Assessment Report

Level 2 French 2021

Standards 91118  91121

Part A: Commentary

The candidates who had a deep understanding of the prescribed vocabulary in contexts, and who were not taken by surprise by distinctions between French and their own culture, were able to work with the language used in the texts and passages of Level Two external assessments. These candidates justified their opinions by giving concrete evidence from the texts.

The most successful candidates were able to draw justified conclusions from the information provided, while also demonstrating a firm grasp of the language structures appropriate for this level. 

A few candidates found it difficult to relate to a text or passage outside their own experience; they were taken by surprise by the fact that chocolate had fallen from the sky and failed to respond adequately to the questions posed. 

It may be helpful for many candidates to reread their own responses, to ensure that they make sense.

Part B: Report on standards

91118:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of spoken French texts on familiar matters


The examination was made up of three passages with questions relating to each passage. The questions allowed for differentiation of candidate responses. 

Question 1 focused on the malfunction of a chocolate factory in the town of Olten. The first part of the text required candidates to expect the unexpected and embrace cultural inferences. The second part required the candidates to have the ability to put themselves in the shoes of the inhabitants of Olten and imagine whether they had a positive or negative experience.

Question 2 was a conversation – a radio listener asking advice from the host about long distance friendship. There was a lot of information for candidates to decode and relate to, such as the use of technology and the challenges to maintain a friendly relationship from a distance.

Question 3 introduced a French author, Victor Noel, talking about his passion and connections to nature. In the second part there was a lot of information for candidates to draw on and infer from, to demonstrate how Victor Noel is deeply committed and militates for the cause of the environment. In the third part there was information to show how he aspires to educate people through his book to protect the environment and create a better world.


Candidates need to refer closely to the listening comprehension texts. Many candidates answered based on their own knowledge and not on what they heard. Many responses contained too much inference and not enough facts. Candidates who gave general answers about global warming, including the melting of the icecaps, or about personal experiences about long-distance relationships, did not gain Merit or Excellence grades.

Candidates also need to read the questions carefully. For example, ‘À Olten’, although mentioned in the question, became in autumn or in the North of Dalton.

Answers must be linked to the specific aural text. Inferences show a full understanding of the text, however these need to be concise and related back to information in the text.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • showed a basic understanding of the text
  • gave irrelevant answers
  • understood only part of the text
  • misunderstood key words and changed the meaning:
    • ‘histoires’ translated as history
    • ‘souvenirs’ as souvenirs; the friends were forever sending souvenirs to each other
    • in ‘les manger’, candidates did not recognise the direct object article in front of the verb and often left out ‘les’. This made the sentence nonsensical, so that he couldn’t respect animals and continue to eat
    • les observer’ became to take a survey or to go to an observatory
    • Victor published / read a book about insects even though he was only three
    • other translations were that his parents got him a pet insect after he saw an advert.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • showed limited understanding of the text, and picked up only a few words to create responses
  • misunderstood the context or meaning and gave irrelevant answers, for example ‘de ne pas blesser les insectes’ became that he tried to bless insects, he met insects, he began inspecting / catching insects, or that he stopped a cat from hurting insects
  • wrote irrelevant answers, for example ‘pluie’ was often misunderstood which meant there was no sense of chocolate rain falling from the sky, although some had chocolate snow, a pile of chocolate, a storm of chocolate, a chocolate shower and chocolate falling from the sky. ‘Marcher’ became ‘market’ and ‘usine’ became ‘museum’; ‘a proposé’ became marriage proposals and ‘la chocolaterie’ ‘a chocolate tree’; ‘les vents’ was heard as ‘les avions’ and again led to a lot of misinterpretation with planes dropping the chocolate from the sky or transporting the chocolate
  • responses were not based on the aural text. In Question Two, many candidates gave answers based on their own opinion and experience of long-distance relationships; in Question Three many candidates talked about the problems of the environment from the melting of icecaps to climate change.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • provided mostly relevant information
  • misunderstood a few key words; ‘est partie en Europe’ was translated invariably as ‘left Europe’; ‘comment la nature a marché’ gave candidates an opportunity to talk about markets
  • misinterpreted some information: in Question Two there was some confusion about who had gone to Canada, Mäel or his friend, and it wasn’t always clear who was jealous or making new friends
  • did not use all the information in their listening notes to answer the questions
  • could select and connect information from different parts of the passage to build ideas.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • wrote logical answers demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the passages, integrating the finer linguistic points
  • made inferences that were relevant and concise
  • used well-chosen phrases and quite sophisticated language to ensure that their responses were understood
  • gave specific and targeted evidence from the texts.

91121: Demonstrate understanding of a variety of written and/or visual French texts on familiar matters


The assessment covered three different text types: an article, an email, and a journal entry. The interesting themes and candidate engagement with the texts made the marking process an enjoyable experience.

The questions were phrased in a way that was challenging for candidates as they were very open.

Question 1 invited a personal response, so the candidates who did not achieve well took the question at face value without referencing the text, merely discussing health issues.

Question 2 had three strong themes embedded; language, history, and culture. Weaker candidates failed to cover all three well.

Question 3 invited a response detailing advantages and disadvantages.


Candidates succeeded when they paid meticulous attention to the vocabulary and grammar structures. As examples, candidates need to recognise the verb valoir meaning to be worth; realise that ‘puisque’ is providing a link to the reason for visiting Pompallier House; recognise the pronoun ‘y’ as being at Pompallier House and understand the vocabulary; that ‘livres’ means books and not lives. Being able to understand the significance and role of each lexical and semantic item accurately contributed to holistic understanding.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • displayed a good basic general understanding of the texts
  • provided superficial answers, although these were poorly articulated at times
  • showed little or no evidence of proof reading for sense and inclusion of detail.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • wrote very little or gave irrelevant information
  • misunderstood the context of the texts or the demands of the question
  • provided personal information or general knowledge and strayed from giving evidence found in the text.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • provided thoughtful responses that showed a solid understanding of the texts
  • included a generous amount of detail
  • provided relevant information drawn from the texts
  • used vocabulary accurately, for example, télécharger, sortir mon portable, éviter
  • displayed understanding of specific grammar structures, in particular ‘..que’, ‘grâce à’

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • engaged actively with the texts
  • explained meaning succinctly
  • used well-chosen phrases and quite sophisticated language
  • took note of grammatical implications like ‘celle qui vous motive le plus’, ‘gagner du temps’, ‘en étant’, ‘en parlant’, ‘ma propre télévision’, ‘je viens de prendre’
  • were accurate with tenses
  • displayed in-depth understanding of implied meanings, going beyond what was stated in the texts to add extra statements evidencing high-level thinking.

French subject page 

Previous years' reports
2020 (PDF, 258KB)

2019 (PDF, 218KB)

2018 (PDF, 120KB)

2017 (PDF, 42KB)

2016 (PDF, 216KB)

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