Assessment Report

Level 1 French 2021

Standards 90878  90881

Part A: Commentary

Most candidates organised the information from the text to answer each question. The piece of information that candidates struggled most with involved identifying information in the imperfect tense.

The candidates who referenced their responses to the question and the text carefully succeeded at communicating most of the implied information. 

Candidates communicated the implied meanings in the texts, and this is evident with most candidates answering questions with some inferred meaning as opposed to translating from the text.

Stronger candidates did this in more detail, often using sentence starters such as “it means that”, “it implied that”, and “therefore”. However, it is important that inferences should not stray from the information that is given in the listening or reading passages.

Precise understanding of Level 1 vocabulary is key for language learning at this level. While some nouns could be decoded from context (such as noise), prior vocabulary knowledge is necessary for words such as window, wind, dirty, and tree. Several candidates demonstrated shaky understanding of the text by making inaccurate guesses about cognates.

Part B: Report on standards

90878:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of spoken French texts on areas of most immediate relevance

Examinations 

The examination included three questions, and candidates were required to respond to all. Questions asked candidates to apply their listening skills on areas of immediate relevance and so covered topics that are relevant to Level One themes taught in schools. The questions and responses aligned to the standard and the assessment specification and aligned with vocabulary list for Level One French.

Most questions used a variety of structures that candidates would be expected to interpret at their curriculum level. These included past tenses (perfect and imperfect), intensifiers, reasons, and justifications. The questions were written so that candidates could make use of context and familiar language to communicate the meanings of the text. Passages had been provided to challenge candidates sufficiently to demonstrate a more thorough knowledge at the curriculum level.

Observations 

To show clear or thorough understanding, candidates were encouraged to weave evidence from the text into their answers, as most of the passages were relevant.

Even for strong candidates, numbers and prepositions that indicated exact times or durations were commonly misunderstood.

Few candidates consistently demonstrated accurate knowledge of sentences such as “when I was eight years old, I played basketball”, “I have played the piano for 3 years”, and “two years ago, he started learning German”. In terms of the curriculum level, understanding these types of sentences is important to make meaning accurately from passages of immediate relevance.

Candidates should ensure that they answer the questions, rather than just translating the texts.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • answered all or most parts of the questions despite some imprecisions
  • used basic inferences to make sure the responses answered the question, rather than just translating the text
  • communicated the general meaning of the text despite the answers lacking detail
  • omitted significant parts of the text when giving evidence
  • understood low-level lexical items such as opinion verbs and common nouns
  • made use of the cognates in the text
  • showed some understanding of when the past and future were being communicated, although usually with imprecisions as to exact timing and duration.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly: 

  • used cognates to make educated guesses about meaning, but made inaccurate statements of varying length
  • did not demonstrate understanding of basic vocabulary and syntax from Levels One to Four of the curriculum.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • answered all questions with a good range of correct information from the text
  • included specific evidence from the text to justify their responses
  • included logical inferences to make sure the responses answered the question, although these were not always detailed or consistent
  • made small mistakes with numbers and vocabulary
  • showed understanding of when the past and future were being communicated, although with occasional imprecisions as to exact timing and duration, for example with numbers, and prepositions such as ‘depuis’, ‘il y a’, and ‘prochain’.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • responded fully to each part of the question using nearly all relevant pieces of information from the text as evidence
  • understood nuances in meaning
  • made connections and elaborated on them e.g., “Going to a concert together would be a good bonding experience because Thelo is going to live in Australia.”
  • compared different pieces of information from the text to justify their answers e.g. “Because dance trains just once a week, compared to 4 times for basketball, this would leave her more time to study for her important exams.”
  • organised information from different sections of the text to include more evidence
  • demonstrated unambiguous understanding of past and future tenses, including time markers, accurately communicating precise timing and duration.


90881: Demonstrate understanding of a variety of French texts on areas of most immediate relevance

Examinations 

The examination included three questions, and candidates were required to respond to all. Candidates applied reading skills to topics of immediate relevance. The questions and responses aligned to the assessment specification and related to the vocabulary list for Level One French.

Most questions required knowledge of a variety of structures that candidates would be expected to interpret at their curriculum level. This included past tenses (perfect and imperfect tenses), intensifiers, reasons and justifications. The questions were written to require use of context and familiar language in response.

Observations 

Many candidates showed awareness of the need to communicate implied meanings, and as a result the weaker candidates who attempted to do so sometimes made up some very random connections and / or wrote copious amounts of irrelevant information, making it hard to decipher what they did understand.

Sometimes candidates communicated complex or implied information but omitted the evidence from the text needed to justify these. Alternatively, some candidates clearly displayed a complete understanding of the texts but did not communicate implied meanings and therefore missed out on the top grades.

Basic vocabulary and language structures (verb tenses, prepositions) were often misunderstood even by stronger candidates. They should be aware that some words have more than one meaning. 

Candidates should avoid answering partially in French as copying out part of the text does not demonstrate that clear understanding. They will be successful if they pay close attention to verb tenses and time markers.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • attempted all or most parts of questions, despite some lexical errors – for example, translating ‘célèbre’ as ‘celebrities’, ‘maison’ as ‘mansion’, ‘à côté de la gare Part-Dieu’ as ‘on the coast of Part-Dieu’, ‘frère’ as ‘father’, or ‘campagne’ as ‘campsite’
  • displayed a basic knowledge of vocabulary but confused the days of the week and numbers, particularly ‘mille’
  • made mistakes with the 24-hour clock
  • confused past, present, and future tenses. For example, ‘on va voyager aux Etats-Unis’ as ‘they went to the USA’
  • displayed understanding of the gist of the texts but missed the details – for example, ‘quelquefois’ in Texts B and C, and ‘environ’ in Text A
  • displayed detailed understanding of sections of the text only
  • translated the text rather than answering the question.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly: 

  • demonstrated limited vocabulary knowledge, for example, ‘bâtiments’ became ‘boats’, ‘vélo’ became ‘car’, ‘musée’ became ‘music’
  • did not use the texts to provide evidence for their answers
  • misread the general meaning of the texts.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly: 

  • communicated some of the implied meanings but did not support these with evidence from the texts
  • demonstrated familiarity with past, present and future tenses, although they sometimes mixed tenses in their answers
  • demonstrated understanding of the texts by including many of the details required at Excellence, but did not communicate any of the implied meanings
  • usually wrote clear and unambiguous answers in full sentences and accurate English.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • provided detailed answers that always addressed the questions, crafting their answers into a concise form
  • drew conclusions, making inferences or summarising information based on different and relevant parts of texts
  • demonstrated understanding of more difficult phrases: ‘pas seulement d’un climat’, ‘on peut louer’, ‘on a dû prendre’, ‘un balcon qui donnait sur’, ‘un de mes chanteurs préférés’, and ‘depuis trois ans’
  • linked evidence from texts and used it to draw conclusions, for example in Question 1(a): ‘it must be amazing and famous as it says there are lots of people in the streets’
  • demonstrated extensive knowledge of vocabulary. In Question 1(a) only the very strongest candidates recognised ‘gratuit’ as free and ‘goûter’ as to taste (rather than afternoon tea or snack).

French subject page 

Previous years' reports
2020 (PDF, 269KB)

2019 (PDF, 246KB)

2018 (PDF, 103KB)

2017 (PDF, 45KB)

2016 (PDF, 221KB)

 
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