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2015 Notes from the Marking Centre – Spanish Extension


This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Spanish Extension course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2015 Higher School Certificate examination, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.
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 Spanish Extension in Stage 6.

Oral examination

Characteristics of better responses:

  • the interpretation of the statement being discussed and the stance being taken, for example, either agreeing, disagreeing or agreeing with reservations was clearly made in the introduction
  • this stance was supported by providing relevant and interesting information, presented in a logical, coherent manner and, importantly, consistently linked back to the topic
  • the argument was strongly concluded within the time allocation
  • a wide range of vocabulary and a variety of language structures were manipulated to make the arguments convincing and easy to follow
  • presentations were delivered confidently and fluently.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • the stance being taken on the topic was not clearly made and lacked logical structure
  • an attempt was made to support the argument, but it was generally poorly linked to the topic and often irrelevant
  • responses were often hesitant and repetitious, and couched in language which lacked both lexical richness and structural variety
  • a clear conclusion was lacking, and the topic statement was merely reread
  • the time requirement was not adhered to, with responses being either rather short, or continuing well past the allocated three minutes, as if repeating the same irrelevant information would serve to convince the audience.

Written examination

Section I – Response to Prescribed Text (Part A)

Characteristics of better responses:

  • a sound understanding of the short story was demonstrated, including the characters, their motivations and the significance of their actions
  • an analysis led to valid conclusions which were well supported with evidence from the text
  • the issues raised by the questions were specifically addressed with relevant material, without unnecessary details
  • a clear, coherent and well-written response demonstrated good planning.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • little knowledge of the short story was demonstrated
  • the requirements of the question were not addressed in a logical or clear way
  • irrelevant information was included as padding, or the story was simply re-told
  • the short story was not accurately understood.

Section I – Response to Prescribed Text (Part B)

Characteristics of better responses:

  • an in-depth understanding of the story ‘La Segunda Visita’ and the characters (father and son) was demonstrated with flair, originality and insight
  • the extract was woven into the response
  • the appropriate text type, the script of a talk, was used
  • a range of reflective language was used well
  • a wide range of varied language structures were controlled adeptly, with only minor errors of grammar.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • a superficial/confused knowledge of the story, its events and its characters was demonstrated
  • the extract was poorly woven, if at all, into the response
  • the story was re-told rather than addressing the requirements of the question
  • poor control of language including vocabulary, phrases and expressions, tenses, agreements was shown
  • English syntax was a strong feature.

Section II – Writing

Characteristics of better responses:

  • the focus was on explaining, with evidence, how, thanks to the advances in communication technology, no-one need be lonely(Q3); and the equal ability of men and women to choose their individual futures in modern society (Q4)
  • the specifics of the question were clearly and coherently addressed
  • insights were perceptive, sensitive and engaged reader interest effectively
  • a clear understanding of the purpose of the text and its audience was demonstrated
  • a varied range of rich language (vocabulary, structures, verbs) was manipulated
  • the appropriate text type (essay) was used.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • a disparate collection of topic areas were poorly linked, resulting in responses which were not always coherent or sustained
  • only superficial and limited insights into the topic were demonstrated
  • English syntax was a strong feature
  • the supporting material used was not always relevant or sufficient
  • the appropriate text type (essay) was not used.


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