GCSE Modern Foreign Languages
Improving GCSE Writing
Controlled Assessment
Steps to success
Task & Purpose:
•
Candidates should be encouraged to construct and deliver their
own individual response to the task and its purpose.
•
Discuss with candidates: What should the content and ideas be?
How best should their response be organised and developed?
Task & Purpose:
•
Purpose is an important factor (Article, Report, Blog, Competition
entry, Letter or E-mail).
•
Purpose is just as important as task title, because it gives point to
the task.
•
You could even invite candidates to devise their own preferred
context. (They do not all have to do the same!)
Task & Purpose:
•
Candidates should decide what vocabulary and structures they
have learned will best support their ideas and make them their
own.
•
Teachers should not provide candidates with specific language
items.
•
Candidates do need to be taught how the language works, so that
they can demonstrate their own level of complexity and control.
Task Choice:
•
With a mixed ability group it is essential to promote some
differentiation of task and scope, gently guiding task choice for
weaker candidates, in accordance with perceived individual
potential.
•
A ‘one size fits all’ approach is emphatically not recommended.
Compare the range of sample tasks in OCR’s Guide to
Controlled Assessment – Writing
(http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/78314-guide-to-controlledassessment-writing.pdf). Consider how they have been set up
and differentiated.
Task Choice:
•
Let candidates come up with ideas and suggestions.
•
Let more able candidates choose their task!
•
Avoid templates, detailed suggestions for candidates and
focussed lists of ‘suitable’ phrases for inclusion!
Group Preparation:
•
Allow candidates to discuss approaches to the topic and possible
tasks.
•
Ideally this should be done in English as this offers a ‘level
playing–field’ for all abilities in the first instance.
Group Preparation:
•
Candidates could also be encouraged to discuss ideas for the task
at home, both before and/or after the class session.
Individual Preparation:
•
Ensure candidates are familiar with the word-count
recommendations.
•
200 – 300 words targeting grades A* - C
•
100 – 175 words targeting D – G
•
It is good practice for candidates to provide a word count, so that
they know where they stand in this respect.
Individual Preparation:
•
Candidates should be encouraged to think about structure and
development, not just different content elements.
•
Consideration of the reader (for whom the writer is writing), should
be always kept in focus.
•
Attention should be given to punctuation, to the logical linking of
paragraphs, and to the logical, appropriate linking and
expansion/explanation of ideas.
“A satisfying and meaningful read”
•
Clarity – are the points, the arguments clear with sufficient detail?
•
Is the language precise enough or must the reader do some
guesswork?
“A satisfying and meaningful read”
•
Relevance – is it all relevant to the stated task and purpose?
•
Is there some irrelevant material, just there to try to impress
linguistically?
•
Are points of view developed, and justified in the wider sense by
expansion and explanation, or are there ‘hanging’ (isolated)
opinions?
“A satisfying and meaningful read”
•
Effectiveness – do points follow logically?
•
Are explanations convincing?
•
Is the content generalised and ‘rote’?
•
Is the language used precise and appropriate?
•
Is it idiomatic (= sounding natural for the language concerned) or
somewhat anglicised (= word-for-word translated)?
•
Are the language and the structures repetitive and with little
variety?
“A satisfying and meaningful read”
•
Coherence – both in the sense of ‘clear’ and in the sense of
‘sticking together.’
•
Is there a sense of ‘wholeness’ to the work?
•
Do all paragraphs develop reasonably out of each other, or are
they isolated or random in their focus?
“A satisfying and meaningful read”
•
Depends on good literacy generally.
•
The freedom of task and task approach of this Specification is
intended to encourage effective and meaningful writing.
Assessment Basis:
•
Marks for “Communication” (15 marks) and “Quality of Language”
(15 marks) are awarded on a best fit basis.
•
All descriptors within each band should be weighed together in
order to find the most appropriate mark for a piece of work.
•
None of the mark band descriptors should be taken in isolation.
•
It is not a question of ‘jumping through hoops’, or ‘clearing
hurdles’.
Assessment Basis:
•
“Communication” and “Quality of Language” mark-schemes are
inter-dependent: comparison of descriptors shows that
‘Communication’ needs linguistic clarity, relevance and variety,
just as ‘Quality’ needs control, lack of ambiguity, relevance and
coherence.
•
More sophisticated communication requires more sophisticated or
complex language. Appropriate marks for “Communication” and
for “Quality” will therefore almost certainly complement each
other.
Assessment Basis:
•
Share and discuss the mark-scheme criteria with candidates in
advance, so that they may also have insight into how they will be
assessed (see section 4 of the Specification).
Assessment Basis:
•
Convincing: Does it sound authentic?
•
Adverbs and adverbial phrases are especially useful for conveying
personality and individuality in a piece of writing. They readily
show points of view without wasting a lot of words and also
facilitate moving from one point to the next or from one paragraph
to the next.
Assessment Basis:
•
Fullness of response: There has to be enough there to complete
the task and purpose contexts.
•
Candidates have actual preparation time, as much further thinking
time as they wish to use, and sixty minutes in which to write up
what they have prepared. The quality and thoroughness of this
preparation is what will determine the individual outcome, and
what will therefore differentiate candidate achievement.
Assessment Basis:
•
The basis of this MFL GCSE Specification is that candidates
should want to express their own views to the best of their
individual ability, and that they should be given the freedom and
opportunities to do so.
•
The appropriate language skills (see Appendix B of the
Specification) of course need to be taught, in order to help each
candidate show what s/he can achieve.
Finally:
•
Impress upon candidates that they need to write legibly
•
Encourage candidates to proof read their work to check for
spellings an accents (in particular where the lack of or addition of
an accent changes the meaning of the word).
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