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FAQs for IGCSE English - First Language (0500)

Content:

  • Can candidates use a literary text for 0500/04 assignment 3?
  • Can candidates use the same topic for 0500 Component 5/6 as they used for Component 4?
  • Can I bring notes into the 0500 Speaking and Listening test?
  • Can schools repeat the Speaking and Listening Test (Component 5) for 0500?
  • Can students take dictionaries into the Cambridge IGCSE First Language English (0500) examinations?
  • Can we carry forward an assessed mark that was issue following a malpractice case for 0500/04 Coursework Portfolio?
  • Description of Question 3 of Papers 1 and 2 from the 2015 syllabus onward.
  • Do I need to record all candidates for the speaking & listening?
  • Does Cambridge IGCSE First Language English, syllabus code 0500, count towards UK league tables?
  • How do you mark Cambridge IGCSE First Language English coursework (component 4) portfolios?
  • How long should the tasks for Component 6 be?
  • How should teachers mark an incomplete coursework folder for component 4?
  • How strict is the word count?
  • Is the issue of American/Australian versus British English spelling a problem in Cambridge IGCSE First Language English?
  • Is the Speaking and Listening component compulsory?
  • On Paper 2 Question 2, how are the responses marked?
  • On Paper 2 Question 2, how should candidates write their response?
  • Should teachers note the errors when marking the coursework assignments?
  • What are the set texts of Cambridge IGCSE First Language English?
  • What do I need to submit to Cambridge for moderation for component 5 and 6?
  • What happens if I have not recorded the speaking & listening test, components 5 or 6?
  • What should students cover in IGCSE First Language English, component 4?
  • Will candidates be penalised for speaking over the recommended amount of time for component 5?

Can candidates use a literary text for 0500/04 assignment 3?

It is acceptable for candidates to use a literary text, but we do not normally recommend it. Candidates must be reminded that they should only refer to ideas and opinions. They will not be credited for understanding of literary or linguistic techniques.

Can candidates use the same topic for 0500 Component 5/6 as they used for Component 4?

Whilst it is acceptable that topics for component 04 be used in component 06, we do not advise this as best practice.  Candidates should have access to a broad and rich curriculum and this approach may well be limiting and possibly self-penalising. 

Work completed for component 04 should not be used for component 05. The reason for this is that work completed for component 04 will be under the general guidance of the teacher, but in component 05 support in the preparation of materials (by the teacher) is not allowed. Using component 04 work as part of component 05 could be an example of maladministration of the test.

Can I bring notes into the 0500 Speaking and Listening test?

Candidates may bring one bullet pointed ‘cue card’ (about postcard size, which can be double sided) and/or a limited quantity of illustrative material. This may be in the form of diagrams, statistics or pictures, but not a PowerPoint presentation or slideshow. The aim of this is to remind the candidate of the main points they wish to make. The materials that candidates use must not constitute a script. This would be self-penalising to the candidate and would go against the rules of the assessment.

Can schools repeat the Speaking and Listening Test (Component 5) for 0500?

As Component 5 is a Speaking and Listening test conducted under exam conditions, repeating the assessment is not permitted. One of the reasons for this is that the content of Part 2: Discussion should not be known by the candidate before the test. If it is necessary for a candidate to be assessed for Component 5 for a second time, the candidate must prepare new material for Part 1: Individual Task and Part 2: Discussion must not repeat material from the candidate’s first attempt at the test.

Teachers may advise the candidate on the suitability of a topic, but must not be involved in the preparation of material for the Part 1: Individual Task. It is not ethical or permissible that teachers work with a single candidate and practise an individual test. Part 2: Discussion must be a spontaneous discussion and this is best achieved if it is the first time the teacher has heard Part 1 being delivered in full. Once a test has begun, do not interrupt the recording. On no account should you stop and restart the recording during a test.

Can students take dictionaries into the Cambridge IGCSE First Language English (0500) examinations?

No, dictionaries are not allowed for any paper.

Can we carry forward an assessed mark that was issue following a malpractice case for 0500/04 Coursework Portfolio?

If a centre wishes to make an entry that uses a carry forward of assessed marks, they may do so, if there are no options available for candidates to produce new work.  If there is an option available for candidates to demonstrate their ability (rather than using an assessed mark), but there is not enough time, then the assessed mark can again be carried forward.

If the entry is for June then we will accept the carry forward as there won’t be enough reasonable time for the candidates to complete new work.

Description of Question 3 of Papers 1 and 2 from the 2015 syllabus onward.

From 2015 on Papers 1 and 2, Question 3(a) the summary question is divided into two parts. In part (a) candidates will be assessed for Reading. Candidates will not be given marks for Writing for their response to this part of the question. In their response to part (a) candidates should ensure that they identify content points separately, recording them one point per line. They will be reminded of this in the question, where it will say ‘Write one point per line’. Although the use of own words is not required for the responses to this question, the candidate must ensure that they convey the essence of the point in their response. Indiscriminate lifting from the text, where no clear point has been identified clearly will not be credited. The lines on which they will record their response will be numbered 1-10 on Paper 1 and 1-15 on Paper 2. Candidates should list 15 points only on Paper 2 and 10 points only on Paper 1. Additional points recorded above the 10 for Paper 1 or 15 for Paper 2 will not be credited.

In their response for Question 3 (b) candidates will be assessed for Writing and they will not be given marks for Reading for their response to this part of the question. In the question candidates are asked to include all of their points from part (a) in their response to part (b). When assessing the candidate’s response to 3(b) the Examiner will decide to what extent the candidate’s response is ‘well-focused on the passage and the question’. Candidates must use their own words as far as possible in their response to Question 3 (b).

Do I need to record all candidates for the speaking & listening?

For component 5 (Speaking and Listening test), it is a requirement of the Cambridge IGCSE First Language English course (as detailed in the syllabus in Appendix A) to record all candidates and submit recordings for the sample. 
 
For Component 6 (Speaking and Listening Coursework), both the individual and paired activities should be recorded and submitted to Cambridge for the sample. You do not need to record the group activity.
 
Does Cambridge IGCSE First Language English, syllabus code 0500, count towards UK league tables?
 
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English, syllabus code 0500, is not an Ofqual accredited syllabus.
 
How do you mark Cambridge IGCSE First Language English coursework (component 4) portfolios?

Firstly, you mark each assignment as they are completed. Then, when you are preparing portfolios at the end of the course you reconsider the three assignments as a whole and give a mark out of 40. This must not be an arithmetical calculation of marks, but a judgement based on all available evidence from the portfolio. A further mark out of 10 is awarded to the third assignment and this is a judgement on the quality of reading demonstrated by the candidate.

How long should the tasks for Component 6 be?

We do not stipulate the length of time the tasks should be, but approximately a minimum of 3 to 4 minutes per task is a suitable length to allow candidates to demonstrate their skills. Each task should not exceed 7-10 minutes.

A recommendation would be:

Task 1 (individual) – 3-4 minutes

Task 2 (paired) – 6-7 minutes

Task 3 (group) – 9-10 minutes

How should teachers mark an incomplete coursework folder for component 4?

Teachers should mark the coursework folder as normal and then deduct one third. If the third assignment is there then they should give the reading mark as normal; if not, they should award 0 for reading. This is detailed on page 7 of the Coursework Training Handbook.

How strict is the word count?

In component 4, we do not apply a mark penalty for writing that is above the word count. However, it may be self-penalising for the candidate to write much more than is suggested. The candidate should aim for a clear structure and concision in their expression. If they exceed the word count significantly, this may be an indication that they have not structured their writing effectively or expressed themselves as clearly as they might.

In components 1 and 2, questions 1 and 2 and in component 3, a response length is provided for guidance. Candidates will not be penalised for writing more or less than this for these questions, although it may be self-penalising if the response does not have sufficient coverage for example.

For components 1 and 2 question 3(b) a response length is described in the question and candidates should adhere to this as concision is one of the skills being assessed. Reference to the length of candidates’ responses is included in the marking criteria for 3(b).

Is the issue of American/Australian versus British English spelling a problem in Cambridge IGCSE First Language English?

Examiners are used to receiving answers in both British English and American/Australian English. What is important is that candidates aim at consistency. In extended writing, for example, candidates should not be using different spellings for the same word (e.g. using ‘flavor’ and ‘flavour’ in the same piece).

Is the Speaking and Listening component compulsory?

The Speaking and Listening component for syllabus 0500 is optional and is separately endorsed on a scale of 1 (High) to 5 (Low). It is separately certificated from the main grade which is awarded on the standard Cambridge IGCSE grade scale of A* to U.

On Paper 2 Question 2, how are the responses marked?

Examiners will be using the banded mark grid on page 7 of the specimen Mark Scheme, together with the list of appropriate selections (given on page 6 of the specimen Mark Scheme for the specimen Question Paper). As was the case before the 2015 syllabus revision, the selections that are credit-worthy are defined in the Mark Scheme and choices that are not defined on the final Mark Scheme will not be given credit. Candidates are asked to select four powerful words or phrases from each paragraph and at each level of the Mark Scheme, reference is made to the nature of the candidate’s selection and how they respond to these words and phrases.

On Paper 2 Question 2, how should candidates write their response?

Candidates should respond to Paper 2 Question 2 in continuous prose, as this encourages them to explore the language choices they have selected in greater detail. As has been stated in previous Principal Examiners’ Reports for Teachers, responses in a grid or table format are often less able to explore language choices effectively.

Should teachers note the errors when marking the coursework assignments?

Only marking the positives, for example noting only the good things that candidates had done through their work, is not appropriate as it does not form a balanced and critical view of the work. Marking should note both success and error, so that a final balanced judgement can be made.

There should not be any marking of drafts, as improvement is the responsibility of the candidate. A teacher may offer general summative advice (eg. You need to check your spelling accuracy), but they must not indicate or correct an errors on the draft. Neither should these errors be verbally communicated to the candidate.

What are the set texts of Cambridge IGCSE First Language English?

There are no set texts for this syllabus. Cambridge IGCSE First Language English has no questions on set texts. (This need not preclude using literary material as stimulus for coursework, or in classroom preparation for the reading paper. Candidates benefit from exposure to a variety of types of writing, and literary texts have a part to play in First Language English.)

What do I need to submit to Cambridge for moderation for component 5 and 6?

The Speaking and Listening Test (component 05)

Component 5 is split into two parts.  The test, which must be recorded for all candidates, will take place during a period before the main examination series.

For Part 1 candidates have to prepare an individual task in advance of the test (for example, a presentation, a talk, a speech, a monologue) on a topic of their own choice. This will last 3-4 minutes and is worth 10 marks. 

In Part 2 candidates participate in a wider discussion with the teacher/examiner about the candidates chosen topic or theme.  This will last 6-7 minutes and is worth 20 marks. 

Dictionaries may be used to prepare, but not during the test. You need to send us each candidate's final mark, or the internally moderated mark, where more than one teacher/examiner is used, by the dates published on the Cambridge Samples Database.

In a separate despatch, you need to send us a copy of the final or internally moderated marks.

The Speaking and Listening Coursework (component 06)

For Component 6 candidates are assessed on their performance in three speaking and listening tasks:

- an individual activity
- a pair-based activity
- a group activity.

The individual and paired activities need to be recorded for all candidates. You do not need to record the group activity. The recordings of the individual and paired activities should be submitted to Cambridge.

Submission of samples to Cambridge

You need to send us each candidate's final mark, or the internally moderated mark, where more than one teacher/examiner is used, by the dates published on the Cambridge Samples Database.

You also need to submit:

- a copy of the final or internally moderated marks
- the completed Individual Candidate Record Card for all candidate (form available in the syllabus)
- the Coursework Assessment Summary Form for every candidate entered (form available in the syllabus)
- the recordings for all candidates, preferably recorded digitally and submitted as separate audio files on a CD.  For Component 06, the recordings of the individual and paired activities should be submitted to Cambridge.

What happens if I have not recorded the speaking & listening test, components 5 or 6?

If a Centre has not recorded any of their candidates for component 5 or component 6 then they are not meeting the requirements of the syllabus and we will be unable to moderate their marks. We can therefore not accept the marks submitted by the Centre.

In some circumstances, assessed grades may be produced for this component, based on the candidates' performance in other parts of the syllabus. If the Centre have made some recordings, they should submit the recordings they have made to Cambridge, with a covering letter explaining the circumstances surrounding this sample.

What should students cover in IGCSE First Language English, component 4?

Assignment 1 = The assignment can be anything that is non-narrative. It is purely a writing exercise. No credit will be given for the student’s use and understanding of any reading material.

Assignment 2= The types of writing covered in this task are explore, imagine and entertain. It is important that the candidates write in a way that is immediately distinguishable from Assignment 1.

Assignment 3 = Schools should choose a piece with strong views (topical news/newspaper article/Jeremy Clarkson book etc.) for students to be able to review/discuss/argue with. Students need to comment upon, and evaluate, the ideas and opinions presented to them. They should offer their personal view, but this must not become a rant and distract from the focus on the ideas within the article.

Please refer to the Coursework Training Handbook for more information on component 4, written coursework. This will support you fully in your setting and marking of the tasks.

Will candidates be penalised for speaking over the recommended amount of time for component 5?

Although there is no penalty applied for a candidate speaking for longer than the timings stated in the syllabus, this may be self-penalising, as the candidate may not be able to sustain their performance if their response exceeds the timings, especially if this is by a significant amount.

 

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