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Assessing Writing Performance Level C2

Assessment of Writing in the Cambridge English: Proficiency (Certificate of Proficiency in


English CPE)
Cambridge English writing scripts are marked by trained examiners in a secure online marking
environment. The quality assurance of Writing Examiners (WEs) is managed by Team Leaders (TLs) who
are in turn responsible to a Principal Examiner (PE). All of the examiners (PEs, TLs and WEs) must
prove each year, through a certification process, that they are competent to assess. In addition, they are
regularly monitored during live testing sessions.
The Writing Examiners award marks using a Writing Assessment Scale which was developed with explicit
reference to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It covers all the
levels of the Cambridge English exams and is divided into four subscales:
Content
o This focuses on how well the candidate has fulfilled the task, in other words, if they have
done what they were asked to do.
Communicative Achievement
o This focuses on how appropriate the writing is for the task, and whether the candidate has
used the appropriate register.
Organisation
o This focuses on the way the candidate puts together the piece of writing, in other words, if
it is logical and ordered.
Language
o This focuses on vocabulary and grammar. It includes the range of language as well as how
accurate it is.
Examiners use the C2 Level Assessment Scales to decide which marks to give candidates taking the
Proficiency Writing test.

How can I use the Assessment Scales?


Using the scales yourself while marking students writing will help you to:
analyse your students strengths and weaknesses when they practise C2 writing tasks
guide your students in how to enhance their performance
form an impression of how ready your students are to take the writing part of the exam.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
See our Terms of Use at http://www.teachers.cambridgeenglish.org/legalinfo
1

The Assessment Scales


The C2 Assessment Scales are divided into six bands from 0 to 5, with 0 being the lowest and 5 the
highest. Descriptors for each criterion are provided for bands 1, 3 and 5 and indicate what a candidate is
expected to demonstrate at each band. The descriptors for band 3 and above indicate performance of at
least C2 level.
C2

Content

Communicative
Achievement

Organisation

Language

All content is relevant to the


task.

Demonstrates complete
command of the conventions of
the communicative task.

Text is organised impressively


and coherently using a wide
range of cohesive devices and
organisational patterns with
complete flexibility.

Uses a wide range of


vocabulary, including less
common lexis, with fluency,
precision, sophistication and
style.

Target reader is fully informed.


Communicates complex ideas in
an effective and convincing way,
holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes.

Use of grammar is
sophisticated, fully controlled
and completely natural.
Any inaccuracies occur only as
slips.

Performance shares features of Bands 3 and 5.

Minor irrelevances and/or


omissions may be present.
Target reader is on the whole
informed.

Uses the conventions of the


communicative task with
sufficient flexibility to
communicate complex ideas in
an effective way, holding the
target readers attention with
ease, fulfilling all communicative
purposes.

Text is a well-organised,
coherent whole, using a
variety of cohesive devices
and organisational patterns
with flexibility.

Uses a range of vocabulary,


including less common lexis,
effectively and precisely.
Uses a wide range of simple
and complex grammatical
forms with full control, flexibility
and sophistication.
Errors, if present, are related to
less common words and
structures, or occur as slips.

Performance shares features of Bands 1 and 3.

Irrelevances and
misinterpretation of task may
be present.
Target reader is minimally
informed.

Uses the conventions of the


communicative task effectively
to hold the target readers
attention and communicate
straightforward and complex
ideas, as appropriate.

Text is well-organised and


coherent, using a variety of
cohesive devices and
organisational patterns to
generally good effect.

Uses a range of vocabulary,


including less common lexis,
appropriately.
Uses a range of simple and
complex grammatical forms
with control and flexibility.
Occasional errors may be
present but do not impede
communication.

Content is totally irrelevant.

Performance below Band 1.

Target reader is not informed.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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Remember:
The Assessment Scales descriptors are phrased positively (as can-do statements) at each level. This
means that a Band 1 descriptor in the C2 scales will not set out what the text does not do; rather it
describes a performance in terms of what a candidate can do at CEFR C1 level.
For example, under the Language subscale, the descriptor at Band 1 (C1 level) for grammar Uses a
range of simple and complex grammatical forms with control and flexibility is couched in similar
language to the Band 3 descriptor (C2 level), but with key differences - Uses a wide range of simple and
complex grammatical forms with full control, flexibility and sophistication. So at C2 level, a wide range of
simple and complex forms is expected, used with full control and flexibility and with sophistication. At
Band 5 (above basic C2 level), a writers Use of grammar is sophisticated, fully controlled and completely
natural.
Similarly, under the Organisation subscale, a key difference between the Band 1 (C1 level) and Band 3
(C2 level) descriptors is that whereas at Band 1 Text is well-organised and coherent, using a variety of
cohesive devices and organisational patterns to generally good effect, at Band 3 Text is a wellorganised, coherent whole, using a variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with
flexibility. The successful weaving of the devices and organisational patterns into a coherent whole text
is important here, and the use of the devices and patterns must be flexible. At Band 5 (above basic C2
level) Text is organised impressively and coherently using a wide range of cohesive devices and
organisational patterns with complete flexibility.
Dont worry if a lot of the terms used in the scales are new to you in Appendix A (and also in the
Handbook for Teachers for Cambridge English Proficiency) you will find a Glossary of Terms for Writing,
where the terminology used in the scales is explained, and examples are given. For instance, under the
Language subscale, there are examples of simple and complex grammatical forms and an explanation
of what is meant by grammatical control and range. Flexibility is explained under the General terms
section. The Language subscale also includes vocabulary, and the idea of less common lexis is
explained, as well as the concept of appropriacy of vocabulary. Under the Organisation subscale, there
are examples of cohesive devices, as well as an explanation of what is meant by organisational
patterns (expected in a candidates writing at all bands at this level). The adverb generally is also
explained under the General terms section: it is a qualifier meaning not in every way or instance. Looking
at how these terms and distinctions are applied to the sample scripts in this guide (and those in the
Handbook for Teachers for Cambridge English Proficiency) will help you to develop a sensitivity to the
language of the Assessment Scales and to encourage your students to improve their writing performance.
It is well worth spending some time looking through the glossary of terms and becoming familiar with the
terms used, as well as referring to them constantly when marking your students work, as the Cambridge
English examiners do.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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How can I use the Assessment Scales with students?


You could:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Refer to the scales as you mark students written work in general, especially when they have
attempted a Proficiency writing task.
Note down examples of performance in terms of the listed criteria.
Give students feedback on their strengths and weaknesses.
Think about whether your students are ready for the exam and how they could improve.

Teachers are not trained in the use of these Assessment Scales, as examiners are, so it can be difficult to
feel confident in using them in the right way. The following activity is designed to help you get started by
practising using them to analyse some sample writing tasks.
The activity is based on some sample scripts from Proficiency writing tasks (see tasks in Appendix B and
scripts in Appendix D):

Proficiency Part 1:

Sample script 1
Sample script 2
Sample script 3

Proficiency Part 2:
Sample script 4
Sample script 5
Sample script 6
Further information on the task types and their focus can be found in the Handbook for Teachers for
Cambridge English Proficiency. All C2 writing tasks are assessed by examiners in relation to the
Assessment Scales. It is important, however, to be clear about the differences between a Proficiency
Part 1 (compulsory) task and a Proficiency Part 2 task:
Part 1 tasks require candidates to integrate the summary and evaluation of key points from two input
texts, with their own ideas on these key points, into a coherent essay. To perform well on these tasks,
candidates are expected to demonstrate the C2 learner ability referred to in the CEFR, to summarise
information from different sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation of
the overall results. Under the Content subscale, for a reader to be fully informed (Band 5, above basic
C2 level) the text must include the summary and evaluation of each of the four key points from the input
texts and the writers own ideas on these key points (as indicated in the task rubric). In Part 1 (as well as
in Part 2) candidates must demonstrate the ability to write a fluent and coherent text exemplifying the
conventions of the appropriate text type in Part 1 always an essay. Under the Communicative
Achievement subscale, the text must use the conventions of an essay.
In Part 2 candidates have a choice of task (including one of two questions on optional set texts). Each
task requires a different text type, one of: article, essay (for set text questions only), letter, report or review
(see the Handbook for Teachers for Cambridge English Proficiency for a description of the characteristics
of these text types). For a Part 2 task under the Content subscale, the examiner will be looking to see
that the candidate has responded appropriately to all the parts of a question, importantly including the
requirement to use functional language giving them the opportunity to demonstrate C2 level proficiency
(e.g. assess, evaluate, justify); under the Communicative Achievement subscale, the text must use the
conventions of the relevant text type (article, letter, report or review).
UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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NB The sample Part 2 scripts in this guide are all reviews; no set text scripts are included.

Activity
Part 1 scripts
1. Make three copies of the blank assessment sheet on pages 7-8. You will see that statements from
Band 5 of the Assessment Scales have been turned into questions.
2. Read the Proficiency Writing Part 1 task (see Appendix B).
3. Underline what you regard as the two key points (from each input text) to be identified,
summarised and evaluated by the candidates.
4. Look at the underlined key points in the Part 1 task in Appendix C to check that you have correctly
identified the required points.
5. Read Sample Script 1. Note examples from the candidates writing (good and less good) relevant
to each of the questions in the boxes on the assessment sheet (for Language you may want to
write down specific examples; for Organisation and Communicative Achievement it may be easier
to highlight the script). Write down your assessment using the language of the assessment scales
(modified as you think appropriate you may want to omit certain words or include wording from
different bands) and add any comments for your own reference. Make sure that while you are
doing this you constantly refer to the C2 Assessment Scales and Glossary of Terms.
6. Compare the notes you have made with the completed example on page 9-10.
7. Repeat stages 5-6 for each of Sample Scripts 2 and 3. Completed example assessment sheets for
these scripts can be found on pages 11-12 and 13-14.
Part 2 scripts
1.
2.
3.

4.
5.

Make three copies of the blank assessment sheet on pages 7-8. You will see that statements
from Band 5 of the Assessment Scales have been turned into questions.
Read the Proficiency Writing Part 2 task (see Appendix B). Make sure you note all parts of the
question.
Note examples from the candidates writing (good and less good) relevant to each of the
questions in the boxes on the assessment sheet (for Language you may want to write down
specific examples; for Organisation and Communicative Achievement it may be easier to highlight
the script). Write down your assessment using the language of the assessment scales (modified
as you think appropriate you may want to omit certain words or include wording from different
bands) and add any comments for your own reference. Make sure that while you are doing this
you constantly refer to the C2 Assessment Scales and Glossary of Terms.
Compare the notes you have made with the completed example on page 15-17.
Repeat stages 5-6 for each of Sample Scripts 5 and 6. Completed example assessment sheets
for these scripts can be found on pages 18-19 and 20-21.

When you feel familiar with using the Assessment Scales, continue to use the blank assessment
sheet when assessing your own students writing and use them to give feedback on aspects of the
scales they need to work on to improve their performance.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
See our Terms of Use at http://www.teachers.cambridgeenglish.org/legalinfo
5

Remember:

In a real C2 level exam the marks awarded reflect a candidates performance across the whole
exam and not just in one part of it.

Being able to refer to the Assessment Scales will help you to analyse your students strengths and
weaknesses and to estimate whether they are ready for the writing part of the Proficiency exam.
However, it wont necessarily give you an accurate prediction of the marks that your students will
achieve in a real Proficiency Writing paper, as the candidate may be affected by other factors such
as nervousness.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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Blank assessment sheets to copy


Photocopy this page and the next one.
PROFICIENCY (LEVEL C2) WRITING
Name of student:
CONTENT
Is all content relevant to the task?

Comments

Is the target reader fully informed?

Comments

Content mark:
COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Does the writer demonstrate complete
command of the conventions of the
communicative task?

Does the writer communicate complex


ideas in an effective and convincing
way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes?

Comments

Comments

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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Communicative achievement mark:


ORGANISATION
Is the text organised impressively and
coherently?

Comments

Does the writer use a wide range of


cohesive devices and organisational
patterns with flexibility?

Comments

Organisation mark:
LANGUAGE
Does the writer use a wide range of
vocabulary, including less common
lexis, with fluency, precision,
sophistication and style?

Comments

Is the writers use of grammar


sophisticated, fully controlled and
completely natural?

Comments

Do any inaccuracies occur only as


slips?

Comments

Language mark:
Overall comments:

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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PROFICIENCY (LEVEL C2) WRITING


Name of student: Sample Script 1
CONTENT
Is all content relevant to the task?
Yes

Comments

Is the target reader fully informed?

Comments

The target reader is on the whole


informed.

Content points 1 and 2 are identified and


evaluated and the writers views are
expressed. Content point 2 is very well
developed.
Content points 3 and 4 are mentioned
briefly in the first paragraph but there is
no evaluation.

Content mark: 3
COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Does the writer demonstrate complete
command of the conventions of the
communicative task?
Uses the conventions of the essay with
flexibility.

Does the writer communicate complex


ideas in an effective and convincing
way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes?
Communicates complex ideas in an
effective way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes.

Comments
Although the essay form is well realised,
the text does not show complete
command of the conventions of the
essay.
Comments

See particularly the final two paragraphs


for effective communication.
Falls short of meriting the adjective
convincing.

Communicative achievement mark: 3


ORGANISATION
Is the text organised impressively and
coherently?
Text is a well-organised, coherent whole.
Does the writer use a wide range of
cohesive devices and organisational
patterns with flexibility?

Comments
Falls short of meriting the adverb
impressively.
Comments
Examples of the variety of cohesive

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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A variety of cohesive devices and


organisational patterns are used with
flexibility.

devices and organisational patterns: Not


only but also, hence, Yet, in spite of,
Even though, Therefore, Let us hope,
then that first sentence refers to but
doesnt mention memory.
The range is not wide, particularly of
less explicit organisational patterns.

Organisation mark: 3
LANGUAGE
Does the writer use a wide range of
vocabulary, including less common
lexis, with fluency, precision,
sophistication and style?
Uses a range of vocabulary, including
less common lexis, effectively and
precisely.
Is the writers use of grammar
sophisticated, fully controlled and
completely natural?
Uses a wide range of simple and
complex grammatical forms with full
control, flexibility and sophistication.

Comments
Examples: enthralling, hypothetical,
dramatic changes, at their core, on a
global scale, scourge
Vocabulary is not used with
sophistication and style (obvious perks).
Comments
Examples: No student struggling with
some especially intricate exam would
ever deny it, as flawed as it might be
Use of grammar is not completely
natural (Not only has itbut also is it...).

Do any inaccuracies occur only as


slips?

Comments

Errors are related to less common words


or structures.

Examples: self-consciousness, but it is of


the utmost importance

Language mark: 3
Overall comments:
An example of a basic C2 level writer overall, achieving a band 3 on all descriptors.
Candidates should be reminded that it is important to address all four key points in
the development of their essay to achieve a 5 under Content.

Remember:

A candidate might achieve an overall C2 performance with an uneven profile


across the four descriptors, showing more strength in some scales and less in
others. To ensure a good performance candidates should be encouraged to
work at all four aspects of their writing.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
See our Terms of Use at http://www.teachers.cambridgeenglish.org/legalinfo
10

PROFICIENCY (LEVEL C2) WRITING


Name of student: Sample Script 2
CONTENT
Is all content relevant to the task?
Yes

Comments

Is the target reader fully informed?

Comments

Target reader is on the whole informed.

Although all content points are


mentioned, the first and the third are not
evaluated.

Content mark: 3
COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Does the writer demonstrate complete
command of the conventions of the
communicative task?
Uses the conventions of the essay
effectively and with some flexibility.
Does the writer communicate complex
ideas in an effective and convincing
way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes?
Holds the target readers attention and
communicates both straightforward and
some slightly more complex ideas.

Comments
The text uses just some flexibility so
does not quite meet the band 3
descriptor in this respect.
Comments

There are few examples of really


complex ideas so the appropriate
communication of these is hard to
assess.

Communicative achievement mark: 2


ORGANISATION
Is the text organised impressively and
coherently?
The text is well-organised and coherent.
Does the writer use a wide range of
cohesive devices and organisational
patterns with flexibility?
Uses a variety of cohesive devices and
organisational patterns to good effect,
and with some flexibility.

Comments
The conclusion refers to only one of the
four key points and seems slightly out of
place in the text as a whole.
Comments
Examples: all these aforementioned,
along these lines, due to, In contrast to
that however, In conclusion I would say
that.

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Organisation mark: 2
LANGUAGE
Does the writer use a wide range of
vocabulary, including less common
lexis, with fluency, precision,
sophistication and style?
Uses a range of vocabulary appropriately
and sometimes effectively and precisely.
Is the writers use of grammar
sophisticated, fully controlled and
completely natural?
Uses a range of simple and complex
grammatical forms with control and
flexibility.
Do any inaccuracies occur only as
slips?
Occasional errors are present but do not
impede communication.

Comments

Examples: ubiquitous, hindrance,


mundane, clutter our minds
Comments
The range is not wide and there is no
sophistication in the way the grammar is
used.
Comments
Examples: the questionbecomes
louder and louder, correlate on, the
experiences weve made

Language mark: 2
Overall comments:
This text falls below C2 level and the descriptors used above indicate that for all the
scales apart from Content the text shares features of Bands 1 and 3.
This text makes specific reference to the two input texts. This approach to
organisation is perfectly acceptable but candidates should be reminded that the aim
is to integrate reference to the key points into a fluent and coherent essay.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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PROFICIENCY (LEVEL C2) WRITING


Name of student: Sample Script 3
CONTENT
Is all content relevant to the task?
Yes

Comments

Is the target reader fully informed?

Comments

Yes

All key points are summarised and


evaluated, and the writers views are
integrated into the essay.

Content mark: 5
COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Does the writer demonstrate complete
command of the conventions of the
communicative task?
Yes
Does the writer communicate complex
ideas in an effective and convincing
way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes?
Yes

Comments
Opening paragraph, development and
conclusion all elegantly crafted, in an
appropriately formal way.
Comments
There is a clear authorial voice
throughout commanding attention
(Memory is a fundamental aspect of..., Is
such memory loss, however, Suffice it to
say, I do not remember, To
conclude); example of complex ideas:
second paragraph from Is such a
memory loss up to caused a traffic
accident?

Communicative achievement mark: 5


ORGANISATION
Is the text organised impressively and
coherently?
Yes

Comments
Key points 1 and 4 are clearly identified
in the first paragraph and strongly
supported. The second paragraph
questions the points made and brings in
key point 3, developing it extensively and
drawing in key point 2 with natural ease
and relevance to the argument. The
conclusion, whilst showing signs of
haste, is clear and relevant.

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Does the writer use a wide range of


cohesive devices and organisational
patterns with flexibility?
Yes

Comments
Examples: however, What is more, by its
very nature, How could we judge other
people when,
Rhetorical questions (e.g. opening of
second paragraph), repeated ideas to
consolidate a point (e.g. first sentence),
personal interjection for
clarification/emphasis (Suffice it to say, I
do not remember).

Organisation mark: 5
LANGUAGE
Does the writer use a wide range of
vocabulary, including less common
lexis, with fluency, precision,
sophistication and style?
Yes
Is the writers use of grammar
sophisticated, fully controlled and
completely natural?
Yes
Do any inaccuracies occur only as
slips?
Yes, mainly

Comments
Examples: attest, our internal landscape,
virtually incapable of functioning, truly
detrimental, less extensive, easily
distorted, unsteady basis, quest for truth,
concept of witness, ingenious devices
Comments
Longer and more complex forms, e.g.
inversion, modals, subordination, adverb
clauses
Comments
Examples: come to aid, The people no
longer pore over,
In more complex structures (Only when
we lose it, begin we to appreciate it)

Language mark: 5
Overall comments:
This text is a very strong C2 level performance. There is no higher level described in
the CEFR so (unlike at other levels) this Band 5 performance across the scales does
not place the performance at the next CEFR level up.

Remember:

The guidance about word length in the rubric (for Part 1 and Part 2 questions)
is just that: guidance. Whilst it is perfectly possible to perform at a strong C2
level within these word limits, candidates are not penalised for over-length (or
under-length) scripts per se. This is a good example of a strong candidate
writing at greater length within the time available, giving scope to demonstrate
his/her proficiency.
Of course, over-length scripts could be penalised e.g. under the Content
criterion for irrelevance or under Organisation for lack of coherence, and
under-length scripts might be penalised under Content or Communicative
Achievement.

UCLES 2013.
Assessing Writing Performance Level C2. Published by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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PROFICIENCY (LEVEL C2) WRITING


Name of student: Sample script 4
CONTENT
Is all content relevant to the task?
Yes

Comments

Is the target reader fully informed?

Comments

The target reader is on the whole


informed.

The text reviews a film, describes it in


some detail and explains what it is about
the film that appeals to both children and
adults.
The final part of the question (assess
what the most important elements are, in
general, that make a film suitable for a
whole family to watch together) is only
addressed in the form of a list and with
reference to Toy Story.

Content mark: 3
COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Does the writer demonstrate complete
command of the conventions of the
communicative task?
Uses the conventions of the review with
flexibility.

Comments
The first paragraph captures the readers
attention well, the narrative is told in a
clear and lively manner and the
explanation of the attractions of the film
for children and adults is engaging and
illuminating about the film.
The approach is rather pedestrian for
complete command.

Does the writer communicate complex


ideas in an effective and convincing
way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes?
Communicates complex ideas in an
effective way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, and fulfilling all
communicative purposes.

Comments

Example of effective communication of


complex ideas: most of the section
entitled Why go with your kids? The
communication of complex ideas here
(as an exemplified list followed by a
summary) falls short of convincing.

Communicative achievement mark: 3


ORGANISATION
Is the text organised impressively and
coherently?

Comments

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The text is a well-organised and coherent


whole.

Use of headings for a review is not ideal,


interfering with the fluency of the text.

Does the writer use a wide range of


cohesive devices and organisational
patterns with flexibility?

Comments

Uses a variety of cohesive devices and


organisational patterns with flexibility.

Examples: This is the main premise


for, As mentioned in the introduction,
First of all, It is therefore easy to, and
another feature which, Ultimately,
opening question to engage interest in
the topic, referred to later in second
paragraph

Organisation mark: 3
LANGUAGE
Does the writer use a wide range of
vocabulary, including less common
lexis, with fluency, precision,
sophistication and style?
Uses a wide range of vocabulary,
including less common lexis, effectively
and precisely.

Comments
Examples: fantasise, received rave
reviews, movie goers, suburbia, the
usual order of things is turned upside
down, riveting, empathise, universally
recognisable, slap-stick, subtext
However, vocabulary is not used with
sophistication and style.

Is the writers use of grammar


sophisticated, fully controlled and
completely natural?
Uses a wide range of simple and
complex grammatical forms with full
control and flexibility.

Do any inaccuracies occur only as


slips?
Yes

Comments
Examples: I cannot deny that as a child I
did fantasise about my toys doing just
that and the adventures we would have
together.
There are also many characters which
are universally recognisable, another
feature which makes a movie fun to
watch for young and old.
Comments

Language mark: 3
Overall comments:
This is clear overall C2 performance, meeting the Band 3 descriptors on all four
scales. The performance could have been enhanced by development of the final
element of the question (which would have given scope to demonstrate more
sophisticated C2 level linguistic proficiency) and a less pedestrian approach to
organisation.
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Remember:

In general, for Part 2 questions, candidates should be reminded to take note


of the instruction to briefly describe something; this part of a question should
not take too much time, and their response should fully develop the other
parts of the question in which they are required, e.g. to assess, evaluate or
analyse a more abstract aspect of the topic.

A candidate might achieve an overall C2 performance with an uneven profile


across the four descriptors, showing more strength in some scales and less in
others. To ensure a good performance candidates should be encouraged to
work at all four aspects of their writing.

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PROFICIENCY (LEVEL C2) WRITING


Name of student: Sample script 5
CONTENT
Is all content relevant to the task?
Yes

Comments

Is the target reader fully informed?

Comments

Yes

The text reviews (a series of) films (Harry


Potter), briefly describes them, explains
what it is about them that appeals to both
children and adults and assesses the
important elements, in general, of films
suitable for whole families to watch.

Content mark: 5
COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Does the writer demonstrate complete
command of the conventions of the
communicative task?
Uses the conventions of the review
effectively and sometimes with some
flexibility.

Comments
The opening paragraph poses a problem
underlying the theme of the review,
which engages the readers attention.
The Harry Potter films are the steppingoff point for the development of this
theme.
The flexibility raises this text above Band
1 on this scale.

Does the writer communicate complex


ideas in an effective and convincing
way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes?
Communicates straightforward and
complex ideas.

Comments
Although errors are present, complex
ideas are communicated.
There is no focus on a specific film in this
review so it does not fulfil all
communicative purposes.

Communicative achievement mark: 2


ORGANISATION
Is the text organised impressively and
coherently?

Comments

The text is well-organised and coherent.


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Does the writer use a wide range of


cohesive devices and organisational
patterns with flexibility?
Uses a variety of cohesive devices and
organisational patterns to generally good
effect.

Comments
Examples: What surely attracts both ..,
But it can also be a way to , Add to this
mixture
Some devices are used inaccurately: and
otherwise, such having in common that

Organisation mark: 1
LANGUAGE
Does the writer use a wide range of
vocabulary, including less common
lexis, with fluency, precision,
sophistication and style?
Uses a range of vocabulary, including
less common lexis, appropriately.
Is the writers use of grammar
sophisticated, fully controlled and
completely natural?
Uses a wide range of simple and
complex grammatical forms with control
and flexibility.

Comments
Examples: over-come their fears, studied
thoroughly, distract themselves, lighthearted, down to earth, exotic location,
ratings, eagerly awaiting
Comments
Example of complex grammatical form:
What surely attracts both adults and
children is how a group of teenage
students over-come their fears.
The wide grammatical range takes this
descriptor for grammar above the Band 1
level, but, with the Vocabulary
performance and level of error, this text
achieves a Band 1 overall for language.

Do any inaccuracies occur only as


slips?
Errors are present but do not impede
communication.

Comments
Examples: the youngers, pastime movie,
issue dealings, laugh it off

Language mark: 1
Overall comments:
This is an example of a text which falls clearly below C2 level. The response to the
question is thoughtful and imaginative but the candidate needs to work on all other
aspects of his/her writing to achieve a C2 performance.
NB This is a good example of a script which scores 5 on Content whilst being
weak on the other scales. Candidates should be encouraged to ensure that
they do follow all the instructions in the question.

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PROFICIENCY (LEVEL C2) WRITING


Name of student: Sample script 6
CONTENT
Is all content relevant to the task?
Yes

Comments

Is the target reader fully informed?

Comments

Yes

The text reviews a film (Up), briefly


describes it, explains what it is about it
that appeals to both children and adults
and assesses the important elements, in
general, of films suitable for whole
families to watch.

Content mark: 5
COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Does the writer demonstrate complete
command of the conventions of the
communicative task?
Demonstrates a good command of the
conventions of the review.

Does the writer communicate complex


ideas in an effective and convincing
way, holding the target readers
attention with ease, fulfilling all
communicative purposes?
Communicates complex ideas in an
effective and sometimes convincing way,
holding the target readers attention with
ease, and fulfilling all communicative
purposes.

Comments
Interest is aroused effectively in the first
paragraph, which contextualises and
briefly narrates the film. The theme of the
review is then addressed clearly in the
next two paragraphs.
Comments

The final two paragraphs which assess


what makes a film appeal to all ages are
written with conviction. They bring the
descriptor above a Band 3 for this scale,
showing features of Bands 3 and 5.

Communicative achievement mark: 4


ORGANISATION
Is the text organised impressively and
coherently?

Comments

The text is a well-organised, coherent


whole.

The organisation falls short of being


impressive.

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Does the writer use a wide range of


cohesive devices and organisational
patterns with flexibility?
Uses a variety of cohesive devices and
organisational patterns with flexibility.

Comments
Examples: And of course, Like all good
family, And there is also, albeit, the
paragraphing clearly reflects the
structure of the underlying argument .
There is variety but not a wide range.

Organisation mark: 3
LANGUAGE
Does the writer use a wide range of
vocabulary, including less common
lexis, with fluency, precision,
sophistication and style?
Yes
Is the writers use of grammar
sophisticated, fully controlled and
completely natural?
Yes

Do any inaccuracies occur only as


slips?
Yes

Comments
Examples: gem, grumpy, yearning for
adventure, slapstick elements, acts of
unlikely heroism, endearing, subtle nods
to pop culture
Comments
Examples: first sentence of first
paragraph, final sentence as a whole
In a house kept floating by balloons, no
less, who are endearing not despite but
because of their imperfections
Comments

Language mark: 5
Overall comments:
This is a good example of a strong C2 performance, with room for some further
improvement on the Communicative Achievement and, particularly, the Organisation
scales.

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Appendices
A. Cambridge English Writing mark scheme Glossary of Terms
1. GENERAL
Generally

Generally is a qualifier meaning not in every way or instance. Thus, generally


appropriately refers to performance that is not as good as appropriately.

Flexibility

Flexible and flexibly refer to the ability to adapt whether language, organisational
devices, or task conventions rather than using the same form over and over, thus
evidencing better control and a wider repertoire of the resource. Flexibility allows a
candidate to better achieve communicative goals.

2. CONTENT
Relevant

Relevant means related or relatable to required content points and/or task


requirements.

Target reader

The target reader is the hypothetical reader set up in the task, e.g. a magazines
readership, your English teacher.

Informed

The target reader is informed if content points and/or task requirements are
addressed and appropriately developed. Some content points do not require much
development (e.g. state what is x) while others require it (describe, explain).

3. COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Conventions
of the
communicative
task

Conventions of the communicative task include such things as genre, format,


register, and function. For example, a personal letter should not be written as a formal
report, should be laid out accordingly, and use the right tone for the communicative
purpose.

Holding the
target readers
attention

Holding the target readers attention is used in the positive sense and refers to the
quality of a text that allows a reader to derive meaning and not be distracted. It does
not refer to texts that force a reader to read closely because they are difficult to follow
or make sense of.

Communicative
purpose

Communicative purpose refers to the communicative requirements as set out in the


task, e.g. make a complaint, suggest alternatives.

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Straightforward
and complex
ideas

Straightforward ideas are those which relate to relatively limited subject matter,
usually concrete in nature, and which require simpler rhetorical devices to
communicate. Complex ideas are those which are of a more abstract nature, or which
cover a wider subject area, requiring more rhetorical resources to bring together and
express.

4. ORGANISATION
Linking words,
cohesive
devices, and
organisational
patterns

Linking words are cohesive devices, but are separated here to refer to higherfrequency vocabulary which provide explicit linkage. They can range from basic high
frequency items (such as and, but) to basic and phrasal items (such as because,
first of all, finally).
Cohesive devices refers to more sophisticated linking words and phrases (e.g.
moreover, it may appear, as a result), as well as grammatical devices such as the
use of reference pronouns, substitution (e.g. There are two women in the picture. The
one on the right . . .), ellipsis (e.g. The first car he owned was a convertible, the second
a family car.), or repetition.
Organisational patterns refers to less-explicit ways of achieving connection at the
between sentence level and beyond, e.g. arranging sentences in climactic order, the
use of parallelism, using a rhetorical question to set up a new paragraph

5. LANGUAGE
Vocabulary

Basic vocabulary refers to vocabulary used for survival purposes, for simple
transactions, and the like.
Everyday vocabulary refers to vocabulary that comes up in common situations of a
non-technical nature in the relevant domain.
Less common lexis refers to vocabulary items that appear less often in the
relevant domain. These items often help to express ideas more succinctly and
precisely.

Appropriacy
of
vocabulary

Appropriacy of vocabulary: the use of words and phrases that fit the context of the
given task. For example, in Im very sensible to noise, the word sensible is
inappropriate as the word should be sensitive. Another example would be Todays
big snow makes getting around the city difficult. The phrase getting around is well
suited to this situation. However, big snow is inappropriate as big and snow are not
used together. Heavy snow would be appropriate.

Grammatical
forms

Simple grammatical forms: words, phrases, basic tenses and simple clauses.
Complex grammatical forms: longer and more complex items, e.g. noun clauses,
relative and adverb clauses, subordination, passive forms, infinitives, verb patterns,
modal forms and tense contrasts.

Grammatical
control

Grammatical control: the ability to consistently use grammar accurately and


appropriately to convey intended meaning.
Where language specifications are provided at lower levels (as in Cambridge
English: Key (KET) and Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET)), candidates may

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have control of only the simplest exponents of the listed forms.


Range

Range: the variety of words and grammatical forms a candidate uses. At higher
levels, candidates will make increasing use of a greater variety of words, fixed
phrases, collocations and grammatical forms.

Overuse

Overuse refers to those cases where candidates repeatedly use the same word
because they do not have the resources to use another term or phrase the same
idea in another way. Some words may unavoidably appear often as a result of
being the topic of the task; that is not covered by the term overuse here.

Errors and
slips

Errors are systematic mistakes. Slips are mistakes that are non-systematic, i.e.
the candidate has learned the vocabulary item or grammatical structure, but just
happened to make a mistake in this instance. In a candidates response, where
most other examples of a lexical/grammatical point are accurate, a mistake on that
point would most likely be a slip.

Impede
communication

Impede communication means getting in the way of meaning.


Meaning can still be determined indicates that some effort is required from the
reader to determine meaning.

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B. Sample writing tasks


Part 1

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Part 2

C. Part 1 sample writing task with key points underlined


Does memory have a future?
A good memory is invaluable. The inability to make use of memory and past experience can be a severe
limitation on how well we perform both mentally and physically. Nowadays, we rely on computers,
mobiles and other electronic devices to store our most important information, which can be recalled at the
touch of a button. However, some people are concerned that this reliance on electronic equipment may
affect the development of our internal memory system in the future. It remains to be seen whether these
concerns turn out to be valid.

The role of memory


We like to think of our memory as our record of the past, but all too often memories are influenced by
imagination. It is risky, therefore, to regard memory as a source of knowledge, because we will never be
able to verify the accuracy of a memory fully. Although memory is an unreliable source of knowledge
about the past, its importance in self-identity is unquestionable. When a person suffers memory loss as a
result of accident or illness, one of the most distressing consequences is likely to be a loss of self. Indeed,
it can be argued that a persons true identity resides in his or her collection of memories.
The four key points underlined above might be summarised as follows:
1. memory is invaluable for mental and physical performance
2. reliance on electronic devices may affect human memory in the future
3. memory may not be an accurate record of the past
4. memories are a critical part of self-identity

Remember:

Examiners are trained to identify the key points in the two input texts and to mark candidates
reformulations of key points in their own words in a standard manner.

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D. Sample scripts
Sample script 1

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Sample script 1 (continued)

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Sample script 1 (continued)

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Sample script 2

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Sample script 2 (continued)

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Sample script 3

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Sample script 3 (continued)

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Sample script 3 (continued)

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Sample script 4

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Sample script 4 (continued)

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Sample script 4 (continued)

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Sample script 4 (continued)

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Sample script 5

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Sample script 5 (continued)

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Sample script 5 (continued)

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Sample script 6

Sample script 6 (continued)


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