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Candidate 4 - "Lost but not forgotten"

 

General Marking Principles for the portfolio

This information is provided to help you understand the general principles you must apply when marking candidate responses to this portfolio. These principles must be read in conjunction with the Detailed Marking Instructions, which identify the key features required in candidate responses.

(a) Marks for each candidate response must always be assigned in line with these General Marking Principles and the Detailed Marking Instructions for this assessment.
(b) Marking should always be positive. This means that, for each candidate response, marks are accumulated for the demonstration of relevant skills, knowledge and understanding: they are not deducted from a maximum on the basis of errors or omissions.
(c) The candidate’s writing will be marked in terms of content and style.
(d) Assessment should be holistic. There will be strengths and weaknesses in every piece of writing; assessment should focus as far as possible on the strengths, taking account of weaknesses only when they significantly detract from the overall performance . Marks should be awarded for the quality of the writing, and not deducted for errors or omissions. Writing does not have to be perfect to gain full marks


Detailed Marking Instructions for the portfolio

Consistent technical accuracy is a requirement for a mark of 8 or above. Consistent technical accuracy means that few errors will be present: paragraphs, sentences and punctuation will be accurate and organised so that the writing can be clearly and readily understood; and spelling errors (particularly of high frequency words) should be infrequent.

Assessors should assess the essay in terms of content and style and arrive at a final mark. The following tables for each genre of writing should be used in helping assessors arrive at a mark. The band descriptors in the tables refer to the middle of each marks band.

For each of the texts, the Marker should select the band containing the descriptors that most closely describe the piece of writing .

Once that best fit has been decided, then:

  • where the evidence almost matches the level above, the highest available mark from that band range should be awarded
  • where the candidate’s work just meets the standard described, the lowest mark from that band range should be awarded

Otherwise the mark from the middle of that band range should be awarded.


Writing which is broadly creative

Range of marks

Marks 15 - 13

Marks 12 - 10

Marks 9 - 7

CONTENT

The creative piece demonstrates, as appropriate to genre:

  • strong attention to purpose and audience
  • strong creative qualities
  • skilful command of the genre
  • thematic concerns which are skilfuly introduced and developed
  • ideas/feelings/ experiences which are explored with a strong degree of mature reflection/self - awareness/ involvement/ insight/sensitivity
  • strong sense of the writer’s personality and individuality
  • clear attention to purpose and audience
  • clear creative qualities
  • clear grasp of the genre
  • thematic concerns which are clearly introduced and developed
  • ideas/feelings/ experiences are explored with a clear sense of reflection/self - awareness/ involvement/ insight/ sensitivity
  • clear sense of the writer’s personality
  • adequate attention to purpose and audience
  • adequate creative qualities
  • understanding of the genre
  • thematic concerns which are introduced
  • ideas/feelings/ experiences which are explored with an adequate sense of reflection and involvement
  • adequate sense of the writer’s personality

STYLE 

The creative piece demonstrates, as appropriate to genre:

  • linguistic features of the chosen genre used skilfully to create a strong impact
  • confident and varied expression
  • effective structure which enhances the purpose/meaning
  • linguistic features of the chosen genre used to create impact
  • clear expression
  • clear structure which enhances the purpose/ meaning
  • linguistic features of the chosen genre used adequately
  • adequate expression
  • adequate structure

Range of marks

Marks 6 - 4

Marks 3 - 1

Marks 0

CONTENT

The creative piece demonstrates, as appropriate to genre:

  • limited attention to purpose and audience
  • limited creative qualities
  • a limited use of conventions of genre
  • limited thematic concerns
  • limited ideas/feelings/ experiences explored
  • limited sense of the writer’s personality
  • very little attention to purpose and audience
  • very few creative qualities
  • very little use of conventions of genre
  • very few thematic concerns
  • very little evidence of exploration of ideas or feelings
  • very little sense of the writer’s personality
  • no evidence of the skills required in terms of content, style and accuracy

STYLE

The creative piece demonstrates, as appropriate to genre:

  • limited use of features of the chosen genre
  • limited expression
  • limited use of structure
  • very little attempt at using language effectively
  • many errors in punctuation/ syntax/spelling
  • very little use of structure

The candidate has chosen to write a short story with the title ‘Lost but not Forgotten’. This piece has clear creative qualities and attention to purpose and audience. The story focuses on the central character of Jock. We initially see him visiting a World War I cemetery in France searching for the name of a long-lost comrade, Albert Monteith. This leads into the central part of the narrative which takes us back to an incident in WWI when Jock was ‘lost in no-man’s land’. As he tries to get back to his own lines Jock encounters Albert, a seriously injured fellow soldier. Although Jock attempts to help him back to safety, he eventually has to abandon him, causing Jock to experience great feelings of remorse and guilt. At this point, the story switches back to Jock’s visit to the war cemetery and his discovery that Albert’s body had been identified and his name placed on the war memorial. This discovery relieves Jock of the burden of guilt which he has carried for so many years.

One of the successful features of this story is the clear structure which enhances its purpose. The candidate chooses an interesting structure whereby the main war story is framed by Jock’s visit to the war graves. This shows the candidate’s ability to manipulate conventional narrative form with some success.

The opening paragraph focuses on Jock’s visit to the war graves in France, something we are told ‘he had long dreaded’. As he walks towards the war memorial, the writer clearly describes the scene and adds impact through the extended use of war imagery. The cracks in the monument are described as ‘poorly healed battle scars’; the fading lettering as ‘continuing their fight together’ against erosion. This is successful use of imagery. However, not all of the writing in this paragraph is quite as fluent. For example, the expression ‘his wandering eyes frequently became entangled and lost among the maze of lettering’ seems less assured. Nonetheless, this is a successful opening paragraph which leads neatly into the central war narrative.

Paragraphs 2 and 3 are set on the battlefield and deal with Jock’s attempts to return to his own lines. The writer is clearly attempting to convey both the horror of war and Jock’s terror. Much of the description is realistic, quite powerful and clearly engages the reader. For example, in describing the failed advance, the candidate writes ‘the air laden with the smell of cordite and the screams of his comrades torn apart by the gunfire and explosions’. The choice of language in paragraph 2 has clear impact in conveying the horrors of war. The candidate is also successful in capturing Jock’s terrified state of mind. He does this through a combination of good use of language: ‘His heart thumped in his chest, his blood raced through his veins’; imaginative use of imagery: ‘he wheezed like an asthmatic child’; and clearly controlled sentence structure: ‘He felt like a coward – too scared to move onward, too scared to fight, too scared to die.’

Jock’s dilemma is then crystallised when he realises the appalling vulnerability of his situation. Again, there is clear control of structure in the candidate’s use of single word sentences: ‘If he took a step forward he could be gone forever. Dead. Forgotten.’

In comparison with other sections of the story, Jock’s encounter with Albert is less well-handled in places. For example, in paragraph 5, Albert’s greeting to Jock: ‘Hello Jock . . .am I glad to see you’ seems slightly incongruous given the gravity of the situation. Similarly, the description in the sentence beginning ‘His thick eyebrows, now obscured in dirt, rose producing large, defined, wrinkles across his filthy forehead. . .’ is less successful.

However, most of the writing in this section as a whole demonstrates the writer’s clear creative qualities and grasp of genre. There is the use of the alliteration in the middle of paragraph 8, to convey the extent of Albert’s suffering: ‘this only served to produce desperate wails and whimpering’. There is a clear attempt in paragraph 9 to vividly convey Jock’s inner fears about Albert’s dire situation: ‘He’d never be found; his body would end up as flesh picked over by the circling crows, eradicated from memory’. And there is the successful use of imagery, in paragraph 10, to convey, in a very graphic manner, the hopelessness of the situation for both men: ‘dragging him behind like a slaughtered animal’s carcass, he made little progress’.

In the penultimate paragraph, the writer brings the WWI section of the story to a successful conclusion by focusing on Jock’s feelings of guilt at being forced to abandon Albert to his fate. There is good use of repetition here to convey Jock’s despair: ‘Albert would be devoured by no-one’s land. No body to remember, no body to grieve, no body to bury’. The candidate also uses imagery to stress the depth of his guilt: ‘the realisation of his betrayal infected his thoughts’ which brings this section neatly to an end and sets up the return to the war cemetery.

In the final paragraph, the story is brought to its resolution as Jock is released from his burden of guilt. The candidate conveys this release through Jock’s recognition and relief that Albert had not died as an unknown soldier. The moment of his release from his guilt is well expressed through the impact of the final two short sentences: ‘Albert had been found. He had been remembered.’

In conclusion, this piece demonstrates clear creative qualities and is placed in band 12-10. By using a framing device to add depth and meaning to the main story, the candidate shows a clear awareness of structure used to enhance purpose and meaning. The writer uses language in an interesting way to capture both Jock’s inner turmoil, and to develop the theme of the destructive horrors of war. The writer shows a clear grasp of the genre, meets the criteria for band 12-10 very fully and is therefore awarded -

12 marks