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2015 Notes from the Marking Centre – English ESL

Introduction

This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 English ESL course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2015 Higher School Certificate examination, highlighting their strengths in particular parts of the examination and indicating where candidates need to improve.
This document should be read along with:

other support documents developed by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW to assist in the teaching and learning of English ESL in Stage 6.

Paper 1

Section 1

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • demonstrating understanding of the concept of discovery
  • providing appropriate textual references.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • addressing the key components of each question
  • selecting relevant quotations, techniques and examples to support their argument
  • demonstrating understanding of the overall meaning of a text
  • avoiding unnecessary detail in their responses.

Section 2

Different approaches to the question:

One approach was to deal with the notions of curiosity and necessity in relation to various ideas of Discovery. A different but equally valid approach was to focus on simply ‘curiosity’ or ‘necessity’. Some students partially answered the question by focusing on the aspect of an individual being led to discoveries about themselves and the world.

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • demonstrating knowledge of the texts
  • understanding how different concepts of Discovery and discovering were conveyed through texts
  • synthesising quotes, techniques and communication of ideas about Discovery
  • using language features fluently and demonstrating control of expression
  • using the language forms and structures of an essay.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • fully addressing the question throughout the response, not simply reiterating the question in the introduction and conclusion
  • analysing and not merely describing the content of texts
  • choosing an appropriate related text
  • synthesising ideas from prescribed texts and related text.

Paper 2

Module A: Elective 1- Australian Voices & Elective 2 - Australian Visions

Different approaches to the question:

One approach was for the student to respond using the first person, reflecting on how their study of Australian Visions or Voices had influenced their individual perceptions of Australia and its society, values, attitudes and beliefs.
A different but equally valid approach was to consider how the composer’s exploration of Australian Visions or Voices, shown through different forms and features, was able to influence the responder’s perspective of Australia and its society, values, attitudes and beliefs.

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • integrating their analysis and discussion of how the study of Australian visions or Australian voices have influenced perceptions of Australia in their prescribed text and related text
  • developing a thesis
  • demonstrating comprehensive knowledge of the prescribed and related texts
  • demonstrating understanding of the text forms in relation to both the prescribed and related texts
  • composing a cohesive response with sustained control of expression
  • discussing a range of Australian visions or voices with well-chosen supporting textual evidence to reflect values, attitudes and perceptions within Australian society.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • addressing the question rather than relying on pre-learnt responses from previous examination questions
  • providing an insightful understanding and detailed analysis that links not only to the question but also to the Module and the Elective studied
  • engaging and showing a holistic understanding of the texts and avoiding recount of both texts
  • demonstrating a thorough understanding of the textual forms, features and structures.

Paper 2

Module B

Questions 3 and 4

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • demonstrating knowledge of the electives
  • incorporating relevant examples of learning
  • understanding the connection between audience, context and purpose
  • responding to a scenario.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  1. responding to the question through their knowledge of the elective, not simply creating an answer in isolation from it
  2. fully addressing the requirements of the question, not just elements of it
  3. providing a connection between the relevance of the elective and their response
  4. including only necessary detail in their responses.

Listening Paper

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • providing a description as stated in the text
  • giving direct information from the text
  • identifying techniques used by the speaker.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • providing a detailed explanation
  • interpreting quotes
  • addressing the question given, such as referring to positive and negative aspects of space walking
  • identifying examples from the text, rather than a generic response
  • writing synthesised responses.

 

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