Writing in a real context;Letter

8th October 1999 at 01:00
BILL COOPER (Letters, TESS, October 1) expresses some concerns about the Scottish Qualification Authority's approach to assessing Standard grade candidates in writing in a foreign language.

He is, of course, absolutely right to argue that pupils' attainment in writing in a foreign language needs to improve substantially. This is precisely why the current review - in consultation with teachers - will propose that the writing element should be a compulsory part of the exam, rather than optional, which it is at present. The review will also make clear the crucial link between learning a language and knowing about that language, in other words the grammar of the language.

The change to the writing task, to which Mr Cooper refers, is a temporary one, designed to provide a realistic context for pupils' writing, pending the wider changes proposed in the consultation paper.

Ron Tuck, Chief executive, Scottish Qualifications Authority

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