Writing tests could do better

19th May 2006 at 01:00
Speaking with key stage 2 colleagues over the past few days, it seems that this year's writing tests are seen as a slight improvement on last year's playscript and favourite-meal offerings. That said, we feel the powers that be might still have missed a trick or two.

The "Tongo Lizard" (shorter task) appears to be an interesting topic at first glance, but the concern is that the prompts - "where it lives", "why Tongo Lizards are endangered", "what it eats" and "what it looks like" - might encourage some pupils to produce a turgid fact sheet. The information sheet offers precious few opportunities to showcase the writing techniques -metaphors, complex sentences, etc - that will set apart our most able writers. (A task of, say, writing the marketing blurb for the zoo's new arrival would surely have offered a lot more scope?) Similarly, the prompts for the diary entries (longer task) could have been more helpful. The higher marks for composition and effect will no doubt be given to scripts that provide direct comparisons of the same events through the eyes of "Tom" and "Sara". This, possibly, should have been made clearer on the planning sheet. The worry here is that some weaker writers will go off at a tangent.

Some improvement, maybe. Generally, though, could do better...

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