Assessment Report

Level 3 French 2016

Standards 91543  91546

Part A: Commentary

Candidates are reminded that evidence or inferences for their response was to be justified from the text and not from personal opinion.

A very small number of candidates chose to answer in French. Most of those who did answer in French either did not express information in their own words, but instead copied portions of the text, or did not select and reword relevant information. These candidates do not meet the criteria of making meaning or demonstrating “clear” or “thorough” understanding. In addition, many candidates answering in French make such significant grammatical errors that it can be difficult to follow their train of thought, e.g. “A mon avis je pense que Omar Sy aimait beacoup daitre le protagoniste dan Samba lorsque cest sur l’immigration”.

Candidates need to practice examination technique. Candidates are likely to maximise their chances of gaining Merit or Excellence, if they allocate their time appropriately between each question to complete all questions. Candidates need to write legibly using the third person when answering question. They need to express their ideas clearly by NOT giving alternative answers or giving a mix of French and English, and they must proofread their answers, i.e. remain in the examination for long enough to do this.

Candidates need to express their ideas unambiguously and avoid using muddled English, e.g. “There needs to be a traffic on drugs and violence”, or write nonsensical statements, e.g. the 20 million kilometres between France and New Zealand.

Part B: Report on Standards

91543:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of extended spoken French texts

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • made use of the listening notes boxes
  • answered all or most parts of the question
  • understood basic information
  • showed a basic understanding of the text but missed important details
  • attempted to write full-sentence answers.

Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • made little or no use of the listening notes boxes
  • showed little understanding of the texts
  • misread or misinterpreted questions
  • wrote very short answers
  • made up information not based on the text
  • did not answer all questions or omitted parts of questions.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • wrote more detailed answers which provided most of the information required
  • expressed opinions based on the text
  • did not repeat information
  • proofread their answers.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • linked pieces of information to arrive at correct conclusions and / or interpretations
  • understood more sophisticated vocabulary and structures
  • made extensive use of the listening notes boxes
  • understood and synthesised all or almost all the information given
  • summarised succinctly
  • gave complete answers which appeared to have been proofread carefully, as they were clear, concise and non-repetitive
  • justified their responses / opinions with evidence drawn from the text.

Standard-specific comments

Candidates are encouraged to make full use of the listening notes boxes to gather information. This is essential to ensure ‘clear and unambiguous’ responses or ‘thorough’ understanding by making links / inferences between sections of the text.

It should be emphasised again that candidates who gain Excellence draw their evidence from the text – a personal response is not required.

Question 1 – A manageable question for most candidates, however, the last section proved to be the most difficult.

Question 2 – The information about age restriction in applying for a Working Holiday Visa challenged many, as did the section about Elodie’s motivation in writing the blog.

Question 3 – In (b)(ii) many found it difficult to infer from the anecdote other characteristics which might apply to New Zealanders.

Difficulties in language: des milliers de petites rues, la routine “metro-boulot-dodo” (even though “dodo” was glossed), vous auriez pu, la moindre expérience, il suffit, par hasard, aller vers les étrangers, nous nous étions promenés, vingt mille.


91546:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of extended written and/or visual French texts

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • had limited, but adequate, knowledge of the vocabulary for levels 1-3
  • understood the general meaning of the text
  • included some detail in their responses.

Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • were not sufficiently familiar with the vocabulary for levels 1-3
  • were unable to make meaning of the texts
  • wrote fragmented sentences as responses
  • did not complete all parts of the questions.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • were familiar with most of the vocabulary from levels 1-3
  • demonstrated clear understanding by selecting relevant parts of the text, but did not understand nuances
  • attempted to communicate implied meanings
  • communicated in an unambiguous manner, e.g. answered using the correct subject pronouns in English.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • had an extensive knowledge of the vocabulary from levels 1-3
  • made an informed guess about unfamiliar words, using the context
  • expressed their responses succinctly
  • focused their response on what the questions were asking
  • drew conclusions or inferences based on the text
  • justified their conclusions or inferences by providing selected, relevant supporting detail from the text.

Standard-specific comments

General comments:

Candidates at level 3 are expected to have an extensive knowledge of all the vocabulary in levels 1-3. Candidates would benefit from revising all three levels of vocabulary prior to the examination.

Candidates at level 3 are also expected to be familiar with a wide range of verb tenses and to demonstrate their understanding of these. Although the questions are not testing specific language structures, knowledge of verb tenses are generally important when answering a questions. Common verb tense errors were:

j’aurais dû, je n’ai pas pu, je me débrouillerais, je n’avais jamais manifesté la moindre envie, je perdrais

Question One: Most candidates understood this text and answered appropriately. Few, however, realised that Omar Sy’s career began just for fun. Fewer realised that being paid to have fun was linked to his decision to follow a different path and that, therefore, the fact that he failed his bac was irrelevant.

Many candidates also leapt to the conclusion that all a young person needs is a mother and missed the point that what they need most is a person who never gives up on them.

Difficult language: passer un examen, vu l’environnement, des projets d’études, pas mal de nos amis

Question Two: Although many candidates gave quite detailed information, not many were able to show thorough understanding by linking ideas, e.g. keeping a low profile with the press and not wanting to be considered the “go-to black” was achieved by living quietly in the suburbs

Difficult language: la moindre idée, le noir à la mode, les gens du coin, sensible, toucher

Question Three: Most candidates gained a low excellence for this question, however, it was disappointing that so many did not answer question 3(a) correctly: “Explain why the period 2015-2017 is significant.”  Many candidates ignored the second event or did not know “cette année” or thought that Canadian women had only gained the vote this year!

Most challenging was question 3(d) which required candidates to describe the challenge and then summarise why the Governor-General thought Canadians could achieve this. Frequently this part of the text was translated in full, thereby not fulfilling the criteria of selection or the summary required.

Difficult language: fier, en vue de, le plus grand choix possible, compréhensive, en tant que, se rendre compte

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