Assessment Report

Level 1 Japanese 2021

Standards 90893  90896

 

Part A: Commentary

Candidates who were able to cite specific examples from the various texts to support their answers achieved higher grades than those who simply wrote simple facts or did not back up their responses in detail. Questions in the examinations required synthesis of information to reach the Excellence grades, and candidates who were able to fully engage with each text were therefore awarded higher grades. Candidates cannot rely on simply knowing all the vocabulary – rather, they need to be able to glean meaning from an overall text and apply this information to the questions asked.

Candidates should remember that questions are marked holistically, and they need to be concise when constructing their answers. They are discouraged from relying too heavily on prior knowledge or invented detail, as the standards require meaning to be drawn from the texts themselves. Candidates who answer in Japanese must rework the language to demonstrate clear understanding rather than lifting sentences directly from the texts. Some handwriting was difficult to read, and some candidates did not proofread their answers, leaving unintended errors. Candidates are encouraged to make full use of the time available for these standards.

Candidates need to be made aware that all information in the listening passages or resource booklet is valuable and the more information they can include in their answers the better. Even a small amount of detail is valuable in a response. Candidates should be encouraged to attempt all questions even if they can only recognise a couple of words or phrases. Many candidates struggle with accurate comprehension of common, everyday words such as family members, colours, numbers, days of the week, counters.

Part B: Report on standards

90893:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of spoken Japanese texts on areas of most immediate relevance

Examinations

The examination consisted of three questions and candidates were required to respond to all three. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specifications which were “Demonstrate understanding of a variety of spoken Japanese texts on areas of most immediate relevance” where most immediate relevance refers to “language related to basic personal information and past, present, and/or future experiences (e.g. family, shopping, local area, events and activities)”.  The questions required candidates to listen to three varied texts and show comprehension of the texts by responding with full reference to support their answers. Candidates were awarded higher grades when they

Observation

The answer booklets and the website platform for answers allowed space or paper for candidates to take listening notes. Notes taken on paper during the digital examination experience were not available to markers, and therefore listening notes were not taken into account for any candidates during the marking process, so as not to disadvantage others.  However, based on the evidence available, it is clear that candidates who spent time taking notes used rich information to draw on when constructing answers to the questions.

In the listening section, candidates often missed the details such as the particles, which gave a lot of the meaning. For instance, in this section:   たんじょう日に おとうさん から、いい カメラを もらいました, many candidates said that she had given her father a camera for his birthday. Many candidates also did not have a good knowledge of groups of vocabulary, such as family members, days of the week, etc. As these link directly to the content of a Level 1 Japanese assessment – based on “family, shopping, local area, events, and activities” – they should be well known by candidates. Similarly, numbers used in time expressions were also not commonly understood.

Candidates who aimed at Excellence need to be able to extrapolate information from the text. For example, in Question One, they were asked what kind of person Nadia is. The text does not tell us this information, but rather presents three small episodes of things Nadia does that show us her personality. Candidates who did achieve Excellence were able to look at the things Nadia did and said, and make a direct link to what kind of person she was from these. 

Grade Awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • showed evidence of being able to understand a spoken passage to a certain extent, but often without detail
  • understood most basic vocabulary
  • gave short answers based on correctly identifying key ideas
  • showed understanding of the basic information in the passage, but lacked vocabulary to develop responses
  • missed key information / whole parts of the passage or misunderstood particles that gave meaning
  • wrote words they did not know in hiragana as part of answers that were written in English
  • were not confident with more complex language patterns.

Candidates who were awarded Not Achieved commonly:

  • wrote one- or two-word answers
  • wrote longer, largely fabricated answers, often based on their personal experiences
  • misunderstood some basic vocabulary
  • gave irrelevant, illogical or contradictory answers.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • provided longer, more connected answers based on the information provided in the passages, often including multiple details
  • attempted to include all information in their answers even if it didn’t seem to fit
  • answered all questions, but not to the same depth
  • attempted to draw conclusions, however, did not support them fully with evidence from the passage
  • showed good knowledge of language features and vocabulary
  • attempted to provide explanations and/or justifications that were relevant to the passages.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • gave detailed answers that showed full understanding of passages
  • supported their answers fully with accurate and relevant information from the passage
  • demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of vocabulary and language features
  • went beyond the evidence from the passages to provide inferences or to draw conclusions.

 

90896:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of Japanese texts on areas of most immediate relevance

Examinations

The examination consisted of three questions and candidates were required to answer all three. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specifications which were “Demonstrate understanding of a variety of Japanese texts on areas of most immediate relevance” where most immediate relevance refers to “language related to basic personal information and past, present, and/or future experiences (e.g. family, shopping, local area, events and activities)”.  The questions required candidates to read three varied texts and show comprehension of the texts by responding with full reference to the texts to support their answers. Candidates were awarded higher grades when they took full advantage of information provided in the texts to support their answers.

Successful candidates used information from the whole of each text. Candidates who were less successful used information from illustrations / pictures in the resource booklet or used personal knowledge rather than information from the text to answer questions.

Observations

Common words candidates did not understand accurately were いきませんか、はやく、

ちょっと、三つ、コンビニ、まど、そば、せがたかい、はる、水えい、デザイン.  Common words that were not understood at all were ぜんぶ、小さそう、おわってから、まだ、ふるくなる、一人で.  Candidates often misread 三万三千円 as 3030 or 3300 yen. Some candidates wrote dollars instead of yen.

Candidates regularly confused family members and colours. Candidates often made generalisations, such as “the bag fits stuff for sport” and “has a cat at home” rather than listing the various items that could be put in the bag to make it more useful, or that the cat sleeps on the sister’s bed. Candidates sometimes focused on the pictures and used only information from the pictures to answer questions, rather than engaging with the texts themselves. 

Candidates often did not use extra pages when answers were longer than the allocated line spacing. They should be encouraged to do so.

Candidates regularly struggle with vocabulary that can have two meanings, such as はやい、おそい、よく、きれい、とまる as well as words that sound similar まど and かど, はれ and はる. Candidates need to make sure they check their answers carefully to ensure that they have answered what has been asked in the question, and to ensure that their response makes sense. 

In Question Three, Achievement with Excellence candidates could work out the meaning of もったいない but other candidates struggled to understand the concept. The use of words such as より、小さそう、でしょう、時、おわってから clearly distinguished the candidates capable of a higher level of understanding.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • showed evidence of being able to read hiragana, katakana, and simple kanji
  • understood most basic vocabulary
  • gave short answers based on correctly identified key ideas
  • made tenuous links within phrases or between phrases
  • missed key information or whole parts of the text
  • wrote words they did not know in hiragana as part of answers that were written in English
  • missed grammar patterns such as ~そう, ~ませんか、より、~てから.

Candidates who were awarded Not Achieved commonly:

  • used information or pictures given to them to complete their answers
  • wrote one- or two-word, or longer largely fabricated answers
  • misread basic vocabulary
  • gave irrelevant, illogical or contradictory answers
  • invented answers based on their own personal experience.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • provided longer, more detailed answers based on the information provided in the texts, often including multiple details
  • attempted to include all information in their answers even if it didn’t seem to fit
  • answered all questions, but not to the same level of depth
  • attempted to draw conclusions; however, did not support them fully with evidence from the text
  • showed good knowledge of language features and vocabulary
  • attempted to provide explanations and/or justifications that were relevant to the texts
  • demonstrated an understanding of language patterns
  • read kanji accurately.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • gave detailed answers that showed full understanding of all texts
  • supported their answers fully, with accurate and relevant information from the text
  • demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of vocabulary and language features
  • showed evidence of having proofread their answers to provide high quality responses
  • went beyond the evidence from the text to provide inferences.

Japanese subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 193KB)

2019 (PDF, 279KB)

2018 (PDF, 140KB)

2017 (PDF, 42KB)

2016 (PDF, 240KB)

 
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