on sample answer Although this answer tends to evaluate the test using testing concepts as a starting point rather than the specified purpose, learner and situation, it quickly makes it clear why these concepts are relevant and applies them to N. There is some repetition in the positive points. Negative points are well
identified and testing terminology is woven into the text as and when relevant rather than becoming a starting point for discussion. The answer is also helpfully laid out in grid form. 8.3.2 The following sample answer gained half the marks for this task
It is an placement test and it aims to understand the competence of the SS. If the S is a at a high level of English this test will not show her level because it is too simple. The test might not for this reason be reliable because it doesn’t allow SS to perform at a high level. It might not for the same reason have predictive validity and the SS might need to change classes after the course has started. The instructions of the test are not given in detail, if N is not familiar with the format of the text she/he might not know what is expected. If the instructions are not clear the test will not have concurrent and predictive validity because the results will be affected by factors which don’t concern the competence of the learner. This would result in negative backwash. It is a direct test because it tests writing to assess the writing skills competence as opposed to indirect testing where the target skill is tested indirectly by subcomponents of the skill. This could have beneficial backwash because it test what it is suppose to test (construct validity) If each part of the tests the language skills separately and directly it will show how N performs in each skill and will therefore have construct validity and content validity because the N’s aim is to improve her ability in all skills for work, study and general life. The scoring of the test will probably not be particularly difficult because there probably is quite a limited choice of answers so even if the scoring will be subjective on the part of the examiner it will give predictive results. This will be motivating for the student if N feels that she has been properly assessed and it will have face validity. It will also be practical in terms of time and cost. Examiner’s comments on sample answer This answer contains a number of relevant points at the beginning. They are generally backed up by accurate reference to N. It is not, however, relevant to discuss backwash in relation to the placement test. The last two paragraphs of the answer gain no marks, the first because it does not discuss the test presented in the task and the second because it is vague and inaccurate. 8.3.3 1. The following sample answer gained only a few of the marks available for this task POSITIVE POINTS Discrete item : testing of progressive / continuous forms gives clear feedback on whether learner can handle this use of English. Predictive validity : in terms of assessing whether learner will need to focus on this area in upcoming course, the task type gives useful information. Reliability : The task type will give clear feedback across all the learners taking the test, making it reliable. This kind of test gives objective feedback on account of the fairly high level of guidance that the task type gives. NEGATIVE POINTS Face validity : Lack of contextualisation – these sentences test forms, not functional uses. Learner wants to improve skills for living, working & studying – these sentences do not fulfil this need. Negative / harmful backwash : if teacher focuses on this kind of work in class when teaching writing skills, the learner will not improve writing ability except in terms of grammatical accuracy. For example, the focus is on sentences, not on discourse. While this could be useful, it is certainly not the only aspect of writing that it is useful to focus on.
Examiner’s comments on sample answer This answer illustrates the shortcomings of approaching the required evaluation of the test through testing concepts rather than through the criteria established in the task rubric. The answers do not focus on N and her situation, nor do they focus on pertinent positive and negative points about the test. Many of the testing terms are also used inaccurately, resulting in statements that don’t back them up. Once again there is reference to backwash though the task rubric gives no information indicating that this placement test will have backwash.
Paper 2 Task 2
The purpose of the extract as a whole is to clarify the differences between can, have to and should (positive and negative) to pre-intermediate level learners. a Identify the purpose of the exercises in the box below in relation to the purpose of the extract as a whole. Exercises for Task Two ‘Reading’ Exercise 1 ‘Reading’ Exercise 2 ‘Reading’ Exercise 3 ‘Grammar’ Exercise 4
Identify a total of six key assumptions about language learning that are evident in the exercises in the box above and explain why the authors might consider these assumptions to be important for learning. State which exercise or exercises each assumption refers to.
A Purpose of the exercises EXERCISE Reading exercise 1 Reading exercise 2 Reading exercise 3 Grammar exercise 4
PURPOSE to generate interest in / personalise / activate schemata / set up the topic of the target language context to prepare for reading texts which contain the target language an opportunity to pre-teach vocabulary for texts in Exercise 2 / for Exercise 3 to encourage students to read for specific information / scanning / detail to understand the texts containing the target language to expose students to the target language in a (meaningful) context (in the reading text and when listening as part of the jigsaw activity) to provide data / examples of language in use that are then used in Grammar exercises 4, 5 and 6 to allow students to use the target language when summarising the texts / promote negotiation of meaning in TL to help students engage cognitively with the texts and the language (via the jigsaw activity) to allow the teacher to diagnose how well the students master the target language to give an opportunity for students to use the target language to allow the teacher to check/diagnose students’ use of the target language to assist in further comprehension of the texts containing the target language to encourage students to relate the context / target language to themselves / personalise to prepare the students (facilitate noticing) for Grammar Exercise 4 / language focus to focus students / provide input on / explicitly sum up the meaning/use and form of the target language to encourage students to work out the rules of meaning for themselves
B Assumptions and reasons
to encourage students to notice the target language to prepare students / provide data for the practice activities that follow to provide a written record for students to refer to
personalisation / identification with topic is an effective aid to learning Because engages learners / reduces affective filter / is motivating / makes skills and language meaningful / is easier to talk about concrete than abstract [Exercises 1 & 3] need to activate interest / schemata Because will help with top-down processing (and make text easier) [Exercise 1] visual stimuli / pictures are useful / it’s important to include different types of input (reading, listening, visuals etc.) Because recognisable / contain a lot of information / are engaging / may appeal to visual/ a variety of learning styles [Exercise 1] need to understand meaning of a text before focusing on target language Because meaning first provides context for the language [Exercises 2 & 3] need a task to help understand a text Because otherwise they won’t know which part of the text to focus on [Exercises 2 & 3] need to see language in context Because it will help with meaning of language [Exercises 2 & 3] need practice in reading skills Because may not transfer skill from L1 [Exercises 2 & 3] sufficient to understand only main points of a text / read text without needing to understand everything Because outside class need to deal with texts where they don’t understand every word / will often read texts with particular purpose in mind / gives practice in useful skills to transfer from L1 [Exercise 2] jigsaw reading / info gap / opinion gap is useful Because it encourages learners to engage further with the text / collaborate / offers another opportunity for communicative practice / reflects what happens in real life (where we often summarise an article we’ve read) [Exercise 2] reading texts are a good way of introducing/exposing students to language items Because similar to learning L1 / real life [Exercises 2 & 3] benefit from moving from receptive to productive Because this is how languages are learnt in the ‘real world’ [Exercises 2 & 3] important to focus on skills AND systems / a variety of skills / integrated skills Because they reinforce each other in language learning [Exercises 2 and 3] benefit of working collaboratively / interaction / communication Because they learn from each other [Exercise 3] Because gives confidence to speak fluently / extensively [Exercise 3] can learn from being exposed to / using target language before it is presented / good to move from implicit to explicit language focus Because may notice how it is used / may become curious about it [Exercise 3]
guided discovery / working out language / inductive approaches are effective Because cognitive involvement enhances the learning process [Exercise 4] learners benefit from noticing / being encouraged to notice language Because it aids acquisition/ helps students notice gap between their own language use and correct forms [Exercise 2 and 4] need to use language references Because this encourages independence / encourages learners to continue learning outside the classroom / motivates learners [Exercise 4] analysis of grammar through contrasting items is effective Because it assists with understanding meaning [Exercise 4] learners have prior knowledge of (some of) the target language / should extend their knowledge of language items previously met Because learners will need to understand different aspects of the TL / process the TL at more sophisticated levels as they progress in their learning / this approach allows learners to see the gap in their knowledge [Exercise 4] valid to focus on discrete items of grammar Because many learners will expect this / this appeals to certain kinds of learners [Exercise 4] useful to give explicit grammar rules Because knowing that there is a system can help learners feel more secure [Exercise 4] benefit from scaffolding / framework Because gives learners confidence / motivation [Exercises 2 & 4] Provide a written record for students to refer to Because [Exercise 4] The importance of including contexts from different cultures Because this enables learners to engage with materials and target language
9.2 Candidate performance This task was generally well done. It had high mean scores and candidates performed significantly better on the task than in December 08 mainly because they identified a good range of relevant purposes for each task that were related to the overall purpose of the extract as a whole, and provided both assumptions and reasons for those assumptions. There seemed to be evidence in candidates’ answers that they had taken on board points made in the report on the December 2008 exam. Part a Weaker candidates - only gave one purpose per exercise and therefore gained few marks. - failed to make explicit reference to how any purpose identified related to the purpose of the extract as a whole. - could not identify what the reading sub-skill was and thought Exercise 2 was encouraging skimming. - confused jigsaw reading and gap-filling (c.f. exercise 3) Stronger candidates - were more focussed on the language purposes of the exercises and how they progressed from one to the next - they explicitly stated what the target language was in the texts, linking purposes of individual exercises to that of the extract as a whole.
Part b Weaker candidates - mentioned the more generic assumptions which exist in most material, i.e. personalisation, activating schemata, visual stimuli, language in reading texts, integrated skills, collaborative learning, guided discovery. - did not give a reason for the assumption - repeated the same reason for more than one assumption - gave a very limited rationale. The most common reasons given were to aid recall / retention, this is how people learn their L1, to motivate / interest the learner, to replicate what happens in the real world, to encourage learner independence, to aid learning. Centres need to spend more time considering the reasons behind the ways material is designed. - combined their answers to part b with those to part a. Candidates should be advised not to do this as it can lead to repetition, having too restricted a view of the materials as a whole and confusing purposes and assumptions. Stronger candidates - analysed the material in terms of assumptions which were particular to this sequence of published material, especially in terms of how the grammar is dealt with. So they identified assumptions of prior knowledge , exposure to target language, contrastive analysis , discrete items, explicit grammar rules and scaffolding . Candidates would be advised to look more carefully at how language (or a subskill) is presented/revised and also practised. - gave a wide range of reasons for the assumptions, particularly in terms of the way the language was presented. Candidates are recommended to: discuss only those exercises specified in the task rubric write several relevant purposes for each exercise note that in part a they should discuss the purpose of the exercises in relation to the purpose of the extract as a whole, rather than just the purpose of the individual exercises. Taking on board the context of the whole extract should aid this. give both assumptions and reasons for assumptions, as in the Guideline Answer make their assumptions in part b general to all learners rather than referring to any one group of learners group their answers together as indicated by the task rubric sections i.e. discuss only purposes in part a, and only assumptions and reasons for them in part b 9.3 Sample Answers
9.3.1 The following sample answer gained almost full marks for this task 2 a Exercise 1 1 engages learner and activates schemata 2 generates (existing knowledge) & lexis in preparation for life in subsequence exercises Exercise 2 a learner are presented with the target language through a text. They notice the language in context before using it in exes 4, 5 & 6. b learners use the TL through speeking before examining the rules. b learner collaborate and share information, this is a time effecient way of exposing the learners to lexis/language necessary to complete the other tasks. a learners are exposed to the lexis required for ex 8. Exercise 3 learners justify their answers by using the target language before they have been presented with it. This acts as a diagnostic test so the teacher can see which areas, meaning, form or pronunciation are weakest. Exercise 4
learners deduce the rules for the target language through an inductive task and are provided
with a record of the rules in order to complete exercises 5 and 6. b Assumptions
learners need to see the language in context in order to understand the meaning (ex 2a) learners memorization of lexis and language is aided through collaboration on tasks. (ex 2b) Learners need a record of rules for new language systems to act as a support when completing
language tasks (ex4)
when cognitive skills are used learners memorization is enabled. (ex 4) learners should have the opportunity to use existing language skills before the target language is
presented. This will increase learner motivation and act as a measure for the teacher to diagnose learner problems. (ex 2b)
to engage learners in an activity their schemata needs to be activated. (ex 1) learners are more receptive and productive if a task has an element of personalization (ex 1)
Examiner’s comments on sample answer In part a the answer makes clear and constant reference to the target language i.e. to the purpose of the extract as a whole. It also identifies a number of accurate purposes for each exercise. The clear labelling of parts of exercises allows the candidate to clearly see what part of which he/ she is referring to. In part b, the candidate in fact identifies more than six assumptions. He will only receive marks for six assumptions but candidates may find it useful to include an extra assumption as a safety net in case one of their previous ones is not considered valid. Some of the assumptions are not backed up with reasons. Where there are no reasons supplied the candidate cannot obtain full marks for the point made. The candidate expresses himself succinctly and clearly, wasting no time on writing irrelevant or redundant points.
9.3.2 2.2 A)
The following sample answer gained under half the marks available for this task
Reading Ex. 1 The purpose is to lower the affective feeling of learners so that they can be prepared for the following activities. Reading Ex. 2 The purpose is to expose learners to the target language contextually through an authentic text. Reading Ex. 3 The purpose is to encourage learners to reflect their comprehension in sentences where they could use the target language. Grammar Ex. 4. The purpose is to inductively present the target language “the rule” and then encourage learners to elicit the function for themselves. Assumptions 1. The authors seem to Example Ex. One Reason To prepare learners for the
believe in using “warm up” as a starter 2. The authors believe in different learning styles “visual/analytical and audial”
Discuss Ex 1, 2 visual Ex. 3 (1,2) analytical Ex 7 audial Ex 1 (2)
main objective of the lesson. some learners may feel better learning through visualising pictures while other through analysing. Learners feel confident when they are asked to relate what they learn to their own experience. It is a goal to create a real situation for learners to use the target language. Learners could work out the meaning and negotiate it together. Learners gain confidence when they elicit the rule on their own. Learners feel more comfortable when they are presented to L2 through listening then producing it in a likely way, especially for the first time.
3. Personalisation Authors believe in Personalisation as a learning style
4. Authors could believe in working in groups or triads. 5. Authors believe in inductive approach 6. Authors believe in teahing pronunciation
Ex. 2 (a) triads a group of three Ex. 4 Ex. 7
Examiner’s comments on sample answer In part a the candidate has only given one purpose for each exercise. The first one given is not awarded any marks as it is too general and unrelated to the purpose of the extract as a whole. The other purposes mentioned, however, are valid and make clear reference to the target language. Part b mentions some valid assumptions e.g. in 2, 3, 4 and 5, but except in 3 the reasons given are too general or repeat information given previously.
9.3.3 2 a)
The following sample answer obtained few of the marks available for this task Purposes Exc. 1 : - To make the learner familiar with the topic. - Reduce anxiety by making the learner answer personal questions - Activate background information and schemata by using questions and the photo. Exc. 2 : - to Encourage collaborative learning [work in groups of three / take turns (in part b)] - In part a, there is a preparation for part “b” Exc. 3 : - to prepare the learner for the reading test, by eliciting ideas Exc. 4 : - to introduce grammar and make the learner remember what they’ve already learnt by analysing the examples
In exc. 2 turn taking stating opinions, agree and disagreeing. These assumptions are important for learners to complete this info gap activity successfully. They need to exchange ideas, share opinions and state their own ideas Comparing and contrasting
Exc. 1 activates background info and makes the reader more involved in the activity by the help of personal questions. Learners need to use compare & contrast strategies to answer these questions in exc. 1. It is important because it may help them to state ideas in real life. Also using compare & contrast structures will help them in exc. 3. If they accomplish exc 1, they will be more fluent in exc. 3 In exc. 4 learners need to remember and check their knowledge of modals. It is important because they are going to use this knowledge in further exercises (5,6)
Examiner’s comments on sample answer The candidate does not distinguish clearly between purposes and assumptions, including the latter in part a. While candidates are not penalised for this, it does not help them view the task in the required way or gain as many marks as they could. In part b, the candidate’s answer indicates that he is not clear what an assumption about language learning is. The answer instead discusses functions and their uses in real life as well as in the upcoming tasks.
Paper 2 Task 3
Comment on the ways in which the ‘Grammar’ exercises 5 and 6 and ‘Pronunciation’ exercises 7 and 8 combine with the exercises discussed in Task Two.
10.1 Guideline Answer EXERCISE Grammar 5 HOW EXERCISE COMBINES WITH EXERCISES IN TASK TWO further controlled practice/clarification of difference in meaning from Exercise 4 testing learning from exercise 4 through recognition shifts topic from previous exercises to make test more challenging / accurate as a test checks use of target language / extends Exercises 4 into productive knowledge checks form of target language / extends Exercises 4 into productive knowledge some of the sentences mirror topic of Exercises 2 & 3 (to give learners security) / some have new topics to further extend/check language production focuses on spoken form / pronunciation / features of target language in connected speech (such as consonant vowel linking / elision / glottalisation / assimilation) not previously covered it encourages learners to notice / involves them in the learning (mirrors previous learning mode / as in Exercise 4 with which learners are familiar) consolidates learning of some of the forms studied before guided discovery format (mirrors previous learning mode / as in Exercise 4 with which learners are familiar) gives opportunity to produce / focus on pronunciation of (spoken/written form of) language learnt maintains topic of Exercises 2 & 3 completes recognition-to-production format seen in previous exercises a (further) opportunity to personalise the TL completes cycle of lesson i.e. beginning and ending with personalisation
10.2 Candidate performance As with task 2, candidate performance on this task was better than in the December 2008 exam. The mean was just over half the marks available to the task. Weaker candidates - only make one point per exercise and therefore lost marks or only barely attempted the task - described the purpose of the exercise without saying how it combined with one of the exercises in Task Two - described the purpose of the exercises within Task Three, i.e. they said how exercise 5 combined with exercise 6 etc - discussed exercises together which meant that they could not gain marks for both exercises by making a point applicable to both of them - only focussed on the material in terms of the language input (see below) Stronger candidates - made at least two points per exercise, or more
considered both language aspects of the material AND considered how other features of the material combined, e.g. in terms of topic or the methodological approach, e.g. noticing / guided discovery or the progression of the material.
Candidates are recommended to: read the rubric carefully and only discuss the exercises they are asked to discuss and no others make sure they discuss how the specific exercises combine with the exercises in Task Two, and do not discuss anything else consider each exercise in its own right, and not together with another exercise think of all the possible ways in which an exercise can combine with others. In this task candidates are not required to restrict their answers to the purpose of the extract as a whole. note that there may be several ways in which each exercise can combine as shown in the Guideline Answer, so they should try to identify more than one way separate their answers to Task 3 into a different section from their answers to Task 2 to ensure that they give sufficient coverage in the required way to the right exercises 10.3 Sample Answers 10.3.1 The following sample answer obtained nearly full marks on this task 3. Exercise 5 Having presented the meaning of structure in (4) this restricted practice exercise checks understanding further through contrasting possibly confusing structures, therefore lending to pinpointing differences in meaning. This also links back to Exercise 3 where the teacher may have already picked up on some of these errors. Exercise 6 This exercise carries on the topic of exercises 1-3, referring only to obligations and permission for young people. It follows on from Exercise 4 allowing them to use the explanations giving meaning, to choose the correct form for each sentence. Exercise 7 This exercise offers the first listening exposure to the target language. Through possibly having used these terms in Exercise 2b + 3, students maybe more likely to notice differences between their own and the model pronunciation. The Reading in Exercise 2 could also be used as a practice material for trying this pronunciation. Exercise 8 This exercise extends the topic of exercise 1-3 as well as the focus on personalisation (Exercise 1 + 3 [3 +4). It offers much freer practice of the forms presented in (4) and if followed by discussion would provide free practice. It round off the whole section well through allowing personalisation and accurate language use.
Examiner’s comments on sample answer This answer constantly refers back to the exercises discussed in Task Two, thus commenting on how the exercises combine with those in Task Two, which is the required focus of this task. The answer also shows good awareness of the different ways in which exercises can combine e.g. through language, topic, degree of use of language.
10.3.2 The following sample answer obtained over half the marks available for this task
Paper 2 Task 3 Exercises 5, 6
Gives explicit exposure to the target language especially the negative forms of the verbs – controlled practice to reinforce use of the verbs in a given context exercise 6 – Reinforce through controlled /practice the target language ex 7 - Provides opportunity for student to be exposed to correct pronunciation and “noticing” the difference in pronouncing the negative form of the verbs. exercise 8 Gives students opportunity to personalise the target language – with a relatively restricted framework -; but in a freer practice To consolidate the use of target structures referring to their personal experience and previous knowledge Examiner’s comments on sample answer This answer makes good reference to the target language thus focussing on one way in which the specified exercises combine with those in Task Two. The focus on language may however have prevented the candidate from identifying other ways in which the exercises combine, restricting the number of valid points made. The following sample answer obtained few of the marks available for this task Task 3 Ex. 5 / Ex. 6 - practice exercises for explicit grammar rules in Ex. 4 - places grammar in context - Ex. 6 Teacher can check spelling - assists students with noticing the grammar given in Ex. 4 as well as the reading from Ex. 2 - practice with pronunciation of shouldn’t / ß¨dant / helps student with /ə/ sound - helps student notice the negative form in speech and assists with spelling - continues the practice of Ex. 5/6 in the form of speaking the same for can can’t / kæn/ / kÅnt / - moves to production but gives an example to assist students with the form expected. This production stage checks what the student has learnt and understood from the previous exercises 4,5 + 6
Examiner’s comments on sample answer The answer mentions some relevant ways in which these exercises combine with those in Task Two, and attempts to discuss more than one way for each exercise. But in other instances the answer is restricted to commenting on the purposes of the specified exercise or describing how it works. This is not what Task Three requires. The candidate would do better to treat each exercise separately and make links with previous exercises more transparent.
Paper 2 Task 4
The text for this task is reproduced on the opposite page. What beliefs about error correction underlie this activity? What issues might arise as a result of the teacher adopting this approach towards error correction?
11.1 Guideline Answer a beliefs about error correction many learner errors are ‘mistakes’/slips they can correct them themselves if highlighted / brought to their attention learners benefit from working collaboratively / take responsibility when correcting errors (because this helps them engage cognitively) / enhances the learning process learners will retain the correct language / won’t make the error again if they are forced to engage with it (rather than just receive correction from the teacher) errors are part of the language learning process / errors are viewed as a positive learning experience (cf. audiolingual/behaviourist rejection of error as ‘bad’) learners will acquire good learning skills by practising self/peer correction (it is motivating / learners will be able to use this again in their language learning) learners won’t ‘learn’ defective language just by being exposed to it (but will learn the correct form) errors need to be corrected / correction needs to be integrated into learning / errors deserve distinct attention (cf. pure communicative approaches where error may not be corrected) (even if they have not made the error themselves), learners can learn from other people’s errors delayed correction is useful / it’s not necessary to correct the error at the time it is made language drawn from learner output is useful input / learner-centred syllabus is more relevant / meaningful / appropriate for the level a good way of noticing correct language is by contrasting it with a defective version/ analysis of errors aids learning the teacher should not correct / select for correction all errors but choose only some of them ( selecting all errors would be demotivating) the teacher is not the only source of correct language / learner autonomy is to be encouraged as this will lead to greater accuracy through self-correction later the teacher is the ultimate source of correct language (she selects the errors and corrects in stage 4) student errors need to handled sensitively/anonymously in order not to embarrass students / raise their affective filter / prevent learning etc. errors should be pointed out before work is returned to allow noticing when work is returned
peer correction allows stronger students to get credit for what they know / allows weaker students to realise their mistakes issues that might arise learners from more traditional educational backgrounds may feel the teacher is not ‘doing their job’ ( this could undermine the teacher-student relationship) learners may not ‘trust’ their peers to correct their language / believe peers will produce defective language (particularly true of stronger students’ attitude to weaker ones) learners may be confused/alienated about the fact that their cards contain both correct and incorrect sentences with no indication of which is which learners may be resistant to being exposed to ‘defective’ language. learners may be embarrassed if they get the answer wrong in front of the class learners may not like / expect to work collaboratively on error – may feel exposed to their peers if one of their errors is selected for the activity in stage 5 there’s a possibility that learners will correct language which is not defective in a mixed ability group, weaker students may feel more exposed by a class focus on error / stronger students may dominate / weaker students may ‘opt out’ (which will affect student-student relations) learners may not be able to identify the errors (which may be particularly problematic in monolingual groups where all students make the same error and do not recognise is as such) the activity would be difficult to monitor/manage (especially in certain class sizes) disagreements among students may adversely affect class dynamics the activity would take a lot of class time which teacher/students may believe is better spent on other activities / Those students who have not done the homework may feel their time is wasted learners may feel ‘cheated’ if their own errors are not corrected (see stage 5) may not suit all learning styles such as e.g. holistic, ambiguity intolerant (must give one correct example) may overemphasis the importance of accuracy / too much focus on form may hinder acquisition activity tends to focus on errors that occur at sentence level rather than text level. teacher may find it difficult/challenging select/prioritise errors that are most appropriate for their learners’ needs teacher may find it hard to respond effectively to the range of points raised by students students may assume that non-highlighted errors are correct (leading to fossilisation) learners may not have metalanguage to explain why something isn’t correct no opportunity in lesson to point out the strengths of students’ work
11.2 Candidate performance The mean score for this task was under half the marks available, although marks did range widely indicating that the task discriminated well between stronger and weaker candidates.. This was the other task (together with Paper 1 task 4) on which candidates scored less well than in December 08. This task had many marks available to it and many points that could be made. There were some, though few, signs that candidates were short of time for the task. Part a Weaker candidates - took ‘issues’ to mean positive points rather than problems and so repeated in part b points that they had already made under part a - saw the question as an opportunity to write everything they knew about error correction and did not apply their points to this particular classroom based activity - appeared to lack sufficient classroom experience or experience of a range of contexts and so were limited to making points such as the value of working collaboratively / peer correction / encouraging learner autonomy, importance of working on errors in the classroom - approached the task by trying to relate the activity to a methodological approach, e.g. Silent Way, CLL, humanism. They therefore missed important points because their perspective was too narrow Stronger candidates - had a sound knowledge of the area of errors and correction and so recognised that they are part of the language learning process, the value of contrastive analysis , the value of delayed correction etc. Their experience in the classroom came through in this task. Part b Weaker candidates - were more confident in this part of the task where they could refer to their own classroom experience. However, for those candidates whose experience was limited, they tended to limit their points to the fact that their learners would not like this approach. In some extreme cases, answers moved into a subjective evaluation of the material / approach, e.g. I wouldn’t use this material because my students pay a lot of money and want to be taught something - did not consider different types of learners / learning contexts, e.g. young learners / monolingual classes - discussed how they would teach with these materials - appeared to be applying points valid in the Task Four December 2008 exam to this task Stronger candidates - organised their answer clearly and ensured that they divided their time between both parts of the task - considered a range of problems relating to task management, class dynamics, learners’ responses to the activity, the results on learning of working with errors etc. - drew on their classroom experience to consider how the activity would work in different contexts and why it wouldn’t work in some Candidates are recommended to: read the rubric very carefully only provide the information they are asked for about a subject i.e. keep to the point make as many relevant points as they can under each section signpost their answers clearly to show what kind of information they are giving, e.g. beliefs, issues approach the task as a fresh task and not apply to it assumptions about what needs to go into ‘Task Four’ tasks. Each Task Four will have a different focus and set of requirements and needs to be dealt with on its own merits allow themselves enough time for both parts of the task refer, where appropriate, to a range of learners and contexts avoid writing introductions or conclusions to the task
11.3 Sample Answers The following sample answer obtained very high marks for this task 4 a.) BELIEFS The teacher believes that error correction is valid and that errors cannot be left to naturally ‘repair’ themselves through exposure and natural acquisition. in concentrating on accuracy to prevent fossilisation of learner errors in concentrating on local errors rather than only in global errors that effect communication, therefore accuracy is prized that peer correction is a valid means of error correction possibly to create pooled knowledge and to encourage this in class, possibly for affective reasons, i.e. it is easier to accept ‘criticism’ from a peer. noticing is important, that students should be trained to see differences in correct and produced form the role of the teacher should not always be authoritative or the source of information it is important to develop learner autonomy as this extends learning beyond the classroom, therefore noticing errors is encouraged and teacher authority abnegated. too much intervention in error correction leads to over-reliance on the teacher error correction should be depersonalised, partly for affective reasons, to avoid demoralising learner, but also in order to concentrate on ‘representative mistakes’ not all errors should be focussed on, only the most frequent and those expected to be known at a certain level there is an expected progress through structures to words accuracy, and different errors are expected at different levels. students should be given ‘monitoring’ skills in order to be able to monitor and correct their own output (Krashen: monitor hypothesis) It is important to focus student on key errors as non-focussed error correction would be too much for them to benefit from key errors can be identified within a group or level Error correction should be separated from content feedback on work (here writing) to give prominence to content when the work is given back. the teacher is the final authority on error correction, but should only be used after the student resource is exhausted overt teaching is acceptable regarding errors but will be more salient once students have attempted themselves Errors should be pointed out before work is returned, to allow noticing when the original text is presented to the learner
b) ARISING ISSUES (from learner-context) level: At a higher level errors are less likely to be common amongst students and ‘interesting’ examples might be more effective
Very low levels may not have the knowledge to peer correct, or at least, not the confidence Young learners may not have the maturity to take responsibility for peer correction, and error correction may not be valid as they are less rule-based and more likely to acquire accurate language through exposure. Any error correction might be inhibiting to natural acquisition.
Older learners may have been educated in a system where the teacher is seen as an authority, and may see the less authoritative role as not taking proper responsibility
+ Non-personalisation of error correction may reduce inhibition in peer correction where younger learners do not want to correct elders Class Size + This method allows group work that allows more intensive work on common errors with all members of the class involved With a very large class the final feedback stage might be difficult to control with a very small class, group work would be impractical and another format would need to be chosen.
Cultural Background + Students from strict disciplinary educational backgrounds may be relieved to discover a depersonalised, non-judgemental approach Students may reject the exercise as they have been brought up to believe that the teacher is the authority, or may reject the correction of peers
Monolingual-Multilingual Classes + In monolingual classes it is likely that errors will be representative and therefore this is a useful way of highlighting interlingual errors In a multilingual class, key errors may be very important to one group of learners but irrelevant to others. Highlighting common errors may result in key errors being overlooked
Learner Types + Because the error-correction is depersonalised it is less likely to inhibit risk-taking learners Ambiguity intolerant learners may be frustrated that not all errors are dealt with
General Students may presume that non-highlighted errors are correct, leading to fossilization Without proper monitoring errors may be incorrectly delta with by learners. Therefore teacher authority is still key. Examiner’s comments on sample answer Part a The candidate makes a large number of discrete and valid points which show good awareness of the beliefs about error correction that this activity draws on. The points are made clearly and succinctly without any unnecessary elaboration. Setting points out clearly with breaks between them, as this candidate has done, allows candidates to see quickly, while writing, what points they have already made.
Part b Although the candidate has not focussed on issues related to classroom management or lesson planning she still makes a high number of valid points. He/ she does this through thinking about how the activity would work with a wide range of types of learner, and to a lesser extent with learners in general. There is some repetition of points made under a. These are not credited twice.
11.3.1 The following sample answer obtained fewer than half the number of marks available for this task 4. a) The beliefs that underlie this activity are that learners are more likely to notice and correct errors if they have been produced by themselves. It is not necessary for the correcting of written homework to be done by the teacher. Peer correction of personalised errors is a way of internalising correct forms regardless of the error. Task based learning is favoured by this activity. b) Learner’s may be sensitive to other learners identifying their mistakes and may lose confidence. Traditional approaches to teaching experienced by learners may influence their opinion of this practice in a negative way as the role of the teacher is not central. Unless teacher monitors closely, common errors that require further attention will be missed to the detriment of learner progress Asking the students to correct their own work is not a reliable way to correct errors. if groups are not monitored effectively fossilization may occur. Learners may take a dim view of the teacher “not doing his job” as this activity is done by the teacher in more traditional approaches to teaching. Writing takes a lot of cognitive effort for learners and learners exact and appreciate personal attention to their work. This approach does not afford that.
Examiner’s comments on sample answer Part a The candidate makes some valid and relevant points. The last point however is not about beliefs about error correction. Overall though, few points are made. This may be because of time management issues. Part b The candidate makes more points here than in part a though some repeat one another and are not credited twice. The answer covers a range of issues, which could provide a platform for the candidate to make a wide range of different points. However, in fact, the candidate makes few points.
11.3.2 The following sample answer obtained very few of the marks available for this task
Task 4 a. beliefs - working in teams lowers affective filters and allows for better retention - collaboration between peers is good for class moral and assists weaker Ss. - Cognitive effort of deciding what is correct aids noticing & remembering, - personalisation aids Ss engagement in the task - Ss get practice with mistakes being studied - Noticing mistakes assists with not making the same mistake again
- Repetition of the exercise – aids in memorization / imitation - Saying why you think its wrong helps Ss and Teacher correct wrong assumptions b. Issues - Ss always want this approach adopted but the method is time consuming - Ss not able to self-correct at lower levels (elementary) if they are weak - Ss more motivated to do homework - Some Ss may feel embarrassed if they didn’t do homework and might leave the class. - If there is a large class the task might not get completed - Ss will have loud disagreements - At lower levels – Ss might regress into using L1 to explain their reasoning. Examiner’s comments on sample answer Part a The candidate has recognised that a number of points need to be made. Unfortunately though, the points made do not relate only to error correction. Those that refer to general classroom practices e.g. personalisation, repetition, collaboration cannot gain marks unless their relevance to beliefs about error correction are made clear and are correct. Part b The candidate appears to consider what issues might arise from several points of view e.g. classroom management, learner ability, learners’ comfort levels. This is useful. Answers need elaborating, however, to take them away from being rather sweeping statements about students in all contexts and making their link to issues in error correction more transparent.