SEC Marking Schemes Translated (Paper I, Composing)
January 25, 2018
SECTION II – COMPOSING (100 marks)
The composition assignments (in bold print below) are intended to reflect language study in the areas of information, argument, persuasion, narration, and the aesthetic use of language.
From your leaving cert studies, you should be aware of these different writing styles – writing to inform, argue, persuade, tell a story, and describe – and how to write within each of them.
N.B. “The general functions of language outlined here will continually mix and mingle
within texts and genres. So, there can be an aesthetic argument, a persuasive narrative, or an informative play.” (DES English Syllabus, 2.5)
This suggests that no task falls solely into one specific genre of text or writing style. You will be asked and encouraged to demonstrate your skills in at least two writing styles; e.g., in a short story, you should both narrate and use language aesthetically.
The composition titles refer back to individual texts. However, the examination paper itself is constructed around a single theme and all the texts on the paper are intended to be a resource for the candidates. Therefore, even though a composition title is linked to one of the texts, in shaping their compositions candidates are free to refer to, quote from, or draw ideas from any or all of the texts and their accompanying illustrations.
Candidates may refer formally to the text to which the composition is linked or they may complete the composition assignment with reference to their own store of knowledge/reference/experience.
You can use the paper’s reading texts to inspire your own work. In fact, you’re encouraged to as this well demonstrate your ability to respond to stimulus creatively; i.e., your creative writing task response is, in fact, creative, not learned off and regurgitated.
In the event that a question or doubt arises as to the relevance of material or the approach adopted by the candidate you should consult your Advising Examiner.
This doesn’t concern us particularly, but one potential question or doubt could be that a candidate uses too much of a resource text to the point where they are copying it rather than creating their own. Use the texts for ideas, yes, but strive to create your own.
Write a composition on any one of the following.
1. In TEXT 3, President Obama reflects on the NASA Moon landing, describing it as one of “the greatest achievements in human history”.
Write a persuasive essay entitled, “The Three Greatest Achievements in Human History”.
Reward a clearly established and sustained register appropriate to a persuasive essay.
The examiner will closely consider your use of tone and vocabulary; are they appropriate to the task?
Candidates may adopt a variety of approaches (serious, humorous, anecdotal, discursive, etc.), but there should be a persuasive quality to the writing. Expect candidates to make a case for what they consider to be the three greatest achievements in human history. Allow for a broad interpretation of “achievements”.
You have freedom in how you approach this task, but you do need to focus on being persuasive, on encouraging your reader to believe that these three achievements are in fact that greatest.
2. Mistaken identity is a feature of Shakespeare’s play, The Comedy of Errors in TEXT 1.
Write a short story in which mistaken identity is central to the plot.
Reward awareness of the narrative shape of a short story (e.g. setting, characterisation, plot, atmosphere, dialogue, tension, etc.) and the quality of the writing. Mistaken identity should be central to the plot.
Again, Clarity of Purpose is key here. You need to know the short story genre well and be able to write within it. Include the major plot point.
3. Sara Baume takes her readers on a journey through the countryside in her novel, spill simmer falter wither, featured in TEXT 2.
Write a descriptive essay in which you take your readers on an urban journey.
Candidates may choose to adopt various approaches (personal, anecdotal, humorous, informative, aesthetic, etc.). They should write in a descriptive style about an urban journey.
Reward the quality of the descriptive writing. Allow for a broad interpretation of “urban journey”.
Again, you have freedom in your choice of approach here, but you do need to retain your focus on the task.
4. The village shops in Sara Baume’s novel contain a “surplus of useless clutter”. (TEXT 2)
Write a personal essay in which you reflect on the “useless clutter” that is a feature of many aspects of our lives.
Reward a clearly established and sustained register appropriate to a personal essay. Candidates may adopt a variety of approaches (serious, humorous, anecdotal, discursive, etc.) but the writing should include a reflective element. Allow for a broad interpretation of “useless clutter”.
5. In TEXT 1, Shakespeare’s characters encounter many adventures on their travels.
Write a speech, for a class debate for or against the motion: “Young people should travel and see the world before joining the workforce or furthering their education.”
Reward a clearly established register, appropriate to a speech to be delivered to classmates.
Expect candidates to write a coherent and convincing speech for or against the given motion.
Reward evidence of the use of argumentative and persuasive language.
As #1; but this is a debate speech, you must choose a side and stick to it!
6. Much of the action in TEXT 2 takes place within the confines of Ray’s car.
Write a short story that centres on two characters and a car journey.
Reward awareness of the narrative shape of a short story (e.g. setting, characterisation, plot, atmosphere, dialogue, tension, etc.) and the quality of the writing. The story should centre on two characters and a car journey.
7. In TEXT 3, President Obama refers to “the pursuit of discovery” as an essential element of the American character.
You are participating in a public speaking competition for second-level students.
Write a speech, that can be serious or amusing or both, in which you describe what you see as the essential elements of the Irish character.
Reward a clearly established register, appropriate to a speech to be delivered at a second-level public speaking competition. Expect candidates to focus on what they see as essential elements of the Irish character. Allow for a broad interpretation of “essential elements of the Irish character”.
Quite like #1, but this needs to take the form of a speech.
Mark ex 100 by reference to the criteria for assessment using the following breakdown of marks.
As per our General Outline (hyperlink to General Outline blog?), you will be assessed firstly on Clarity of Purpose, then Coherence of Delivery, Efficiency of Language Use, and Accuracy of Mechanics.
100 marks A + B C D E-
100% 100 – 85 70 55 40 39 – 0
30% 30 – 26 21 17 12 11 – 0
10% 10 – 9 7 6 4 3 – 0
Mark-Grade range: 85+=A, 70-84=B, 55-69=C, etc.