Persuasive Writing Task: Letter to the principal January 2011

Persuasive Writing Task:
Letter to the principal
Adapted from the 2004 Queensland Years 3, 5 and 7 Test
January 2011
Contents
Section 1 .................................................................................................................... 1
Guidelines for using this task ...............................................................................1
Writing task stimulus: Letter to the principal .........................................................2
Scripted task instructions to students...................................................................3
Marking grids ......................................................................................................6
Section 2 .................................................................................................................... 9
Ideas for the teaching of writing ...........................................................................9
Commentary on student responses and teaching issues........................................9
Section 3 – Annotated exemplar scripts ..................................................................... 11
Section 4 – Grammar notes........................................................................................ 67
Section 5 – Glossary.................................................................................................. 76
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| Contents
Section 1
Guidelines for using this task
This Writing task was used in 2004 as part of the Queensland Years 3, 5 and 7 Literacy and Numeracy tests. It is
adapted here to serve as a classroom resource. It can be used to teach students how to produce, on demand, the
kind of writing which develops a “point of view”, to substantiate their opinion and thus display their ability to use
language as a persuasive tool. Because the ethos, population and organisational structures of schools are
different, the stimulus was intended to be a springboard for teachers to move discussion from the four examples
given to other subject matter more relevant to the educational setting and interests of their students.
To do the task well, students need to make decisions about “contextual factors”, namely
• consider subject matter they need to include in their response
• describe an issue that is important to them and about which they feel strongly
• consider what effect they want their letter to have
• understand a social situation and the role of people within it
• demonstrate how this understanding is communicated through their choices of language.
The result of these decisions will dictate how students construct their texts in reply. It will influence the
• overall structure of the text
• way the ideas are related to each other through the text
• relative importance or weighting of ideas
• certainty or power with which ideas are expressed
• vocabulary through which they are expressed.
The intention is to have students writing with a persuasive purpose rather than trying to create a script that copies
a supposed model of a “persuasive text”. It is best to teach and assess the ability to make decisions about writing
rather than the ability to copy a model.
By analysing the student responses with the associated marking grid and the sample student responses and
commentary from statewide performance on this task, teachers can assess where each student needs specific
assistance to improve their abilities with persuasive writing or writing skills generally.
Note on NAPLAN preparation
The 2011 NAPLAN writing test, like this one, demands persuasive writing. However, the conditions for the NAPLAN
persuasive writing test are much less scaffolded than those set out here and the format of the NAPLAN stimulus is
also different.
Writing tasks suitable for familiarising students with NAPLAN test conditions and formats are available on the
QSA’s NAPLAN website along with a full set of literacy test items. The ACARA NAPLAN website also has a writing
task and the NAPLAN marking guide.
Materials
Students need
• the stimulus page (A4 colour page giving topic and task on one side and planning hints on the other side)
• a soft pencil, eraser,
• two or three pages of lined paper and one page for planning. Note: To prevent students taking time on the
“salutation” part of a letter, ensure that all student responses begin with “Dear Principal” only.
Teachers need
• the marking grid (rubric). This rubric is designed specifically for this task. It helps to identify each student’s
level of achievement and indicates what they need to be taught as a next step
• sample student scripts (to help apply the marking grid)
• commentary on statewide performance on the task (to guide follow-up teaching).
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Writing task stimulus: Letter to the principal
Think about something that concerns you about your school.
Write a letter to your principal to explain
! what it is that you don’t like
! why you don’t like it
! how the problem could be fixed.
2
| Instruction and stimulus
Scripted task instructions to students
Note: The task was originally meant to be a standardised test with scripted administration
instructions. For teaching purposes, teachers are free to vary this script.
Copy this table below onto the board.
WRITING TASK
Steps
Time
1. Introduction and discussion
10 minutes
2. Planning for the writing
5 minutes
3. Writing
25 minutes
4. Proofreading and editing
5 minutes
1. Introduction and discussion (up to 10 minutes)
READ
Look at the page with “Letter to the principal” written at the top.
I want you to make your writing as real as possible, as if it really could be sent to our principal to
convince [him/her] about something that you think they should do or know about the school.
First, we will spend some time talking about the task.
Then you will have about 5 minutes to plan before you begin to write your letter.
You will have 25 minutes to write your letter and then 5 minutes to proofread and edit your work.
Lead your students in a class discussion to raise ideas that students can write about. A quick and focused
discussion is most likely to be effective. It is important to end the discussion before the topic becomes stale. If they
wish to do so, allow students to write key words on the stimulus page or their planning page as the ideas are
raised.
The intent of the discussion is to help the students:
• understand the task
• engage with the task
• create and order their own ideas.
Teach students how to use a writing stimulus page. Show students how to find the topic and the task instructions.
Show them how to brainstorm ideas then lead them to select and develop one idea. This task’s stimulus page
provides four possible examples of topics that might concern students — playground facilities, bullying, littering
and drinking fountains. Make sure students know that these are examples only and they are free to pick any issue
that concerns them. Discourage students from doing a “tour of the stimulus” where they write about all the
pictures. This will make it unlikely that they can develop a substantiated opinion.
Include discussion of their audience — the role they want to take and the kind of relationship they want to build
with the principal. They have to decide
• what they want the principal to
– know
– think
– feel
• how they want the principal to react to their letter
• what the principal’s role in the school is
• what their role in the school is.
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You might want to establish a believable context in which students would write directly to the school principal. For
example, it could be a case where the teacher has specially asked students to write so that the principal will know
what they think.
If they wish to do so, allow students to write key words on the stimulus or their planning page as the ideas are
raised.
Teachers are only permitted to write Dear Principal on the board for the students to start their letter. Except for that,
DO NOT WRITE ON THE BLACKBOARD. DO NOT WRITE OR SPELL ANY WORDS FOR STUDENTS.
Allow up to 10 minutes for this discussion.
2. Planning the writing
READ
It is now time to decide what ideas you will write about, and then make some planning notes on a
separate planning page to organise your ideas.
Planning your writing helps you remember:
• what you want to write about
• how you want your readers to think and feel
• how you want to organise your ideas.
Think about the things we have just talked about. Remember you must write a letter to the principal
about something that concerns you and that you would like to change. Plan to explain the reasons why
you think so. It would also help the principal to understand if you explain how things might be
changed or improved.
Here are some ways to plan:
• Make a web. Put the topic you want to write about in the middle. Put your ideas in bubbles around
the sides.
OR
• Make a heading of the topic you want to write about. Then list some ideas underneath.
OR
• Draw some pictures about a topic you would like to write about. Make some labels to help you write.
You can use your planning page any way you like BUT DO NOT BEGIN YOUR WRITING ON IT. It will not be
marked.
You must do your planning by yourself so the ideas you use belong only to you. This is what makes your
writing unique.
While you are planning, think about:
• the issue you feel most strongly about
• the ideas you have for improving or fixing this issue
• how to order your ideas to present your case
• how to link the ideas to make your letter easy to read
• how to appeal to the editor so that she will want to publish your letter
• how much you can write in 25 minutes.
You have 5 minutes to do your planning. I will tell you when your time is up. Begin now.
During the planning stage ensure all students are writing. The aim is to have students draft ideas that will assist
their writing.
• Remind students they must write a letter to the principal about something they feel quite strongly about. They
do not have to limit themselves to the content shown on the stimulus, but what they write must be true to the
task.
• If some students cannot think of any ideas, you will need to revisit ideas from the earlier discussion.
• Do not help students construct their letters.
At the end of 5 minutes ask students to put their pencils down.
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| Instruction and stimulus
3. Writing
READ
It is now time to begin writing your letter.
Make your writing easy to read and interesting.
Make sure you finish your letter and give all the information a reader needs to understand the
arguments you are making. Your reader cannot ask you any questions if your writing is not clear. From
your writing, your reader has to know what you think and feel about your ideas or any concerns you
have identified. Make sure you explain why your ideas about this issue are good ones and why they will
work.
As you write, remember to:
• explain what it is you think, why you think this way, what might happen (as a result of your ideas)
• organise your ideas so that they are clear to your readers
• write in sentences and paragraphs
• use words that describe what you think and feel
• use the right punctuation to make your meaning clear
• use your best spelling and clear handwriting.
Use one or both of the lined pages to write your letter.
You have 25 minutes to write. Try to use all of your time.
I will tell you when there are 5 minutes left so you can finish your writing.
After that, there will be 5 minutes to proofread, edit and check your work.
Begin now.
Indicate to students exactly where they can write.
After 20 minutes,
READ
You have 5 minutes left to finish your writing.
If you have already finished, use this time to start checking your work.
4. Proofreading and editing
After 5 minutes,
READ
You need to stop writing now.
You now have 5 minutes to proofread and edit your work.
Make sure it makes sense. You can write in extra words if you need to.
Make sure you have used capital letters and punctuation in the right places.
If you haven’t written in paragraphs, mark them in now.
Check your spelling.
You cannot use this time to totally rewrite your letter.
You may proofread, correct and make slight changes to your work only.
Students must use this time to edit their writing.
After 5 minutes,
READ
Please put your pencils down. Thank you. That is the end of the writing. Well done!
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Marking grids
Marking rubric – Year 3
F
Contextual factors
Text structure
Planned response that attempts
to meet most demands of the
task
Opening statement to reader;
statement of opinion (issue/
problem), reasons, solutions;
concluding statement to reader
attempts to engage the reader by
including reasons, thoughts and
actions to justify a stated point of
view
may include a conversational
gambit — Hi my name is …
some quality of personal voice
emerges
Gr, Voc, Co, Pu
Spelling
basic complex sentences, e.g.
time, condition, place, reason,
cause
Uses knowledge of syllable
patterns to spell multi-syllabic
words with:
some longer noun phrases —
message for little kids
plural or tense endings where base
words change — activity/
activities, become/becoming
begins to control modal verbs to
construct point of view
strong links between most
dominant ideas; may have a minor
disruption in the sequence
F
common homophones — there/
their, here/hear, right/write
difficult contractions — doesn’t,
wouldn’t
mostly correct punctuation of
basic complex & simple sentences
E
Planned response that attempts
to build a shared experience
with the reader
Statement of opinion (issue/
problem), reason for issue,
solution/s
elaborated simple sentences
some complex sentences, e.g.
causal and conditional relations
Uses knowledge of internal
word patterns to spell multisyllabic words with:
may have too many details or
details not well integrated
little elaboration of any of these
stages
simple reporting clause — I think
even stress patterns — explain
identifies and uses ideas from the
stimulus
may have lapses in links between
the structural elements; significant
disruption in the structural
sequence may occur at one point
action and simple thinking verbs,
some modal verbs — must, could
inflected endings with no change
to base words — watching
some well-chosen vocabulary —
cautious
compound words — teenagers,
playground
lapses in cohesion
basic contractions — can’t, won’t
basic compound sentences —
begins to use and, but correctly
Uses knowledge of internal
word patterns to spell singlesyllable words with:
constructs response as a personal
view — I think people should
D
Response to the task shows some
planning and sequencing
ideas may not be well integrated
to the task
limited awareness of the reader
self-centred point of view —
I don’t like
C
Basic response to the task with
little planning evident in text
uses brief undeveloped ideas
around a simple idea or theme
Statement of opinion with some
supporting details/reason, and a
statement of response
may include the same idea
repeated in a number of different
ways to bulk out the structure
some causal relationships in
complex sentences — because, so
vocabulary is simple, precise but
largely unelaborated
common multi-syllabic words —
skateboard, because
two or more sentences around
different single ideas
simple sentences punctuated
correctly
Errors may include complex
vowel patterns — health, weigh
Statement of opinion with a
brief attempt to support or
elaborate
simple sentences with some
variety in structure
Most phonemes in singlesyllable words are represented
for mostly correct spelling of:
List of single, undeveloped ideas
expressed in sentences
links between ideas largely
implied by sentence order; and,
then may connect some sentences
punctuation of simple sentences
largely correct
B
Response to the task shows little
awareness of task demands
meaning can be made from most
of the text
reads like oral language
may be brief
A
Little response to the task
some meaning can be made
uses a few unrelated ideas from
stimulus
OR
consonant blends & long vowels
attempts to define pronouns
one or two simple noun groups —
good film, cool skateboard
Simple statement supported by
a series of sentences that lack
coherence —
trees are dying
OR
Brief sentence that lapses into
words describing some stimulus
aspects in an unconnected way
Little discernible structure or
one- or two-sentence response
lists of individual words
identifying ideas from the
stimulus
largely simple sentences with
repetitive structure
and may be used in place of a fullstop
some sentence boundaries may be
difficult to define
D
common long vowels — lines
OR
OR
E
C
one syllable short-vowel words —
bin, and, bring, have
common words — school, park
Errors may include letter patterns
such as mp, nd — bup (bump)
Dominant sounds within words
are represented — hafta, wonsa
pona tim (once upon a time)
B
Correct spelling of some known
words — a, the, I, boy, own name
everyday vocabulary
some capitals and full stops used
correctly
incomplete or partial sentences
may include words copied from
the stimulus
Words are represented by
letters, letter strings and some
letter-like symbols — m = mum.
A
little or no punctuation
Creates a text that responds to
none of the task
6
N
Response is unintelligible or unable to be marked
N
O
Nothing on the page.
O
| Instruction and stimulus
Marking rubric – Year 5
Contextual factors
H
Response is planned to take
account of the relationship
between the writer & reader
attempts to develop content/
logical & emotional themes
attempts to persuade the reader of
own point of view
uses techniques such as rhetorical
questions for emphasis/attention
G
Planned response that meets
most demands of the task
develops subject matter from a
community or broader perspective
response shows an awareness of
the formality of the relationship
between reader and writer
develops a strong personal voice
F
Planned response that attempts
to meet most demands of the
task
attempts to engage the reader by
including reasons, thoughts and
actions to justify a stated point of
view
Text structure
Controls the structure to
develop an opinion and
supporting arguments with
evidence &/or examples &/or
elaboration
paragraphs are used to group
major ideas but the supporting
ideas may be lacking
Provides a brief introduction
and/or states an opinion,
developing a supporting
argument logically without
lapses in sequence
some ideas are clustered to
suggest paragraphs, i.e. the hard
return
Opening statement to reader;
statement of opinion (issue/
problem), reasons, solutions;
concluding statement to reader
may include a conversational
gambit — Hi my name is …
some quality of personal voice
emerges
Gr, Voc, Co, Pu
develops and controls some
extended clause complexes
uses some different reporting
clauses — I find that …
some figurative language — harebrained scheme
punctuation correct most of the
time in developed and varied
sentence structures
Spelling
Uses internal word and syllable
pattern knowledge to spell
multi-syllabic words with:
uncommon vowel patterns —
drought
common/subject-specific content
— media, expensive, oxygen
more difficult homophones —
affect/effect; practice/practise
simple, compound and complex
sentences well constructed
Uses knowledge of syllables and
affixes to spell words with:
chooses vocabulary sensitive to
the relationship and purpose
a spelling-meaning link —
observe/observation
controls verb groups for tenor —
would be better to move
simple prefixes/suffixes with no
change to base words — recently,
improvement, suggestion, healthy
uses some extended noun groups
to enhance meaning
Uses knowledge of syllable
patterns to spell multi-syllabic
words with:
some longer noun phrases —
message for little kids
plural or tense endings where base
words change — activity/
activities, become/becoming
strong links between most
dominant ideas; may have a minor
disruption in the sequence
G
uneven stress patterns – chocolate
basic complex sentences, e.g.
time, condition, place, reason,
cause
begins to control modal verbs to
construct point of view
H
F
common homophones — there/
their, here/hear, right/write
difficult contractions — doesn’t,
wouldn’t
mostly correct punctuation of
basic complex & simple sentences
E
Planned response that attempts
to build a shared experience
with the reader
Statement of opinion (issue/
problem), reason for issue,
solution/s
elaborated simple sentences
some complex sentences, e.g.
causal and conditional relations
Uses knowledge of internal
word patterns to spell multisyllabic words with:
may have too many details or
details not well integrated
little elaboration of any of these
stages
simple reporting clause — I think
even stress patterns — explain
identifies and uses ideas from the
stimulus
may have lapses in links between
the structural elements; significant
disruption in the structural
sequence may occur at one point
action and simple thinking verbs,
some modal verbs — must, could
inflected endings with no change
to base words — watching
some well-chosen vocabulary —
cautious
compound words — teenagers,
playground
lapses in cohesion
basic contractions — can’t, won’t
basic compound sentences —
begins to use and, but correctly
Uses knowledge of internal
word patterns to spell singlesyllable words with:
constructs response as a personal
view — I think people should
D
Response to the task shows some
planning and sequencing
ideas may not be well integrated
to the task
limited awareness of the reader
self-centred point of view —
I don’t like
C
Basic response to the task with
little planning evident in text
uses brief undeveloped ideas
around a simple idea or theme
Statement of opinion with some
supporting details/reason, and a
statement of response
may include the same idea
repeated in a number of different
ways to bulk out the structure
some causal relationships in
complex sentences — because, so
vocabulary is simple, precise but
largely unelaborated
consonant blends & long vowels
attempts to define pronouns
common multi-syllabic words —
skateboard, because
two or more sentences around
different single ideas
simple sentences punctuated
correctly
Errors may include complex
vowel patterns — health, weigh
Statement of opinion with a
brief attempt to support or
elaborate
simple sentences with some
variety in structure
Most phonemes in singlesyllable words are represented
for mostly correct spelling of:
List of single, undeveloped ideas
expressed in sentences
one or two simple noun groups —
good film, cool skateboard
links between ideas largely
implied by sentence order; and,
then may connect some sentences
punctuation of simple sentences
largely correct
D
common long vowels — lines
OR
OR
E
C
one syllable short-vowel words —
bin, and, bring, have
common words — school, park
Errors may include letter patterns
such as mp, nd — bup (bump)
N
Response is unintelligible or unable to be marked
N
O
Nothing on the page.
O
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Marking rubric – Years 7 and 9
J
Contextual factors
Text structure
Controlled, complete, effective,
response
Deliberately controls and
develops the structure for effect
begins to control sentence form
and length for effect
Uses letter, syllable and meaning
patterns to spell words with:
controlled development of
sophisticated subject matter in a
coherent argument with ideas that
are related to a central theme
controls the structure to construct
and develop different shifts in the
argument
clauses are signalled with accurate
use of conjunctions
common Latin and Greek roots —
ecological, desalinated, anorexic
increases lexical density, e.g. noun
and verb groups
cohesion between ideas is tight
uses punctuation to pace the
reader
absorbed prefixes — impact,
accumulate
elaborates ideas with who, which,
that, -ing and non-finite clauses
chooses vocabulary with precision
— meets council regulations
maintains cohesion during shifts
in argument
Uses knowledge of syllables and
the spelling-meaning connection
to spell words with:
understands & uses reader’s point
of view to persuade
paragraphing is developed and
used appropriately throughout the
text to link and structure ideas
develops an authoritative voice
I
Well-crafted response to task
that appeals emotionally and/or
intellectually
uses community values and
beliefs to connect with a reader
understands other points of view
develops a personal style to appeal
to the reader
H
Response is planned to take
account of the relationship
between the writer & reader
attempts to develop content/
logical & emotional themes
attempts to persuade the reader of
own point of view
uses techniques such as rhetorical
questions for emphasis/attention
G
Planned response that meets
most demands of the task
develops subject matter from a
community or broader perspective
response shows an awareness of
the formality of the relationship
between reader and writer
develops a strong personal voice
F
Planned response that attempts
to meet most demands of the
task
attempts to engage the reader by
including reasons, thoughts and
actions to justify a stated point of
view
Develops an extended, logical
text
signals major ideas and their order
of importance with structural
devices such as topic sentences
marked paragraphs organising the
major and supporting ideas (may
have some lapses)
Controls the structure to
develop an opinion and
supporting arguments with
evidence &/or examples &/or
elaboration
paragraphs are used to group
major ideas but the supporting
ideas may be lacking
Provides a brief introduction
and/or states an opinion,
developing a supporting
argument logically without
lapses in sequence
some ideas are clustered to
suggest paragraphs, i.e. the hard
return
Opening statement to reader;
statement of opinion (issue/
problem), reasons, solutions;
concluding statement to reader
may include a conversational
gambit — Hi my name is …
some quality of personal voice
emerges
Gr, Voc, Co, Pu
Spelling
J
long to schwa (neutral) vowel
changes — compete/competition
I
unusual consonant patterns —
appreciate, martial
predictable changes — consider/
consideration; rectangle/gular
Errors in unstressed syllables of
longer words — responsability
develops and controls some
extended clause complexes
uses some different reporting
clauses — I find that …
some figurative language — harebrained scheme
punctuation correct most of the
time in developed and varied
sentence structures
Uses internal word and syllable
pattern knowledge to spell
multi-syllabic words with:
uncommon vowel patterns —
drought
common/subject-specific content
— media, expensive, oxygen
more difficult homophones —
affect/effect; practice/practise
simple, compound and complex
sentences well constructed
Uses knowledge of syllables and
affixes to spell words with:
chooses vocabulary sensitive to
the relationship and purpose
a spelling-meaning link —
observe/observation
controls verb groups for tenor —
would be better to move
simple prefixes/suffixes with no
change to base words — recently,
improvement, suggestion, healthy
uses some extended noun groups
to enhance meaning
Uses knowledge of syllable
patterns to spell multi-syllabic
words with:
some longer noun phrases —
message for little kids
plural or tense endings where base
words change — activity/
activities, become/becoming
strong links between most
dominant ideas; may have a minor
disruption in the sequence
G
uneven stress patterns – chocolate
basic complex sentences, e.g.
time, condition, place, reason,
cause
begins to control modal verbs to
construct point of view
H
F
common homophones — there/
their, here/hear, right/write
difficult contractions — doesn’t,
wouldn’t
mostly correct punctuation of
basic complex & simple sentences
E
Planned response that attempts
to build a shared experience
with the reader
Statement of opinion (issue/
problem), reason for issue,
solution/s
elaborated simple sentences
some complex sentences, e.g.
causal and conditional relations
Uses knowledge of internal
word patterns to spell multisyllabic words with:
may have too many details or
details not well integrated
little elaboration of any of these
stages
simple reporting clause — I think
even stress patterns — explain
identifies and uses ideas from the
stimulus
may have lapses in links between
the structural elements; significant
disruption in the structural
sequence may occur at one point
action and simple thinking verbs,
some modal verbs — must, could
inflected endings with no change
to base words — watching
some well-chosen vocabulary —
cautious
compound words — teenagers,
playground
lapses in cohesion
basic contractions — can’t, won’t
constructs response as a personal
view — I think people should
8
E
N
Response is unintelligible or unable to be marked
N
O
Nothing on the page.
O
| Instruction and stimulus
Section 2
Ideas for the teaching of writing
• Study what you teach. Practice writing the texts you want your students to write.
• Consider the use of a writing workshop. There are a number of commercial publications that will be of
assistance in developing this approach. Be aware of the widespread influence of the book, The art of teaching
writing by Lucy Calkins (1986).
• At the beginning of your teaching sequence, provide a model of the kind of writing you want students to
produce and let them know the criteria on which it will be judged. Ideally, build these up from reading lessons.
When teaching reading or teaching from reading materials, help students to apply the techniques of authors to
their writing.
• Model for the students the thinking processes of writing. Show them how you bring ideas for writing together,
the decisions you make and their relationship to your purpose and your target audience. Model how to select
and develop a single theme.
• The strategy of top-level structuring is useful for teaching students about the logical relations between clauses.
• Use mini-lessons to develop particular skills such as the development of sentence structure or forming a good
thesis.
Spelling
• Teach students about the spelling system through activities such as word sorts. Have a “no excuses” list of
spelling that you and your students have identified during writing and spelling activities. The content of the list
should change over time.
• Make links between spelling and vocabulary. Use activities such as visual schematics, semantic maps, word
maps or vocabulary notebooks.
• Develop a spelling conscience in your students. Encourage students to spell correctly as often as possible and
to develop strategies for monitoring and revising spelling.
Commentary on student responses and teaching issues
The commentary that follows was originally published in the 2004 Test reporting handbook and the comments
apply to the writing produced that year.
The comments below are arranged under the criteria contextual factors, textual factors and spelling. In the section
that follows however, sample student scripts have been reproduced and the scores and annotations of these
divide the criteria of textual factors into text structure on one hand and grammar, vocabulary, cohesion,
punctuation on the other.
Contextual factors
Asking the students to write to their own school principal helped them to conceptualise the contextual demands of
the task. Students had a chance to identify something that they felt strongly about. Like all of us, students write
better when they are emotionally engaged and can write in their own voice. Students who understood and took
control of the contextual factors showed qualities that made their writing really shine. They understood that
writing to their principal required them to acknowledge the formal relationship between themselves and their
principal. Accordingly, they needed to construct a respectful, organised and positive response. Comments from the
markers indicated that they found the students’ letters interesting. On the other hand, the scripts that showed a
recipe-like format lacked these qualities. More importantly, they lacked the individual voice of the students.
Younger students tended to select issues that were of concern to them. These included personal issues such as too
much spelling or maths or the lack of their desired food in the tuckshop. Typical examples can be seen in the
scripts included in Appendix 12 (samples 2 and 3). As can be seen in the second example, students understood
the power relationships of schools very well.
Older students approached the task from a much more community-based perspective. They tended to identify
issues that were of significance to the whole community. The way they structured their texts showed that they
understood the need to develop a positive relationship with the principal and to develop a coherent explanation or
argument to support their point of view.
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The very best students could identify the issues relevant to their community and they could also identify with the
principal, using his/her point of view to develop their ideas.
Textual factors
Students that scored highly in the writing task showed control and precision in their writing. They had effective,
well-ordered organisation. The cohesion of their ideas through the text was for the most part very tight. These
students were able to use their control over clause structure to signal the links between ideas and to extend their
descriptions. These more able students were also able to use rhetorical devices such as humour to engage their
audience and to develop their own voice.
These students were also able to use paragraphing to group their ideas and lead readers through the text. They not
only used punctuation to mark out the boundaries between ideas, they also were beginning to use punctuation to
pace their readers.
The lack of cohesion of the ideas and the quality of the clause structure were factors that marked the next groups
of students. One of the reasons for telling the students to select only one issue to write about was because
students are more likely to write more cohesively if they take one idea and develop it. Students in this group
sometimes took several ideas and were unable to sustain a cohesive piece of writing. No additional penalty was
applied to students for having written about more than one idea.
The lack of control these students had over their clause structure was reflected in the phenomenon of ‘talk written
down’. At times they still used clauses joined by and or and then to give sequence. Another manifestation of this
problem was the use of unreferenced pronouns.
Students awarded grades in the middle range sometimes had poorer punctuation than less able writers. This can
occur when students begin to build better and more complex clause structures; students have trouble working out
where the boundaries between the ideas are. While it can be a sign of growth in their writing, this seriously
reduces the readability of the writing. Short lessons focused on the role punctuation plays in the construction of
meaning would help this group.
Students achieving lower grades tended to rely on the sequence of clauses to infer the relationship between their
ideas.
Spelling in writing
The full range of spelling development is evident in the scripts. A very small percentage of students demonstrated
spelling knowledge which appeared to be in the pre-phonemic stage of spelling — these are very largely students
whose scripts were rated N — unable to be marked. These children presented words with letters and letter strings.
A small but significant number of students were rated as showing spelling development in the semi-phonemic
stage. These were students who represented the dominant sounds of words.
Most students demonstrated spelling that suggested development in the letter-name, within-word and syllablejuncture stages. Many students are still developing control over the more sophisticated aspects of spelling,
including the ability to:
• use the correct letter patterns in unstressed syllables
• add affixes, particularly to multisyllabic words,
• use the spelling-meaning connection.
In summary, the writing task was effective in discriminating aspects of writing performance. The task gave
students the chance to write with their own voice and they appear to have done so.
10
| Commentary
Section 3 – Annotated exemplar scripts
These scripts, annotations and scores exemplify how the criteria and standards rubric is applied and how students
at different levels tend to respond to the task.
These scripts can be used with students in conversations about the different qualities of writing and what might be
done by a particular writer to move the writing to the next level. They might also be used in porfessional
deevlopment activities. To support that use, a commentary template has been included on page 66.
Script 1 — Mr Sexton
Contextual factors
A
Uses an idea from the stimulus.
Some meaning can be made.
Text structure
A
Paragraphs indicate some structural organisation in the text but organisation of ideas is not
discernible.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
A
Some sentence boundaries can be inferred. Little punctuation.
Spelling
B
Correct spelling of some known words – is, so, the, look, we.
Dominant sounds represented in most words – letr (litter) scoolle, skoolle (school) pepl (people).
Word boundaries not well defined,
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Script 1 — Mr Sexton
Understands the purpose of a letter.
States a
problem.
Some
meaning can
be made.
Punctuation
and
conjunctions
suggest
relationships
between ideas
that cannot be
discerned.
States a
solution, the
meaning of
which is
unclear.
Letter strings
Little
punctuation
Word boundaries not well defined.
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| Annotated scripts
Script 2 — Mr Halster
Contextual factors
B
Brief response to task.
Meaning can be made from most of the text (when “yomfs” is understood as “uniforms”).
Text structure
B
Simple orientation – states solution. Supported by 1 or 2 sentences – a problem and a reason.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
B
Largely simple sentences. Some punctuation to mark sentence boundaries.
Spelling
B
Represents the dominant sounds in two syllable words – yomfs (uniforms), noml (normal), misd
(mister) wen (when).
Correct spelling of known words – school, time, home, rid, day, get, of
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Script 2 — Mr Halster
Key to understanding
States solution – order,
inappropriate to student
student–
principal relationship.
Order softened – please.
States problem –
“I” centred
Some known
words
Supporting
reason
Some punctuation
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| Annotated scripts
Spelling – represents
the dominant sounds
Script 3 — Mr Hamling
Contextual factors
Begins to develop a self-centred focus. Too brief to merit a D score.
C
The attempt to mimic polite spoken requests shows some understanding of the tenor of the reader/
writer relationship.
There is a little planning evident. The first sentence tries to be clear about what the writer does not
like.
Text structure
C
There is a statement of opinion with two suggested solutions. No reasons are given and the script is
too brief for a D score.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
C
The order of the sentences suggests the logical relationship between them. To move beyond C, the
student needs to use words about cause and purpose. The noun group “short drink” is typical of a C.
Sentence boundaries are shown, although required question marks are not used. Incorrect full stop
after “people”.
Spelling
Most phonemes in single syllable words are represented.
C
Mostly correct spelling of single-syllable words – like, think.
Despite some control of the internal patterns of words – could, please – errors show this skill is not
mastered – field (filled), Hamiling (Hamling), evrey (every), wating (waiting)
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Script 3— Dear Mr Hamling
First person
point of view
Tenor appropriate
to relationship
Gives a reason
States problem
Errors include
complex long
vowels
Suggests
actions
Mostly correct
spelling of onesyllable short
vowel words.
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| Annotated scripts
Represents single
phonemes
Script 4 — Mr McFadden
Contextual factors
D
Response to the task shows some planning and sequencing.
Selects an idea related to the task – could be better elaborated.
Text structure
E
States problems; includes some details. States solution.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
D
Simple causal relationships – I don’t like it because ...
Spelling
Mostly correct spelling of common long vowel patterns – canteen, prices.
D
Mostly correct spelling of words adding tense and plural endings – waiting, fixed
Errors in representing final sounds amoud (amount), stuf (stuff),
Error in a common word – to (too)
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Script 4 — Mr McFadden
States his purpose
for writing
States the problem
Simple cause
relationships
Supports with reasons
Solution
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| Annotated scripts
Unreferenced pronouns
Prices aspect
not elaborated
Script 5 — Dear Principal (Zeke)
Contextual factors
E
A planned response with episodic sequences. Shows an awareness of the need to build a shared
experience – asks the principal to see the problem through his eyes.
Text structure
E
Opening statement (description), problem and list of solutions. Ideas are organised from a personal
perspective – I don’t like ..., I have a couple of ideas ..., we’re tired of waiting.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Causes and consequences developed. Some clause structures are not well developed.
Difficulty with pronoun referencing (page 2), which means some ideas are not well integrated.
Spelling
D
Shows an understanding of the internal patterns of words – couple, mouth, waiting, bottle. Some
lapses – beps (beeps), studets (students), teather (teacher), there (their), intil (until) judy (duty).
Evidence that more advanced levels are not mastered – conesined (concerned), idears (ideas), funton
(fountain).
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Script 5 — Dear Principal (Zeke)
Sets the scene
through his eyes
Cause
Problem
Personal view
Justifies
problem
to other
point of
view
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| Annotated scripts
Script 5 — Dear Principal (Zeke)
List of ideas
Sentence boundaries
unclear
Repetitive sentence
structure
Multiple use of ‘you’unreferenced
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Script 5 — Dear Principal
Reason
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| Annotated scripts
Script 6 — Dear principal (K)
Contextual factors
A planned, sequenced response; related to topic and the demands of the task.
F
Attempts to engage reader by including reasons and thoughts. Contructs a personal but collective
response – We can help you with this problem.
Provides many details – some unnecessary.
Text structure
F
Opening statement to the reader, problem, reasons, solutions, concluding statement I hope you will.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Basic complex and compound sentences – some not well constructed. Some loss of punctuation to
indicate the sentence boundaries.
E
Uses modal verbs to indicate the sense of obligation – you can put
Some thinking feeling verbs – We don’t like ..., it frustrates us...
Some ideas not well linked – difficulty in pronoun referencing.
Some vocabulary chosen with precision – frustrates, dehydration, install.
Spelling
Shows an understanding of adding affixes – one error happend, (happened).
E
Mostly correct spelling of multi-syllabic words – frustrates, dehydration – errors soulutions
(solutions).
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Script 6 — Dear Principal (K)
A planned and sequenced response,
relates to the topic and task demands
Attempts to engage the reader
by including thoughts and reasons
Painting the
picture from
her point
of view
Provides many
details – some
unnecessary
Complex
sentences
some not
well
constructed
States the
problem
Gives
reasons
Basic
complex
sentences
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| Annotated scripts
Puts the
student
point of
view
Script 6 — Dear Principal (K)
No paragraphing in main body
Vocabulary
chosen for
emotive
effect
Relationship
building
Modal verbs
Change
of tenor –
awareness
of reader
Sentence
boundaries
lost
Clarity lost
in linking
of ideas –
pronoun
referencing
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Script 6 — Dear Principal (K)
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| Annotated scripts
Script 7 — Dear Mr Harrison
Contextual factors
G
Response shows an awareness of the formality of the relationship between reader and writer.
Attempts to develop the subject matter from a school or class perspective.
Text structure
G
Sequences her argument factually and emotionally. The flow from one issue to another could be
better sequenced and linked.
Ideas are grouped into paragraphs.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
G
Controls and varies sentence structures for effect, despite some verb flaws..
Chooses vocabulary sensitive to the relationship and purpose – privileged.
Spelling
Shows an understanding of adding affixes – installed, unicycles.
E
Correct spelling of mutisyllable words – proposals.
Errors include intrests (interests), exersise (exercise), priveliged (privileged), nessercery (necessary).
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Script 7 — Dear Mr Harrison
Awareness of the relationship
and its formality
Sentences contain
extending phrases
Develops a
strong personal
voice
Includes the
weight of
other’s point
of view
Argues the
community
benefit
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| Annotated scripts
Script 7 — Dear Mr Harrison
Clusters ideas into
paragraphs
Structures the
writing to appeal to
to the reader
emotionally and
personally
Uses simple and complex
sentences effectively
Appeals for action
in a way that shows
awareness of the
relationship.
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Script 8 — Dear Mr John
Contextual factors
I
Attempts to develop a relationship with the reader – Although am overall very happy with the school
..., I enjoy being a student here ..., I want to thank you ..
Understands other points of view – I am suggesting ..., if you could come up with a better point of
view.
Text structure
H
Structures the problem and solution sequence to appeal to the principal emotionally and personally.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
G
Uses simple, compound and complex sentences with variety and some elaboration appropriately
and for effect.
Selects language that reflects the interpersonal or emotional aspects of the student–principal
relationship – rather lacking, seem to disappear.
Spelling
E
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Shows an understanding of syllables and adding affixes.
Errors include minuetes (minutes), oppurtunity (opportunity).
| Annotated scripts
Script 8 — Dear Mr John
Attempts to develop
a relationship with the
principal
Structures the problem
and solution sequence
to appeal to the reader
Uses simple, compound and
complex sentences appropriately
Uses emotive
vocabulary
Shows understanding
of issues that might
shape the principals’ view
Some vocabulary is not
consistent with tenor
Sentences contain
Sentences
contain
extending phrases
Modulated language indicates
the degree of obligation and certainty
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Uses simple, compound and
complex sentences appropriately
Attempts to build a
relationship with the
principal
Uses emotive vocabulary
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| Annotated scripts
Script 8 — Dear Mr John
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Script 9 — Dear Mrs Noonan
Contextual factors
G
Response is planned to take account of the relationship between the writer and the recipient.
Attempts to persuade the reader to her point of view.
Text structure
G
Structures the problem and solution logically and factually to the reader. The first type ... Another
type ...
Ideas are clustered into paragraphs.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Overuse of the same sentence structure based on “because” clauses.
G
Vocabulary suitable to relationship – to express – and purpose serious, self-esteem.
Sophisticated cohesion devices (such as ellipsis: Another form of bullying is physical [bullying].
Spelling
E
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Correct spelling of multi-syllabic words – concern, mental.
Words with common prefixes ... conventions for adding - teasing, depression, depending.
| Annotated scripts
Script 9 — Dear Mrs Noonan
Acknowledges
the relationship
– word choice
States purpose
Structures
description
of the problem
logically and
factually
Phrases
to extend
descriptions
of ideas
Vocabulary
appropriate
to purpose
Ideas clustered
in paragraphs
Develops
a strong
personal
voice
Develops the subject matter
from a school perspective
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Script 9 — Dear Mrs Noonan (Cont)
Offers solution
and supports
with details
Vocabulary
chosen with
precision
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| Annotated scripts
Script 10 — Dear Mr Stoyles
Contextual factors
Attempts to develop a relationship with the reader.
I
Shows an awareness of the school’s values and beliefs.
Acknowledges the principal’s point of view.
Text structure
Constructs her argument justifying her position from multiple points of view.
I
Ideas are tightly linked through the text – jumpers, blazers, uniform.
Uses vocabulary with precision – the ways and doings, absurd. Elaborates ideas with that, ing
clauses.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Control and variety of ambitious clauses and sentence structures.
H
Precise vocabulary to influence reader’s perceptions and acknowledge the social relationships with
the reader.
Tight cohesion amongst elaborated ideas.
Spelling
E
Mostly correct spelling of multi-syllable words – festive, accompanied, unaccompanied, finally,
respectable.
Errors show some difficulty with sounds at the syllable juncture –occaisions (occasions), obsurd
(absurd), adding affixes basicaly (basically).
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Script 10 — Dear Mr Stoyles
Elaborates the form to
communicate multiple
points of view
Precise
vocabulary
Identifies with
the school point
of view
Signals the
issue
States problem
directly
Elaborates
with -ing
clause
Elaborates the
rule with a that
clause
Re-establishes
her understanding
of the principal’s
position
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| Annotated scripts
Ideas tightly
linked through
text
Script 10 — Dear Mr Stoyles
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Script 10— Dear Mr Stoyles
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| Annotated scripts
Script 11 — Dear Mr Hamiling (Brodie)
Contextual factors
Begins to develop a self-centred focus. Too brief to merit a D score.
C
The attempt to mimic polite spoken requests shows some understanding of the tenor of the reader/
writer relationship.
There is a little planning evident. The first sentence tries to be clear about what the writer does not
like.
Text structure
C
There is a statement of opinion with two suggested solutions. No reasons are given and the script is
too brief for a D score.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
C
The order of the sentences suggests the logical relationship between them. To move beyond C, the
student needs to use words about cause and purpose. The noun group “short drink” is typical of a C.
Sentence boundaries are shown, although required question marks are not used. Incorrect full stop
after “people”.
Spelling
C
Mostly correct spelling of single-syllable words.
Errors: field (filled), Hamiling (Hamling), evrey (every), wating (waiting)
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Script 11— Dear Mr Hamiling (Brodie)
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| Annotated scripts
Script 12 — Dear School principle (Jacob)
Contextual factors
I
Opens with community values to connect with the reader and argues from general rather than self
interest (“unsanitary condition cannot be good for the health of the students”). Makes an intellectual
appeal to the reader by presenting evidence (“I have been noting why some students litter”) and by
the logical ordering and elaboration of lidless bin ideas. Not awarded a J score because there is too
little analysis of the problem (i.e. “as a result of student behaviour”) and too little justification for a
focus on a bin solution.
Uses “our beloved school” to position both writer and reader as insiders.
Takes account of other viewpoints; e.g. does not blame the staff.
A personal voice shows in the writing.
Text structure
The first paragraph develops an opinion in a context while the second elaborates a response.
H
There is control of a logical internal structure within paragraphs. There is insufficient detail organised
in marked paragraphs to earn an I score.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
The complex sentences (based on reported clauses (“I feel that”) and the conjunctions “so” and “if”)
lack sophistication and variety but are used to some effect.
H
Precise vocabulary. Noun groups (“unsanitary conditions”, “the following results”, “a remedy for
this”, “extra wide lidless bins”) and modal and precise verb groups (“could place”, “would
encourage”, “currently attending”, “definitely improve”, “could install”). There are some flaws
(“come out with” instead of “arrived at”, “In total” instead of “In combination”, “put these ideas into
action” instead of “put these proposals in place” or “take these actions”).
Good cohesive links, including signposts (Lately, First, second, in total) but also the repetitions and
pronouns around the types of bins.
Spelling
Affixes without change to base: unsanitory, extremely, recently, encourage.
G
Spelling–meaning link: grateful, install, condition
Errors: definately (definitely), principle (Principal)
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Script 12 — Dear School principle (Jacob)
Attempts to develop a
relationship with the reader
States the
problem
Supports
with consequences
for the community
Uses the noun
and verb groups
to increase the
lexical density
Precise
vocabulary
choice
Develops
personal
voice
Links between
ideas are tight
and effective
Uses simple
compound &
complex
sentences
appropriately
Shows awareness
of the values and
beliefs of own
community
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| Annotated scripts
Logical and
ordered
development
of ideas
Chooses vocabulary with
precision
Script 12 — Dear School principle (Jacob)
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Script 13 — Ms Toffoli
Contextual factors
G
Shows awareness of the formality of the relationship between reader and writer (“I would like to
express”; “As you might know”; “I would suggest”).
Develops some subject matter from a school or class perspective.
Develops a strong personal voice – “my concern”, “I don’t like”, “we”, “some of us”
Text structure
G
Structures the problem and solution logically and factually. In this case, the logic and coherence of
the piece would have been improved by having the solutions follow the problems.
The paragraphs cluster similar ideas.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
The problems with this student’s writing indicate the student’s aspirations to more sophisticated
grammar. The errors indicate that the teaching focus for a student at the F level might apply.
The student correctly attempts formal grammar and succeeds with some extending phrases: “One
way of fixing this”, “allowed to spend money on that day and that day only”. The formal vocabulary
(express, concern, encourages) is not sustained.
F
There are problems with mood (sentences that are half statement and half command, “people are
only allowed” instead of “people should be allowed”) and mode (“encourages” instead of “would
encourage”) and nominalisation (“get a punishment” instead of “be punished”; “to not allow
sharing” instead of “to prohibit and punish sharing”) and tense (“they have got” instead of “they will
have”).
The student habitually leaves off the pluralising s where it is needed. Cohesion suffers from poor
pronoun referencing and from the effect of the problems discussed above.
Most punctuation is correct and helpful.
Spelling
F
On the cusp of a score of E and F. Shows an understanding of adding affixes: punishment,
encourages, sharing, sincerely. Correct homophone: allowed. Correct spelling of multisyllable words:
concern, problem, express. Correct contraction: shouldn’t, don’t.
Errors: jounoir (junior); common homophone: there (their);
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| Annotated scripts
Script 13 — Ms Toffoli
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Script 13 — Ms Toffoli
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| Annotated scripts
Script 13 — Ms Toffoli
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Script 14 — I don’t like traffic
Contextual factors
A little planning is evident in stating the problem, with supporting details then the solution, with a
reason.
D
A self-centred view (“I don’t like the traffic”; “I don’t like being pushed”). The writer seems to be
talking to himself rather than to a reader but this is modified by a small acknowledgment of the
reader in the phrase “I suggest” and the pronoun “we”.
Text structure
D
Implies a reason for his dislike of the staircase. Also implies (despite the lack of a causal sentence
with a conjunction) that the problem is caused by the narrowness of the stairs rather than the “traffic
of people” itself. Attempts to show details of inconvenience and of how to fix the problem (i.e. acting
during the holidays when, by implication, the stairs will not be in use).
If the student was aware of the need to make overt these implied ideas and if he had the grammatical
knowledge to state them, then this script could jump to a much higher score.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Contains three oral-based complex sentences, the first two with similar structure, the third with a
causal clause but with missing verb and missing plural, i.e. while “time delay” is a good
nominalisation, it needed the verb cause (“cause time delays” should have been used).
C
Precise use of “traffic of people” , “disturb classes”, “wider stair[s]”. Other vocabulary is idiomatic
and plain.
Too brief to give more evidence than score C.
All sentence boundaries are punctuated.
Spelling
D
50
Correct spelling of one-syllable words (like), common words (people) and some two-syllable words
(traffic, suggest).
Errors show that knowledge about the internal patterns of words is not yet mastered: e.g. biuld
(build), shaved (shoved), wighter (wider), distube (disturb) classies (classes).
| Annotated scripts
Script 14 — I don’t like traffic
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Script 15 — Dear Mr Harrison (Ben)
Contextual factors
F
A planned, sequenced response to task demands. Provides brief reasons and proposes actions
relevant to his problems. Demonstrates awareness of the power relationship with the principal: e.g.
“I would like”, “If you could”. Although the ultimatum and demanding tone of the final sentences
misjudges the relationship, they are intended to engage the reader.
Text structure
F
Very brief introduction that implies an opinion by the way it states the problems. Includes brief
concluding gestures. The first two paragraphs are structured as a description followed by a proposed
action. The third paragraph is really part of the second. The final paragraph is a call to action.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Basic complex sentences (“The first is that ...”; “If you can ...”).
F
Uses modal verbs (“If you could trade”) to signal an obligation to act on his suggestions. One
thinking verb (“choose”). Overuses “If” as a polite way to make a request (i.e. uses “if you could ...”
to mean Could you please so that ...)
Unsophisticated but adequate linkages between ideas.
Mostly correct sentence punctuation.
Spelling
D
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Shows an understanding of the internal patterns of words (unicycles, bullies, second, during).
Errors in vowel patterns and other lapses: brake (break), ovel (oval), dont (don’t), cant (can’t)
| Annotated scripts
Script 15 — Dear Mr Harrison (Ben)
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Script 16 — We need grass in our school
Contextual factors
E
Attempts to bring the reader into a shared experience. Tries to invoke shared values but fails to
appeal to an identified reader or to show how writing about the problem will serve the purpose.
Some details are not integrated, e.g. the mud inthe church is unexplained for the reader.
Text structure
E
Identifies the problem and makes clear statements in favour of grass. Little effective elaboration of
these steps in the argument. The final paragraph fails to shape the text.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
E
The first two sentences show the student is at the stage of experimenting with elaborated simple
sentences and basic complex sentences. The second and third paragraph consists of an immature or
uncontrolled sentence structure linked with ands. The writer falls back into simple indicative
sentences (“We can improve”, “This situation will”) where qualified modal verbs should have been
used (We would be able to, The situation could be).
The student tries to use emotive and formal vocabulary (“outrageous”, “spectacular”, “current
discussion”).
Cohesion is poor. The writer assumes the reader knows the relation between grass in the school,
mud in the church and gravel. The student misuses connectives (e.g. “more spectacular as” should
be “than”).
Spelling
G
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Good grasp of spelling/meaning patterns and affixes: discussion, situation, outrageous, spectacular
Errors: maney (many), occure (occur), principle (Principal)
| Annotated scripts
Script 16 — We need grass in our school
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Script 17 — The principal (Sean)
Contextual factors
D
Response to the task shows some planning and sequencing. Selects ideas related to the task, but
some are not well integrated. The writer understands the task as requiring emotional words, so he
imitates the words of an angry parent. There is no cogent construction of the reader and writer roles
or of what the letter is trying to achieve.
Text structure
D
Mostly the script repeats the same idea. The statement of opinion and the response is repeated with
arbitrary details added. Concluding statement repeats these ideas in another way.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Many simple sentences. Some simple cause relationships (that’s why; because he got hurt by a
bully). Overuse of and and because to link clauses. Many grammatical errors, especially of verb
D
tense.
Simple vocabulary. Missing and misused words create gaps in cohesion.
Little punctuation; sentence boundaries not marked.
Spelling
C
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Correct spelling of simple single-syllable words (stop, hurt); common words (children, talk, every),
long vowel patterns (need).
Incorrect spelling gives clear evidence of difficulty with adding inflected endings: aloud (allowed),
find (finds), anger (angry), angering (angry), one’s (once), bully’s (bullies).
| Annotated scripts
Script 17 — The principal (Sean)
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Script 17 — The principal (Sean)
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| Annotated scripts
Script 18 — Dear principal ( A concerned student)
Contextual factors
H
Uses the wider values of the school and “community” to base their opinion. Formal expression is
used
(rather too stuffily), to adopt a respectable persona to gain credibility. Logical structure of the final
sentence is calculated to persuade the reader.
Text structure
G
Introduction is rather too brief and the elaboration too unsustained for a higher score.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Evidence of more sophisticated complex sentences.
“Punish” is overused and “amount” misused (where “number” is needed.)
G
Tight lexical cohesion during jump from the statement of personal experience to the statements
about the problem and solution.
Controls punctuation of complex sentence boundaries.
Spelling
E
Errors (writting, disrespectfull) give evidence that the writer has not mastered the syllable juncture
stage.
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Script 18 — Dear principal (A concerned student)l
Response shows awareness
of the formality of the relationship
between reader and writer
Opening statement
Develops an overt
personal voice
Uses compound
and complex
sentences
effectively
Statement of problem
Reason
Attempts to develop subject matter
from a school perspective
Clustering of ideas
into paragraphs
Logical but
basic development
of the solution
Vocabulary
precise but?
Concluding statement to the reader
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| Annotated scripts
Script 19 — Dear Principal (Michael)
Contextual factors
G
Shows an awareness of the formality of the relationships between the reader and the writer in this
context. This earns a score above F, despite the flaws in planning the writer role. The writer switches
from the first person (“I have written”) to the third person (“We also advise”). The reader is left to
wonder if the writer is a school administration officer, an individual student, a student representative
or a local council officer.
Text structure
F
Structures the problem and solution sequence logically and factually. Lacks elaboration.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Extending phrases , e.g. “a growing concern about our water fountains”.
Causal and defining links in subordinate clauses, e.g. “because people are clogging them”, “caught
vandalising school property”.
G
Brief evidence and some uncertain and unnecessary mixing of tenses (e.g. “people are clogging”
instead of people clog), but a G score is awarded because the student is attempting to use grammar
to control the formal tenor of the reader–writer relationship.
Chooses words sensitive to the relationship – “I hope you consider our advice”.
Cohesion: There is confusion over the pronouns we and I.
Spelling
Correct spelling of multisyllable words: fountains, property
E
Correct spelling of words with simple affixes: complaining, punishments, constantly
Errors: concider (consider), advise (advice), sinserly (sincerely), vanderlising (vandalising)
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Script 19 — Dear Principal (Michael)
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| Annotated scripts
Script 20 — Dear Mr Williams
Contextual factors
Appeals to the intended reader intellectually and emotionally. Uses anecdote to help to define and
explain.
I
Argues for a change that the Principal will care about and is able to act upon. Speaks from personal
experience but reminds the reader that the problem affects students generally. Maintains politeness
towards the Principal by acknowledging the difficulty of the problem, conceding weakness in his own
argument (the first lock was not the school’s concern) and refrains from overstatement (e.g. “several
other classmates and many other pupils”) but asserts his personality to make clear the strength of
his feelings about the issue.
Text structure
The text is extended enough to explore two major aspects of the same topic.
H
The student avoids a schematic statement of opinion as an introduction. Instead, he establishes the
topic then gives a statement of fact (“$54 spent on locks”) that leads straight into the argument. The
division between the first and second sections is clear. The final sentence is too brief. Paragraphing
is crude and minimal.
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Grammar: Uses varied sentence structures including one -ing clause (“without using a fair bit of
money”), but with awkwardness that would not be evident in H scripts. Some good use of complex
tenses (“could have easily been”; “I would ask that the lockers be caged”; “pupils have had their
locks stolen”).
G
Vocabulary: Uses qualifying adjectives and formal nouns to suit the relationship to the reader
(“soiree”, “entire central hallway”). Uses imagery to suggest the real distress caused by the
apparently minor problem (“I have been battered and beaten by lockers, books, bags etc.”). There is
an example of poor idiomatic usage (“on account of”).
Cohesion: Overuses “lock” and shows some poor control of pronouns (“If it is possible for you, I have
a suggestion”). Displays one sophisticated passage: “another issue ... which also concerns the
lockers. Space. There is simply not enough space”).
Punctuation: Sentence, clause and noun punctuation mostly correct.
Spelling
F
Knows syllable patterns and common affixed words, e.g. easily, account, concern, roughly,
suggestion. However, errors indicate this knowledge is not perfected, e.g. brocken (broken),
inadequete (inadequate), seperated (separated), of (off)
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Script 20 — Dear Mr Williams
States purpose
for writing
States problem
Justifies the
problem from
his perspective
Attempts to
engage the
reader by
includiing
thoughts and
actions
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| Annotated scripts
Script 20 — Dear Mr Williams
Problem
Aware of the
relationship
- clause
Solution
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Blank response form
Script Name:
Contextual factors
Text structure
Grammar, vocabulary, cohesion, punctuation
Spelling
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| Annotated scripts
Section 4 – Grammar notes
Grammar describes how the inflection (varied form) of words and the order of words contribute to meaning. In the
model below, initial decisions about grammar are made at the cultural and situational levels. For instance,
opinions are usually written in present tense whereas letters to the editor usually require formal expression. The
following pages highlight grammatical decisions made at the levels of words and sentences.
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Level of words and word groups
Words sit at the “bottom” of this model of writing. There are two classes of words. Open word classes describe
objects and concepts. Closed word classes, sometimes called grammatical word classes, provide structure in the
language.
Open word classes — objects and concepts
Nouns are used to name or label objects, people, places, concepts and feelings. A noun
answers the questions “What?” or “Who?”
There are common nouns — cat, wombat, thought — and proper nouns — Sally, Brisbane,
Queensland, Friday. Proper nouns are capitalised.
Nouns
Like other forms of vocabulary, nouns can denote the literal meaning of a word and also
provide connotations of emotions and feelings associated with it — leave/abandon; thrifty/
stingy. Understanding this distinction is important to the development of students’ writing.
Nominalisation is the formation of nouns from other words or phrases. The saving of water is
urgent. Like any noun, this nominalised phrase can be introduced by the article “the”. In
writing, nominalisation is a technique for expressing more abstract ideas and arguments. It
can cloak the writer’s voice to represent opinion as fact.
Writers pack noun groups to increase the amount or precision of detail. The ability to construct
such groups deliberately and consciously is a measure of a student’s growing control of
writing.
Noun groups
Verbs
A noun group can be a single noun or pronoun or can be expanded to include adjectives or
adjectival phrases before or after the noun.
• front door knob
• a long wailing note from Brian’s violin.
Verbs provide the dynamism in sentences or clauses by giving a sense of something
happening. They show processes such as:
• action or doing — hop, drive, promote, design
• thinking and feeling — plot, know, believe
• saying — say, cry, yell, roar, thunder
• being and having — is, was, are, has, have
Verbs are changed in form to signal how or when they work. This is called inflection because it
is usually accompanied by a raised tone in spoken language.
Number
The verb must “agree” with the subject of the clause, meaning that, for example, a plural
subject must have a plural verb — The boys are brave. (Not boy are or boys is.) The band of
wolves is waiting for the caribou. (Not band of wolves are ...)
Tense and modality
Verbs can be inflected to show when something occurred (present, future, or past).
She likes (liked, will like) walking her dog.
Because “walking” is a non-finite verb, it does not have a time inflection.
In the example above, the future tense must be formed by adding another verb, “will”, as an
auxiliary to the main verb, “like”. There are auxiliaries of being — do, have, be — and the
modal auxiliaries — can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, ought, will, would.
By attaching one of the modal auxiliaries to a verb, a writer can give information about the
degree of certainty, probability or obligation that attaches to a stated act.
Dinosaurs may have lived here. I have to care for my sister.
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| Grammar notes
Open word classes — objects and concepts
The construction of tense and modality can be quite complex. For example,
He had been going to be taking part in the attack on the fort.
She would have liked to have gone with them.
In these two examples, the verb construction is present, in future, in past. Control over these
structures is critical in narrative writing, particularly in using literary devices such as
flashbacks. Expository writing may also require complex tenses, such as: We were supposed to
have had a new park a year ago.
Verb groups
Verb groups can also be formed by adding to the main verb the auxiliary verbs mentioned
above as well as
• prepositions — He woke up.
• adverbs — He was fighting off the flu.
• negatives — Mary would not go home.
Elaborated phrases that function as a single verb help to make writing precise but with shades
of additional meaning. Noun groups also achieve this function.
Verb forms determine whether a sentence is written in the active or passive voice
voice
Active and
passive voice
active
sentence order
subject + verb + object
example
People make
history.
passive object + auxiliary (being verb) + verb + History is made
preposition (by) + subject
by people.
effect
focus on the agent
of an activity
focus on the thing
affected
Adjectives provide information about a noun. They are usually used within a noun group —
exciting, new book — but can be used after a verb — She is pretty.
Adjectives
Adverbs
Adjectives can:
• describe — beautiful child
• show number or quantify — two elephants
• specify or point — this newspaper
• indicate possession — Mary’s hat
• compare — biggest diamond
• classify — chemical formulae.
Adverbs provide additional information about what is happening in the text. For example, they
provide information about an action’s
• manner of performance (how) — ran speedily
• time of occurrence — came eventually
• place of occurrence — born locally.
They can give emphasis or intensify, provide indications of attitude and extent or limit the
action. She sang happily. She sang very happily. The tenor sang briefly.
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Closed word classes
These are a restricted group of words that act as structural markers in the text. They show the logical
relations between the ideas and also indicate the weighting of ideas.
Articles
The definite article the indicates which particular thing is being referred to —The dog next
door.
The indefinite article a (or an) indicates general nonspecific membership of a class — A
pig raided the cabbage patch.
Conjunctions show the relation between ideas in two parts of a sentence: one part of a
sentence is coordinate with the other or else one part is subordinate to the other.
The coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) show relationships between
two ideas of equal importance. I want to go but I can’t.
Subordinating conjunctions introduce and signal the function of a subordinate clause
(just as prepositions do of phrases).
Conjunctions
These include relations of:
• place — where the road bends
• manner — as we did before
• subsequent action — since, after
• earlier action — before, once, until
• concurrent action — whenever, as, while
• reason — because
• condition — if, unless, in case, that, unless
• alternative — either ... or
• concession — although, despite, while, even if, (and) yet.
Precise conjunctions allow writers to specify precise relations between ideas. Even the
conjunction and can be used precisely.
Prepositions introduce nouns or phrases to link them to other parts of the sentence and
signal the function of the phrase. They locate nouns or phrases in
Prepositions
time or place — on fire, at the beach, in the swampy field, throughout the text
spatial relation — above water, under the influence, next to useless, inside the apple
direction — to, on, in, into, onto etc.
manner — despite all appearances.
Pronouns allow repeated reference to a concept without repeating a noun. My cat [noun] is
white. Its [possessive pronoun] mother is black.
Some examples:
Pronouns
personal — I, me, you, they, he, she, it, we, us
(see also cohesion
below)
possessive — our(s), my, mine, your(s), her(s), his, their(s), its
reflexive — yourself, ourselves
demonstrative — those, these, this
indefinite — each, all, any, some
interrogative — whose, which, what, whom.
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Level of clauses and sentences
Moving “upwards” within the model of writing, we reach clauses. Clauses are the smallest structures that can
contain a unified proposition.
Clauses
Unlike phrases or other grammatically connected groups of words, clauses contain a verb and
its object. In addition, independent clauses contain a subject. Independent clauses can stand
alone but in complex sentences they form the main clause.
phrase — to the beach (preposition + noun group)
independent clause — I run to the beach (subject + verb + object)
subordinate clause — when I run to the beach (conjunction + subject+ verb + object phrase)
A coordinated clause is a sentence capable of standing by itself but joined to another standalone clause by a conjunction (and, or, but, not only … but also etc.).
Coordinated
clauses
Greer wants to go skiing at Mt Buffalo and then [Greer/she] wants to go to
Sovereign Hill.
I love chocolate but [I] don’t really like lollies.
Two or more coordinated clauses joined with a conjunction construct a compound sentence.
Compound sentences join together propositions that have equal ranking or status. Only the
sequence in these sentences suggests the order in which a reader should attend to the
meaning.
A subordinate clause is a fragment of a sentence that provides extra information related to
that given in a main or independent clause.
They became lost [main] when they missed the turn [subordinate].
Subordinate clauses can give information about the participants within a main clause.
Subordinate
clauses
Girls who are too concerned about body image can develop anorexia.
In indirect speech, subordinate clauses can give information projected by a participant within
the clause.
My friend said that he wouldn’t be home that early.
A complex sentence is formed when one main clause is joined by a subordinating conjunction
to one or more subordinate clauses. Complex sentences contain clauses of unequal ranking or
status.
Sentences are either a single clause or a combination of clauses. As mood structures, they
provide information about the writer’s relationship with an audience and the way information
is to be regarded.
When an independent clause is allowed to stand alone, it forms a simple sentence with a
subject (Mary) a verb (goes) and an object (off to the shop). Some simple sentences can
become quite elaborate, e.g.
Papua New Guinea [subject] has [verb] a large number of active volcanoes. [object].
Sentences
The order of sentence elements given in this example is the usual one: subject, verb, object.
By changing the order, different emphases can be created. (E.g. Off to the shop goes Mary.)
Sentences can take different forms:
declaratives — used to make statements
interrogatives — used to ask questions
imperatives — used to give orders
exclamations — used to express strong emotion, usually of surprise or disgust.
These forms indicate the mood or power relationships between the writer and the intended
audience. Students need to develop control over a repertoire of sentence forms to manage
their stance and their audience appeal.
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This term refers to the ordering of information within a clause. The theme of a clause is most
often the subject of the clause and, in declarative sentences (sentences that make statements)
it is often the participant in the stated event:
Allan was hit by the bus.
Theme/rheme
The theme is usually placed at the beginning of the clause. It highlights to the reader the most
significant component of the clause. However, other components of the clause can be in
theme position:
Around the corner came the speeding bus that hit Allan.
Where the subject is not the theme, there is a level of increased emphasis given to the idea
presented as theme.
The patterns with which the theme and rheme of clauses link, adds to the cohesion.
Level of paragraph or proposition
Paragraphs are used to group the major ideas or propositions within a text. This organizes the ideas, thus helping
readers to recognise the significant ideas and make associations between them. Paragraphs are also used to mark
shifts in the flow of the text.
Properly constructed, a paragraph leaves the reader in no doubt about how it links to what comes before and after
it. This might require connective words or phrases (see next page).
A paragraph has a topic sentence that indicates the substance of the paragraph. A topic sentence can be a
summary of the ideas that appear in the paragraph or a super-ordinate idea or generalised statement that is
exemplified or elaborated in the paragraph. Generally, the topic sentence appears at the beginning of the
paragraph, but it need not necessarily do so.
Level of text
Moving up to the overall text level, there are a number of different devices that are used to organise and link the
ideas in the text.
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Cohesion
Cohesion is used to describe the devices that help move a reader through the text. Cohesion works in two major
ways. One is called grammatical cohesion. This works largely through the use of the structural words that
constitute the closed word classes which refer readers backwards and forwards through the text..
Pronouns
Connectives
These connect all the ideas associated with a basic noun. They either connect with a noun
that has already been introduced or they can be introduced before the noun to which they
refer. Skilled writers are able to use pronouns that are not defined in the text but which
are defined by strong inferred connections to commonly held knowledge.
Where multiple or long pronoun strings are introduced, the noun-pronoun reference
needs to be re-established at the beginning of each paragraph. Where the distance
between the referent and the pronoun is too great or where a reader may become
confused by multiple pronoun strings, the pronoun needs to be redefined.
Whereas conjunctions link two parts of a sentence together, connectives link two
sentences or two paragraphs together. Connectives show relations of:
• time
– subsequent action — since then, after that, next, finally, as soon as, soon afterward
– prior action — at first, until then, earlier
– concurrent action — at the same time, meanwhile
• cause
– result — as a result, therefore, consequently
– reason — because of, so that, due to
– inference — otherwise, in that case, then
– condition — granted that, considering how, now that, as long as
• addition
– equality — and, moreover, besides, furthermore, similarly
– restatement — indeed, actually, namely, that is
– example — for example, first, second, third, next, then, finally
– summation — thus, overall, therefore, in conclusion, in short, in fact
• contrast
– antithesis — but, yet, rather, on the other hand
– alternative — alternatively, however, rather than
– comparison — in comparison, in contrast, likewise
– concession — though, however, anyhow, in any case, despite that.
The second way in which cohesion is developed is through the association between ideas. This is often referred to
as lexical cohesion. These word associations are created by:
• repetition — Algy met a bear. The bear was bulgy.
• synonyms — The dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.
• antonyms — The wolf was happy, which gave the pig every reason to be sad.
• associations of words around the same subject — As the jockey travelled to the racecourse, he wondered about
his new mount. It was a stablemate of his last ride but was it a stallion or a mare? It would need the speed of
Pegasus to win this race.
This is the weakest form of cohesion. Used alone or as the dominant method of cohesion, it forces a reader to
read and clarify using their own background knowledge. This can lead to ambiguous or confused understanding
on the part of a reader.
• taxonomies such as part to whole — Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath.
And class to subclass — A well known amphibian is the green frog.
Stronger and unambiguous links between ideas and clear referencing between ideas will make the text more
coherent and thus readable.
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Notes on punctuation
Punctuation is part of the orthographic code through which language is created on a page. It marks out the
semantic boundaries between ideas and the function of particular words.
Capital letters
Capitals are required for:
• proper nouns — Sally, Brisbane
• proper adjectives — a Chinese restaurant
• beginnings of sentences
• titles — The Courier-Mail.
Capital letters can also be used to give emphasis to the writing — “NO!” he screamed.
End marks
A full stop is required at the end of a declarative or imperative sentence. A question mark
follows an interrogative sentence. An exclamation mark follows an exclamatory sentence.
• The crocodile chased the boys. (declarative)
• Don’t touch that book. (imperative)
• How are you going to get to the other side? (interrogative)
• This piece of writing is GREAT! (exclamative)
As students develop their understanding of sentences, particularly when they start to build
elaborated or sophisticated clause complexes, they may for a short time lose their sense of
where the sentence boundaries are.
Apostrophes
Apostrophes should be used to show:
• possessive singular nouns — sister’s hat
• possessive plural nouns — students’ bags.
Plural nouns that do not end in s are punctuated in the same way as singular nouns —
children’s
• the letters left out of a contraction — isn’t (is not).
Commas
Commas tell the reader to pause between words and thus to keep ideas separate. They can be
used to:
• separate the simple sentences in compound sentences — Some students were having
lunch, but others were playing.
• separate an initial subordinate clause from the main clause: After studying hard, I retired.
• separate ideas in a list — Apples, peaches, apricots and grapes are grown in Stanthorpe.
• mark out a noun or noun phrase in apposition — Napoleon, Emperor of France,
institutionalised many of the reforms from the French revolution.
• separate introductory words such as Well, … Yes, …, So, … from the remainder of the
clause.
Semicolons
These are used where a strong pause is needed but where the ideas are still strongly related
and form part of the same sentence — A burning twig snapped in the stove; the kettle hummed
in an undertone.
They can also be used in sentences that are constructed as a list — Multi-coloured umbrellas
were going up – tilting at the sun; beach towels were being spread out; children were running
everywhere.
Colons
Colons introduce a list or a quotation. They are also used where an author wants to clarify or
expand on an idea — He turned his horse and headed for home, tearing at breakneck speed
down the narrow road: the very road he had just travelled. (clarification) Her mother entered
the room and was struck by an overwhelming feeling of loneliness: something to do with the
book. (elaboration)
Colons are often replaced by a dash: And the murderer was still there — in this very room,
creeping towards him in the dark.
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| Grammar notes
Ellipsis marks are used to:
Marks of
elision
(ellipsis)
• show where words have been omitted from an expression or thought
• increase suspense or a sense of mystery — He stopped short, suddenly realising
Quotation
marks
• the names of short works or parts of a whole work. Titles of large, self-contained works are
something … There were no taps in there.
These are used to indicate:
normally underlined/italicised, but quotation marks may be used too.
• boundaries of quotations taken from other sources
• the speaker’s exact words in direct speech — “Where”, asked the tourist, “is the turn-off to
the Black Stump?”
The punctuation marks relating to the words quoted belong inside the quotation marks.
Direct speech and “paragraphing” — When a new speaker begins, the convention is to begin a
new line. Knowledge of this convention does not mean that a student knows how to construct
proper paragraphs with an internal structure.
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Section 5 – Glossary
This glossary is provided to clarify the terms used on the marking grids.
Absorbed prefixes
These are prefixes where the spelling of the consonant in the prefix has been altered so
that it is assimilated or absorbed into the spelling of the sound at the beginning of the
base word e.g. ad+tract = attract, in+legal = illegal.
Inflection
This is the change of form that words undergo to mark distinctions of number, person,
active/passive verb form and tense.
Reference is the relation of a word to what it describes. Nouns refer to things/persons,
verbs to processes/actions, adjectives to qualities/properties of things and adverbs to
qualities/properties of actions. Controlled reference is vital to communication.
Pronoun reference
Sentence
The ability to make pronoun references is an important stage of growth. Pronouns can
be referenced to nouns or noun groups that come before or after the pronoun. The
referent can also be outside the text. Writers need to develop their awareness of how
long the distance between the pronoun and its referent can be as well as how and
when to redefine the referent when multiple pronoun strings appear in the text.
A sentence is a unit of meaning. At its simplest, it is made up of one or more noun and
verb groups. A simple sentence has a subject, verb and predicate. Compound
sentences consist of at least two main clauses coordinated by and, or, for, but, nor, so
and yet. A complex sentence has one main clause and at least one subordinate clause.
Markers should attend to the variety and the complexity of sentence forms used in a
script.
Pre-phonemic stage of spelling development
Spelling
(Bear & Templeton)
This is the first stage of students’ learning to spell. It marks the emergence of an
understanding of our orthographic system. During this stage, children write by using
strings of letters, letter-like symbols and/or numbers to represent words.
Semi-phonemic stage of spelling development
This is the second stage of spelling development in which students show their
awareness that letters are used to represent the sounds of language. In this stage
students may represent the sounds that seem most dominant to them, e.g. BD (bed).
Correct order of sounds may not be a feature of the spelling in this stage.
Letter-name or alphabetic stage of spelling
This is a stage of development that marks the beginning of conventional spelling.
Letter–name spellers spell in a linear, sound-by-sound way, writing down the sounds
they hear. In its earliest stages, this may mean they write only the first and last sounds,
BAK (bake). By the middle of this stage students put a vowel in most syllables, BAKR
(baker), and by the end of it they represent the dominant sounds they hear, CORT
(caught). Also by the end of this stage, they can map the sounds in short vowel words
of the type consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC). An indication of students’ ability to
move to the next level is their ability to spell words with nasal consonants like jump or
bunch.
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Syllable juncture stage of spelling
The earliest task at this stage is to understand consonant doubling.Toward the middle
of this stage of development, students focus on the conventions and affixes for turning
verbs into nouns. At the same time, teachers will engage with common prefixes and the
construction of plurals.
Students also examine the stress patterns within words, e.g. how a change in stress in
words like con’tract/contract; re’cord/record changes the syntactic and semantic
functions of the words. This is the beginning of understanding the spelling–meaning
connection in spelling.
Within–word pattern stage of spelling
As the name suggests, students spelling at this level pay closer attention to the vowels
within syllables. They begin to examine the long vowel patterns within words. This
improves efficiency in both reading and writing. In the early stages students may
choose a possible but incorrect spelling of a long vowel pattern — leeve (leave). By the
middle stages, students can spell words with common long-vowel patterns correctly —
same, hope (CVCe); train, peel, coat (CVVC); hay, tea, toe (CVV).
In the latter stages, students begin to focus on the spelling of long vowel patterns in
multi-syllable words.
Derivational pattern stage of spelling
In this stage, orthographic knowledge is focused on how words share common
derivations. Spellers learn that the meaning and spelling of word parts remain
constant across different words. Students begin to examine common prefixes and
suffixes. They study the meaning of root and base words as well as the classical origins
of the derivational morphology.
During this stage of development, students learn how such patterns as vowel and
consonant alternation make the spelling of words predictable.
Syllables
These are units of spoken language that consist of a vowel sound with one or more
consonant sounds preceding or following it. Markers should attend especially to the
spelling at syllable junctions.
Tenor and tone
Although we talk about the tenor of an argument as being its trend or tendency, the
word tenor is also used to refer to the attitude of the writer to the reader. It is close in
meaning to tone, which usually refers narrowly to the degree of formality of an
utterance.
Tense
This is a distinction of form in a verb that locates an action in time relative to the “here
and now” of the speaker. Markers should note the students’ ability to maintain
consistent past or present tense, especially where they use more ambitious sentence
forms. Inappropriately informal writing sometimes drifts into a present tense
associated with oral recounts.
(Personal) Voice
Voice is the personality of the writer coming out on the page. It is a quality that gives
writing its flavour and sense of uniqueness. At its best, voice gives readers the feeling
that an author is communicating directly with them. A strong sense of voice becomes
apparent when a writer writes with honesty and conviction.
This notion is unrelated to grammatical voice, which refers to the active and passive
ways to construct sentences.
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