Thoroughly modern

18th May 2007 at 01:00
Fhiona Fisher, principal teacher of modern languages at Douglas Academy in East Dunbartonshire, detects signs that the Standard grade exam is becoming more modern in its content.

MP3 players, immigration and family relations all featured this year. Past papers, she feels, have tended to be "a bit duller".

Thus, Credit candidates were asked to write about the advantages and disadvantages of being an only child, why immigrants leave their home countries, and keeping your bedroom tidy (surely a teen topic if ever there was one).

She reports, however, that as in past years, and in line with pupils across Scotland, most of her pupils found the Credit listening paper difficult.

The subject was a fairly standard one - on holiday with a French penpal - but it introduced the kind of topics that most candidates could relate to, such as how much freedom your parents give you, and how much pocket money you get.

In some years, the clarity of the listening tapes has been criticised, but that was not an issue this year, says Ms Fisher.

Her quibble centres on an overlap in questions which appeared in the General and Foundation papers. The Foundation paper asked the question (in French): "When are you coming to France and how are you going to travel?", while the General paper asked a very similar question: "Where do you come from in Scotland and when are you arriving in France?"

"If you didn't know the word "quand" (when), you would have struggled, and there is a possibility of being penalised twice," she said.

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