Study Guide

Field 023: French
Written Performance

Sample Directions for Written Performance

This section of the test consists of two written assignments. For each assignment, you are to prepare a written response in the target language on the assigned topic. You should use your time to plan, write, review, and edit your responses to the assignments.

You may use the erasable notebooklet to make notes, write an outline, or otherwise prepare your responses. However, your final responses to the assignments must be written on the response sheets and scanned using the scanner provided.

Please note that special characters (such as letters with accents or other diacritical marks) cannot be entered using the keyboard but are available for insertion in the on-screen response box. To access these characters, click on the ash symbol button that appears in the upper left corner of the screen. Using the mouse, click on the character you wish to include in your response and then select "Insert." The character will be inserted where the cursor is positioned in the response box.

A list of suggestions is provided to help direct your responses for the assignments. It is not necessary that you cover every point on the list, nor are you limited in your responses to those points indicated. You are, however, required to write about the general assignments that you are given, and part of your score will be based on the degree to which you elaborate on the assignments by addressing either the suggested points or points of your choosing. Note that an assignment may require you to use certain time frames.

Your responses will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria.

Your responses must be written in in the target language. Be sure to write about the assigned topics. You may not use any reference materials during the test. Your responses should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work. Remember to review your work and make changes you think will improve your responses.

Select the Next button to continue.

Sample Written Performance Assignment A

Imagine that you are applying to be an exchange teacher in a French-speaking country. As part of your application, you need to write a brief essay in French about an experience you had in which you found it beneficial to speak a language other than your first language. In your response, you may wish to include, but are not limited to, the following:

This assignment must be written in French using past tenses.

Sample Response for Written Performance Assignment A

On le sait déjà, les États-Unis ne sont pas un pays francophone. Bien qu'on puisse parfois entendre le français dans les grandes villes cosmopolites, c'est loin d'être le cas dans certaines régions de l'Amérique profonde. Aussi on peut s'imaginer ma surprise, un jour que je faisais des achats dans une petite épicerie de l'Ohio, quand j'entendis le propriétaire demander à haute voix, « does anyone here speak French? ». Bien sûr je lui ai tout de suite offert mes services. Il m'a alors présenté à un jeune homme qui parlait à peine l'anglais et qui avait une longue liste de courses à faire. Celui-ci me raconta qu'il venait d'arriver dans la ville avec deux copains et qu'ils avaient décidé comme ça, à l'improviste, d'ouvrir un petit restaurant français. Le jeune homme s'est montré reconnaissant de l'aide que je lui rendais en traduisant sa liste pour le propriétaire qui ne comprenait pas certains mots comme « anchois » ou « confitures » par exemple. Je lui ai dit que c'était tout naturel et que j'étais très ravi de faire sa connaissance. D'ailleurs, j'avoue que j'étais très content de pouvoir bavarder en français et surtout très curieux d'apprendre les détails de son aventure commerciale dans notre ville .

Sample Written Performance Assignment B

Imagine that a friend of yours from a French-speaking country is deciding whether or not to take a year off from work or school to travel. Your friend sends you a letter asking you for your advice. Writing in French, respond to your friend. In your response, you may wish to include, but are not limited to, the following:

This assignment must be written in French.

Sample Response for Written Performance Assignment B

Mon cher Gabriel,

J'ai bien reçu ta lettre il y a quelques jours et j'ai pris le temps de réfléchir un peu à ton projet, ton grand rêve devrais-je dire. Alors voici maintenant ce que je pense. D'abord, tu me connais, je m'inquiète un peu car tu ne m'as pas dit comment tu comptes financer cette année sabbatique. La société qui t'emploie actuellement pourra-t-elle couvrir une partie de tes frais ? Autrement, voyager coûte tellement cher de nos jours, je ne sais pas comment tu y arriveras. Et as-tu pensé aux imprévus ? Car il y en aura, ça tu peux en être certain. De surcroît, il va de soi qu'un prêt bancaire n'est jamais souhaitable pour bien des raisons mais surtout pour ce que mon grand-père disait tout le temps, (est-ce que tu te souviens ?) : « attention aux prêts, c'est le raccourci qui rallonge ! »

Enfin, je ne t'écris pas pour faire le rabat-joie. Il existe bien des façons de financer ce genre de voyage. Je suis certaine que tu trouveras quelque chose si tu y tiens vraiment. Et si tu as déjà tout prévu à ce niveau, alors il ne te reste plus qu'à planifier ton itinéraire. À ce sujet, je sais que tu aimes l'aventure mais je te demande de tout mon coeur d'éviter les zones dangereuses. Voilà, j'ai tout dit. Écris-moi vite pour me dire quelle sera ta décision. Bisous,

Hélène

Performance Characteristics for the Written Performance Assignments

Development fullness of development
Communication effectiveness of communication, including sociocultural appropriateness
Coherence coherence and flow of language
Vocabulary command of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions
Syntax and Grammar command of syntax and grammatical structures
Mechanics command of spelling, diacritical marks, and punctuation

Score Scale for the Written Performance Assignments

The four points of the score scale correspond to varying degrees of performance. The following statements describe typical responses at each score point.

Score Point Score Point Description
4 The "4" response gives evidence of strong skills of written expression.
  • The candidate fully addresses the assigned topic, through narratives, descriptions, and arguments. The candidate develops the topic by extensive elaboration of specific points written in a series of paragraphs.
  • The message is effectively communicated in a socioculturally appropriate manner that demonstrates a strong awareness of writing for a variety of specific audiences.
  • The candidate's ideas are clearly presented and well organized; the flow of language is smooth, transitions are effective, and cohesive devices are controlled.
  • The vocabulary used reflects a precise, varied, and broad command of the language and use of appropriate idiomatic expressions.
  • There is control of grammar with only minor syntax errors that do not interrupt communication. The candidate exhibits command of verb forms and all time frames, and uses a variety of well-constructed sentences, demonstrating command of subordination.
  • Spelling, diacritical marks, and punctuation are mastered, although not perfect.
3 The "3" response gives evidence of satisfactory skills of written expression.
  • The candidate adequately addresses the assigned topic, through simple summaries and factual narratives and descriptions. The candidate develops the topic by some elaboration of specific points in texts of paragraph length and structure.
  • The message is generally effective although command of sociocultural aspects of the language may be uneven. Writing shows a satisfactory sense of audience.
  • The candidate generally communicates clearly; awkwardness in organization or flow of language does not impede communication. The candidate is generally able to combine and link sentences and to incorporate some cohesive devices.
  • Vocabulary and idiomatic expressions are generally effective.
  • There is sustained control of simple linguistic constructions and grammar but uneven command of more complex constructions, including subordination; the candidate exhibits satisfactory control of verb forms and can narrate and describe in different time frames.
  • The writer may make some errors in spelling, diacritical marks, and punctuation.
2 The "2" response gives evidence of limited skill in written expression.
  • The candidate addresses the assigned topic in a limited way through simple summaries, descriptions, and narrations of paragraph length. The candidate provides minimal elaboration.
  • The message is somewhat effective and may reveal some sociocultural inappropriateness. Writing shows some sense of audience.
  • The candidate's ideas may be unclear; the flow of language may be intermittently uneven. The candidate has some ability to connect sentences into paragraphs and uses a limited number of repetitive cohesive devices.
  • Vocabulary and idiomatic expressions are somewhat effective, but may be simple and repetitive.
  • Grammatical presentation is flawed, even though information may be advanced; the candidate exhibits some control over simple and complex linguistic constructions, including subordination. There is evidence of lack of control of verb forms; the candidate uses different time frames, but inaccurately and inconsistently.
  • While showing some control of mechanics, the candidate regularly makes errors in spelling, diacritical marks, and punctuation.
1 The "1" response gives evidence of a lack of skill in written expression.
  • The candidate ineffectively addresses the assigned topic, using only statements, questions, short messages, and notes. The candidate provides virtually no elaboration or text of paragraph length and structure.
  • The message fails to communicate effectively and demonstrates little or no sociocultural appropriateness. The writing shows little or no sense of audience.
  • The candidate's ideas are confused and lack organization; flow of language is consistently uneven; the candidate is largely unable to combine and link sentences or to incorporate cohesive devices.
  • Command of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions is inadequate.
  • Errors in grammar, syntax, and verb formation are numerous and impede communication. The candidate shows little control of simple linguistic structures, no control of more complex structures, and is unable to narrate or describe in basic time frames.
  • Mistakes in spelling, diacritical marks, and punctuation are so numerous and serious that little communication is possible.
U The response is "unscorable" because it is not on the given topic, illegible, not in the appropriate language, or too short to score.
B There is no response to the assignment.