Assessment Report

Level 1 French 2016

Standards 90878  90881


Part A: Commentary

Candidates who performed well demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the vocabulary, and understood lower frequency items and language features such as tenses. They were also able to understand more complex ideas in the texts and demonstrate understanding of detailed information.

The most successful candidates gave responses which expanded on ideas presented in the texts and then gave supporting detail for their ideas. They formed conclusions, supported by evidence from the text and / or implied meanings, which they explained and supported by selecting relevant information from the text. 


Part B: Report on Standards

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

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • had some understanding of parts of the texts but did not grasp the whole picture
  • knew relevant lexical items and information
  • found difficulty with longer, more complex sentences
  • responded in a basic manner
  • knew low level lexical items, e.g. descriptions and dates
  • misunderstood some low level lexical items, such as times, numbers
  • left some parts of questions blank
  • understood the main idea of some of the text
  • were confused by tenses.

Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • provided only snippets of relevant information
  • formed their answers on opinions with no supporting evidence from the text they had heard, e.g. “I could tell she was happy from the sound of her voice”
  • wrote scattered, disconnected lexical items as a response
  • struggled to understand basic words from levels 1 to 4 of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • clearly understood the texts and developed relevant information, although this may sometimes have lacked detail
  • missed nuance in meaning and clarity generally related to combinations of more complex language, such as pronouns, tenses and lower frequency words
  • used the listening notes box to good effect
  • provided a response to each part of the question
  • included detail in responses
  • responded accurately to less challenging questions, e.g. shopping list.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • provided well-developed responses which were comprehensive and detailed
  • provided detail in both information and language
  • included all relevant information
  • responded fully to each part of the question
  • understood high frequency vocabulary, e.g. numbers, times, quantities
  • interpreted tenses – past, perfect, future, imperfect, present
  • understood irregular verb stems
  • wrote succinct answers based on the text.

Standard-specific comments

The general school and leisure related themes provided a familiar context. Some candidates did not realise that the conversations were taking place in France. Candidates needed to read and understand the context and consider the likelihood of such a situation occurring in New Zealand.

Most sections were answered well and many candidates demonstrated a good understanding of the text. Some struggled to connect the facts, i.e. who Christophe was and his connection to Sophie and her holiday in the first text. “j’ai dû les aider” and “j’ai demandé à ma mère de me laisser partir” were some of the more difficult structures to understand.

Many candidates used the listening boxes to good effect, organising their notes on the left hand page and then writing considered responses in the answer spaces on the right.  

Listening to conversations or texts is recognised to be challenging. The criteria for Excellence focused more on conclusions, expanding on information and writing cohesive responses where facts are linked, rather than implied meanings or inference. 


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

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • gave relevant information and understood some parts of the text without understanding the whole context
  • understood basic, frequently used vocabulary
  • misinterpreted some of the information and then tried to make sense of additional unknown material
  • supported their evidence with a quote in the target language taken directly from the text which resulted in a long answer but little evidence of understanding, especially since the English answer did not always accurately match the selected French text
  • formed their answer around key ideas but included incorrect information, e.g. “Kiri would have conversations in the street” as opposed to hearing conversations in the street
  • identified an idea (from several items of vocabulary) without showing understanding of the language structure, e.g. stating that Kiri spoke like a French person as opposed to the shopkeepers speaking to her as if she were French, Rob’s university would pay him to study, he wasn’t paid much to study, he didn’t get paid to study (rather than he could study for free)
  • made good use of cognates to assist with comprehension
  • gave generalised information, e.g. there are hotels in Akaroa, Kiri has enjoyed her stay because she says she loves her life
  • excluded sections of information, e.g. did not include any reference to swimming with whales and dolphins; swimming in the very blue water or walking along paths for hours
  • showed knowledge of only one of several meanings for a word, e.g. gagner was translated as to win a better life and toujours was translated as always; the streets are always French.

Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • had a very limited knowledge of vocabulary and often guessed the overall meaning based on only a few words
  • relied on images, i.e. commented on being able to walk and see the sunsets in Akaroa, stated that the café looked modern
  • relied on cognates but then invented the rest of the response, e.g. she hasn’t enjoyed it because she had lots of problems
  • misinterpreted words which were not cognates, i.e. magasin; she read French magazines, travailler; people who travel, journée - journey
  • commented on the format of the text rather than the content, i.e. said that Kiri’s French had improved because the passages in her blog were longer, or that she used more difficult grammar
  • based responses on their own ideas but without evidence from the text, e.g. the café will appeal to adults because under 18’s can’t drink alcohol
  • confused ideas in the texts, e.g. Kiri has a small accent when she sings (rather than her students), you can watch the All Blacks on TV (rather than you can find Rob in front of the TV)
  • did not have a good knowledge of key vocabulary such as days, months, numbers and often wrote items such as soixante français, is leaving in juillet, in French while the rest of the answer was in English. 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • understood the texts clearly
  • responded with detailed and accurate information from the texts, e.g. ‘hotels are not too expensive’, ‘a short and simple trip which takes only an hour by car’, ‘Rob has a beautiful apartment’, ‘he misses things about NZ, such as…’
  • missed the nuance of the language at times, sometimes relying on only one meaning of a word ‘the town stays French’ (rather than remains) or most / very ancient instead of oldest town, her students will miss her (rather than she will miss them)
  • attempted inferred meanings, explanations or conclusions and supported these with evidence from the texts, such as how we might know that Kiri has improved her French, who the clientele in the café might be, why Rob might remain in France, who might like Akaroa
  • gave full translations of the texts without attempting to explain implied meanings or conclusions
  • included required information.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • expanded on ideas and opinions from the texts
  • provided supporting detail and demonstrated understanding of implied meanings or conclusions
  • synthesised information and wrote answers using their own words whilst giving clear examples from the text, such as, “hotels which aren’t too expensive so tourists could consider staying overnight”; “her French must have improved as she is spoken to as if she was French, indicating that she is very fluent in the language and has a natural French accent”.
  • integrated evidence into their answer rather than translating the text and then giving reasons and examples, i.e. “She has formed a special bond with her students since even the weaker ones find it easy to speak French with her, people may like to visit and experience French culture which remains in Akaroa as this is what makes it different to other New Zealand towns”
  • were articulate in their responses and often edited their answers to ensure clarity
  • showed that they had thought about the content of the texts rather than just translating what they read, e.g. “Working in the café in Tauranga would have given him the experience he needed to be able to open his own café”, “this makes it a typical NZ location to visit as it has beautiful scenery and is not too expensive as well as having an interesting character and history which is multi-cultural”
  • made sensible links and conclusions with the support of evidence from the texts, e.g. “Life in France worked out much better for him than life in NZ, however it is only natural for him to miss certain things about home such as…”. 

Standard-specific comments

Candidates who were the most successful in this examination targeted their answer on the question, often highlighting the key information sought, and supporting their responses with evidence selected from the text. 

Thorough understanding was demonstrated by candidates who selected the relevant information from the text and then expanded on it and gave supporting details. Candidates demonstrated understanding of implied meanings of conclusions by explaining what they had understood from the text, rather than just translating the relevant part of the text.

It was clear that not all candidates read the questions carefully before beginning their answers and so sometimes wrote irrelevant information in one part and then repeated it in another part. Some candidates misread some questions, e.g. in question 1 where they replied “because she is only in France for a short time” to the question “when does Kiri have to return”.

The topics were accessible and in familiar contexts, although the first text proved to be challenging for many candidates. Some candidates were confused about Kiri’s responsibility for teaching English to French students and her own French language acquisition.

The text on Akaroa was the most accessible for all candidates. This is perhaps due to the very familiar nature of the content and the language describing activities, transport, food and accommodation, which is frequently encountered in language programmes and the many cognates, e.g. populaire, touriste, voyage simple, le port, hotel, restaurant, decidé, familles, croissants, musée, olives, region.

French subject page

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