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SEC Marking Schemes Translated (Paper I, Comprehension)

March 29, 2018

SEC Marking Schemes Translated (Paper I, Comprehension)

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






“This paper will be specifically aimed at testing the comprehending and

composing abilities of students.” (DES English Syllabus, 7.3)

This section assesses how well students understand the texts they have just read, and how well they can respond accurately to both comprehension questions, as well as a stimulated writing task based on these texts.


Please note that, in relation to all texts, the candidates may take the introductions and accompanying illustrations to be integral parts of the texts.


Remember that every aspect of the text in front you – including its title, font, images, blurb, etc. – are all part of that text. You can refer to any and/or all of these elements as you see fit.





(i) Outline, in your own words, the insights Andrew Dickson shares about Shakespeare’s play

The Comedy of Errors in the written text above. (15)


Expect candidates to outline, in their own words, the insights/observations that Andrew Dickson shares about The Comedy of Errors in the written text provided. Candidates should range widely over the text provided.


Mark ex 15 by reference to the criteria for assessment.


 A+ B C D E-

15 marks 15 – 13 11 9 6 5 – 0


Mark-Grade range: 13+=A, 11-12=B, 9-10=C, etc.


Indicative material:

- a farcical comedy featuring mistaken identity, word-play and sight gags

- a demanding production, “a tall order”

- not always highly regarded, “creaky and mechanistic”

- universal aspects and serious undertones, explores weighty themes, e.g. “exile and separation”

- could “take root in many places”

- poses interesting questions: “What does it really feel like to travel?” Etc.


These bullet points are elements the SEC deem candidates likely to refer to in their answer, but this list isn’t exhaustive. Candidates should and will be rewarded for any relevant responses once the examiner deems them so.


(ii) …


(iii) The writer suggests that Shakespeare’s plays have timeless and global qualities. Do you agree with this view? Support your answer with reference to the above text (written and visual) and your own experience of at least one Shakespearean drama, other than The Comedy of Errors. You may refer to written texts, stage productions or films. (20)


Quite a novel question for Leaving Cert English Paper 1; normally students won’t be asked to refer to their Paper 2-based learning until Paper 2!


Candidates are free to agree or disagree either partially or wholly with the view expressed.

Answers should be supported by reference (though not necessarily equally) to the written text, the visual text and candidates’ experience of at least one Shakespearean drama – written text, stage production or film.


Candidates may address the “timeless” and “global” qualities of Shakespeare’s plays separately or together.


Allow a broad interpretation of “timeless” and “global” to include “universal”, etc.


Candidates are free to refer to any Shakespearean play(s) other than The Comedy of Errors.


A+ B C D E-

20 marks 20 – 17 14 11 8 7 – 0


Mark-Grade range: 17+=A, 14-16=B, 11-13=C, etc.



Imagine that you are the adjudicator for a poster competition; entries must promote a production of Shakespeare’s play, The Comedy of Errors, to a contemporary audience. The entries on Page 2 represent the finalists in the competition.


Write a speech in which you announce the first and second prize winners. In your speech you should explain your judgement, commenting on the visual appeal of the first and second prize winning entries and their effectiveness in promoting a production of this Shakespearean play to a contemporary audience. (50)


Expect a variety of approaches to the speech. Candidates should engage with all aspects of the task, although not necessarily equally:

- use of a suitable and consistent register (tone and content) for a speech at a prize-winning ceremony

- judgement effectively explained with clarity and coherence

- engagement with the visual appeal of the posters, e.g. colours, graphics, mirror images, contrasts,  symbolism, cultural references, distinctive styles, etc.

- effectiveness of the posters in promoting/advertising a production of the play to a contemporary audience Etc.


This means that you should demonstrate your awareness of and appreciation for all of the above task elements, but the examiner shouldn’t penalise you if you perform more strongly in one element over another.


50 marks A + B C D E-

 100% 50 – 43 35 28 20 19 – 0

 30% 15 – 13 11 9 6 5 – 0

 10% 5 4 3 2 1 – 0

Mark-Grade range: 43+=A, 35-42=B, 28-34=C, etc.

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