Assessor's guide to French

18th March 2005 at 00:00
Higher French: Course Notes with CD

by Brian Templeton, Lisa Albarracin and Betty Templeton

Leckie and Leckie


Here is a package which offers Higher French students and teachers an invaluable study aid and a much needed supplement to classroom materials and course books.

It lays out clearly the content of the syllabus and the structure and marking keys of the external exam. Practice is given in examination technique, with examples taken from the most common topics within the prescribed themes of lifestyles, education and work and the wider world.

Written by the principal assessor for Higher French and two practising teachers, it should develop students' confidence and help them to prepare thoroughly for the external examination.

The book is divided into five sections. The introduction explains the syllabus and reminds students of the type of skills needed to tackle the three themes in the Higher course. There is also advice on how to learn vocabulary and on the grammatical structures needed for the course.

The main section deals with the most common examination topics within the three themes. Key vocabulary and structures are revised and there are several listening activities to help pupils recognise and reproduce appropriate words and phrases. A timing game provides a fun way to revise and consolidate vocabulary. There are also opportunities to practise this vocabulary within the context of writing tasks.

Other listening activities provide invaluable preparation for the oral presentation at Higher, as well as improving listening skills. There is practice in translation techniques and tense formation, as well as several reminders about specific grammar points.

Directed writing is also addressed. Students are reminded of the most common bullet points to expect in this part of the exam and how these develop towards the end of the scenario. Vocabulary brain storming exercises are provided and there are sample directed writing activities on the CD. Students are encouraged to listen and write down what they hear for the main bullet points, thus practising listening and writing skills, as well as familiarising themselves with the directed writing format.

The third section of the book deals with preparation for the exam. Students are reminded of the percentage of marks available for each section and are shown the marking keys for each area. Advice is given on exactly what examiners are looking for and how to gain the highest pegged marks. Brian Templeton's experience as principal assessor gives students and teachers an invaluable insight into the marking process.

The book's final revision and grammar glossary sections serve to consolidate and test students' knowledge of the course work. There are also two appendices containing the listening transcripts and answers to exercises.

In the classroom or at home, this publication will help to provide students with a thorough grounding in examination technique and develop their confidence as the exams approach. It will also be a most welcome supplementary resource for teachers.

Carolyn McInnes teaches French at Eastbank Academy, Glasgow

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