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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:59 am 
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As part of the 11+ this year, my DC will need to produce a piece of "creative writing" (essay) in around 30 minutes from a given title - it is set and marked by the school.

Does anyone have some kind of mark scheme I could apply to my DC's essays over the next few months? We haven't started work on this yet, as I feel I would just be saying "lovely story" or "try and use more desrciptive words" etc. in a vague kind of way. Although I find it easy to chart progress in verbal reasoning and maths, English seems so subjective. I have a Letts revise English KS2 book, but it wouldn't really help me to assess my DC's work.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:20 am 
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Location: East Kent
try googling KS2 sats English . You should find the marking schemes for English which give you some idea of what constitutes a level 4, level 5 etc.

or you could try googling qca level descriptors

which would give you details of what is needed for each level. When levelling it is best overall fit. One or two features in a higher level does not mean that that is the level achieved.

Look for good vocabulary, punctuation ( including semi colon and colons) , a range of ways to start sentences. paragraphs and awareness of the reader


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:06 pm
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Always check the VCOP that something 11 plus markers will be looking out for
V-Vocabulary
C-Connectives
O- Openers
P- Punctuation
You can also find Ks2 English Tests mark schemes and you can look at examples writing pieces


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:13 pm 
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Excellent advice above - also ensure your child writes in the correct genre and for the correct audience. Make sure they spend some time planning.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:48 pm 
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They are looking for grammar and structure above all. You need to ensure that your child can (and will) write a complex sentence with an embedded clause; also practise using adverbials, similes, metaphors and qualifying adjectives/adverbs in their written work. Extended vocabulary (reading provides this naturally) and punctuation are also vital. Varying sentence starts help a text to read well too (things like starting with a conjunction 'As he strolled along, William whistled merrily.'; or an adverb 'Merrily whistling, William strolled along.' rather than always starting with the subject 'William strolled along, whistling merrily.')

Paragraphing is essential, your child needs to change paragraph every time there is a change of location, time or subject area in a text.

In most cases it will be important that your child completes the task given within the time.

Apart from that I agree with you and think it is very subjective. If you do decide to employ a tutor, make sure they are a native English speaker with a good command of standard English. The markers will be looking for writing (in standard English) that 'flows' easily and naturally for a reader. The best way for you to find out what this looks like is to read classic literature (Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll) or some of the 'slang free' modern writers - like Philip Pullman, or Michael Morpurgo.

One of the biggest problems in scripts (from candidates) at 11+ now is that they contain a high percentage of direct speech and/or a lot of 'slang' words. It is not surprising because a great deal of 'gritty' modern children's literature 'like, uses these sorts of words and stuff - Cool or what?', so the children repeat this in their own written work. Unfortunately this doesn't show off the vocabulary or the grammar and punctuation skills that the markers are looking for.

You can probably tell I am a teacher/marker. I came upon your post by accident and just wanted to let you know how I mark - I am pretty standard in my approach I think. Good Luck.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:52 pm 
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I apologise for the grammar error (lack of verb agreement) in line 3. That is another skill a child needs to learn, always check your work slowly and carefully. Good Luck again.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:55 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Thanks Catte for your entertaining top tips.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:39 pm 
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catte wrote:
I apologise for the grammar error (lack of verb agreement) in line 3.


Sorry could you please explain :oops: :oops:


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:49 pm 
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I think Catte neatly sums up what you should be looking for.

My one caveat is that direct/indirect speech is a useful tool to master and can contribute to higher marks, obviously care should be taken to avoid any idiolect/ colloquialism sneaking through.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:23 am
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Many thanks for the fantastic advice everyone although I must admit to googling some grammatical terms which were new to me in Catte's post! I now feel in a much better position to help my DC make progress.


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