SEC Marking Schemes (Paper II, The Comparative Study)

May 30, 2017

SEC Marking Scheme Translated - Comparative Study

Well, if your answer is ‘Yes’ to the above, this is the guide for you. Keep reading for our translation of one example of the SEC marking schemes used annually by Irish examiners to assess Ireland’s exam students.


Leaving Certificate English Higher Level 2016



Candidates must answer one question from either A – The Cultural Context or B – Literary Genre.

Candidates may not answer on the text they have dealt with in SECTION 1 – The Single Text.

No matter how tempted you are, don’t refer to your ‘Single Text’ in this response.


In all answers to questions in this section, candidates may compare and/or contrast, i.e.

address similarities and/or differences in both the content and style of their chosen texts.


In shaping their responses to the questions set on the Comparative Study, it is expected that candidates will be involved in some/all of the following kinds of activities:

 - Description/analysis of the text/s in the light of the modes for comparison

 - Making general observations about texts in relation to each other

 - Making connections between similar aspects of texts

 - Recognising differences between texts

 - Showing that similarities/differences need to be qualified

- Demonstrating awareness of themselves as readers, their reactions/responses/involvement.


Across both papers, this task is arguably the most open, and the one that varies most from student to student. The essential thing is to draw links between texts – to compare them – and to recognise that contrasting texts is just as effective in terms of achieving the marks you’re aiming for.


Expect a wide variety of approaches both in the patterns of discussion and the manner of illustration.


In all answers in this section, candidates may refer to one/more key moment/s from the text/s. The purpose of this is to allow the candidates to ground their responses in specific moments without feeling that they must range over the entire text/s. However, do not expect

that all the illustrative reference in an answer will come from the key moment/s. Candidates may offer appropriate illustrative reference from any part of the text/s.


You can dip in and out your texts; i.e. focus on key, relevant scenes.


Candidates should reference the required combination of texts specified in the questions.


For direction as to procedure when a candidate fails to answer on Shakespeare in either the Single Text or the Comparative Study, see Appendix 4 in this Marking Scheme.


You cannot escape writing about Shakespeare; you must write about one of his works in either the single text or comparative study task.




1. “Understanding who holds power and who is powerless helps to reveal the cultural context in texts.”


Compare how the distribution of power within each of three texts on your comparative course helps to reveal the cultural contexts in these texts. Support your answer with reference to your chosen texts. (70)


Mark ex 70 by reference to the criteria for assessment using the following breakdown of marks.

P 21

C 21

L 21

M 7


70 marks A+ B C D E-

100% 70 – 60 49 39 28 27 – 0

30% 21 – 18 15 12 9 8 – 0

10% 7 – 6 5 4 3 2 – 0

Mark-Grade range: 60+=A, 49-59=B, 39-48=C

Expect candidates to compare how the distribution of power within each of three comparative texts helps to reveal the cultural context in these texts.

Answers should be supported by reference to their chosen texts.

Again, you need to quote or give specific examples from each text to support your points. In this question especially, you’re advised to refer to specific scenes.

Indicative material:

1.      power vested in particular organisations/interest groups (religious/racial/colonial, etc.)

2.      reveals the culture of a particular time and/or place

3.      tensions between particular social classes illustrate aspects of cultural context

4.      powerful/powerless men/women reflect patriarchal/matriarchal social structures

5.      the distribution of wealth and the distribution of power may be synonymous

6.      explicit or implicit values/beliefs often revealed by power structures

7.      distribution of power within texts may undergo change, affecting the cultural context

8.      Etc.

Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but your references must be rooted in the cultural.

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