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Preparing

Students for
PISA*
Reading Literacy
Teachers Handbook

*Programme for International Student Assessment


Table of Contents

Introduction 3 Reading Unit 3 12


Preparing Atlantic Canadian Students Question 11 ................................................13
for PISA......................................................3 Question 12 ................................................13
PISA Programme for
International Student Assessment ............3 Reading Unit 4 15
How PISA Works ................................................3 Question 13 ................................................16
Significance of PISA ............................................3 Question 14 ................................................16
Canadian Context ................................................3 Question 15 ................................................17
Suggestions for Teachers ....................................4 Question 16 ................................................17
Reading Literacy ................................................4
Atlantic Canada ELA Curriculum Outcomes........4 Reading Unit 5 18
Outcome
4 ..........................................................5 Question 17 ................................................20
Outcome
5 ..........................................................5 Question 18 ................................................21
Outcome
6 ..........................................................5
Outcome
7 ..........................................................5
Question 19 ................................................21
How to Use This Document ....................................5 Question 20 ................................................23
Question 21 ................................................23
Reading Unit 1 6 Question 22 ................................................24
Question 1 ..........................................................7 Question 23 ................................................24
Question 2 ..........................................................7
Question 3 ..........................................................8 Reading Unit 6 26
Question 4 ..........................................................8 Question 24 ................................................28
Question 5 ..........................................................8 Question 25 ................................................28
Question 26 ................................................29
Reading Unit 2 9 Question 27 ................................................30
Question 6 ........................................................10 Question 28 ................................................31
Question 7 ........................................................10
Question 8..........................................................11
Question 9..........................................................11
Question 10........................................................11

Based almost entirely on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development document Sample Tasks from the PISA 2000
Assessment: Reading, Mathematics and Scientific Literacy OECD (2002). Reproduced by permission of the OECD.

2 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Introduction
PISA Programme for Significance of PISA
International Student Assessment The internationally comparable evidence on student per-
formance can assist jurisdictions to bring about im-
PISA is a collaborative effort on the part of the member provements in schooling to better prepare young peo-
countries of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-op- ple to enter a society of rapid change and global inter-
eration and Development) to measure how well 15-year- dependence. As well, it can provide directions for poli-
olds are prepared to meet the challenges of todays knowl- cy development, for curricular and instructional efforts,
edge societies. Over 40 countries, including Canada, and and for student learning. Coupled with appropriate in-
more than a quarter of a million students participate in this centives, it can motivate students to learn better, teach-
international assessment that occurs every three years. ers to teach better, and schools to be more effective.
PISA assesses three domains: reading literacy, mathe- PISA represents an unprecedented effort to achieve
matical literacy, and scientific literacy. comparability of results across countries,
cultures, and languages.
How PISA Works
Canadian Context
A sample of 15-year-old students
is randomly chosen from select- Approximately 30 000 15-
ed schools in each country for year-old students from
the PISA assessment. PISA is more than 1000 schools
a two-hour pen-and-paper across Canada took part
assessment with both mul- in the first adminis-
tiple-choice questions and tration of PISA in
questions requiring stu- 2000. A large
dents to construct their Canadian sam-
own answers. Stu- ple was drawn so
dents and princi- that information
pals also com- could be provided
plete a ques- at both national and
tionnaire. provincial lev-
Each as- els. Cana-
sessment dian stu-
examines one dents
domain in depth, performed
and the other two domains provide a summary profile well in the global context, ranking second in reading,
of skills. Reading literacy was examined in depth in sixth in mathematics, and fifth in science. The perform-
2000, mathematical literacy will be examined in depth ance of the students in the Atlantic provinces was above
in 2003, and scientific literacy will be examined in the international average, but well below the Canadian
depth in 2006. average.

Preparing Atlantic Canadian Students for PISA


In preparation for the next PISA assessment, two documents have been prepared, one for teachers and anoth-
er for students. In this document for teachers, there are two examples for whole-class discussion and two sam-
ple tasks with answers and scoring criteria. In the companion document for students, the sample tasks are also
provided but without answers and scoring criteria. These two documents are published to enable students, with
the help of their teachers, to attain a clear understanding of the assessment and how it is scored and to help
ensure more confident and successful participation. There is also a pamphlet for parents to raise awareness of
the purpose, methodology, and significance of PISA.

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 3


Suggestions for teachers
Reading Literacy Type of reading task
Reading literacy is defined in PISA as the The type of reading task dimension is
understanding, using, and reflecting on writ- measured on three scales:
ten texts, in order to achieve ones goals, to 1 retrieving information
develop ones knowledge and potential, and 2 interpreting text
to participate in society. 3 reflection and evaluation
Each question in the Reading Units in Sam-
Aspects of Reading ple Tasks from PISA 2000 identifies the
The five aspects of reading assessed in type of reading task, the text format, and the
PISA are as follows: reading situation as they are described
1 Forming a broad general understanding (20%) above.
Student can identify the main idea, explain
the purpose of the text, etc.
2 Retrieving information (20%) Student can
select relevant information; this may require Atlantic Canada ELA
discrimination between two similar pieces of
information.
Curriculum Outcomes
3 Developing an interpretation (30%) Student
can process information in a logical manner to The Atlantic Canada English Language Arts curricu-
show understanding of what is read. lum outcomes 4 to 7 reflect and support PISAs defini-
4 Reflecting on the content of text (15%) tion and its competencies. The general curriculum
Student can relate information found in a text to outcomes identify what students are expected to
knowledge from other sources. know and be able to do upon completion of study in
5 Reflecting on the form of a text (15%) Student English Language Arts.
can consider the text objectively and evaluate its
quality and appropriateness.
Language learning is a process that continues
Text Format throughout schooling; therefore the identification of
The text format used in PISA 2000 can be specific outcomes related to each assessment ques-
divided into two categories: tion is not feasible. However, the reading skills
1 Continuous text (approximately 66%) includes assessed by the Reading and Literacy component of
prose that may be narrative, expository, PISA echo the learning expectations of the following
descriptive, persuasive, or injunctive/instructive. Atlantic Canada English Language Arts curriculum
2 Non-continuous text (approximately 33%) outcomes.
includes charts and graphs, tables, diagrams,
maps, forms, or advertisements.

Reading Situations
PISA distinguishes four types of reading
situations:
1 Reading for personal/private use (28%)
includes personal letters, fiction, reading for
pleasure.
2 Reading for public use (28%) includes official
documents, information about public events.
3 Reading for work/occupational (16%) reading
related to the work world.
4 Reading for education (28%) includes school
assignments, reading to learn.

4 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Outcome 4:
Students will be expected to select, read, and view with understanding a range of literature,
information, media, and visual texts.
For example, under this outcome, 15 year-olds would be expected to
Seek meaning in reading, using a variety of strategies such as cueing
systems, utilizing prior knowledge, analysing, inferring, predicting, synthesizing, and evaluating.

Outcome 5:
Students will be expected to interpret, select, and combine information, using a variety of strategies,
resources, and technologies.
For example, under this outcome, 15 year-olds would be expected to
Select appropriate information to meet the requirements of a learning task.

Outcome 6:
Students will be expected to respond personally to a range of texts.
For example, under this outcome, 15 year-olds would be expected to
Respond to the texts they are reading and viewing by questioning, connecting,
evaluating, and extending.

Outcome 7:
Students will be expected to respond critically to a range of texts, applying their understanding of
language, form, and genre.
For example, under this outcome, 15 year-olds would be expected to
Make inferences, draw conclusions, and make supported responses to
content, form, and structure.

The PISA assessment, in structure and content, is in accord with the philosophy and expectations of
the Atlantic Canada English Language Arts Curriculum.

How to Use This Document


Engage your students in each of the eight tasks in the document. This may be done as a whole-
class discussion or by asking students to work on the tasks individually (a companion document is
provided for individual student use).

Scoring criteria, according to PISA guidelines, are given for each question in each task. The criteria
are the same as those used by PISA markers to mark the actual assessment. Examine the
marking criteria to see how each question within the task will be marked. Review the scope of
acceptable answers with your students.

Suggest to students the following strategies:


Always read the information for each task carefully.
Reread each task question and any accompanying text before attempting an answer.
Give each question a try, even when youre not sure. Remember, partial value is given for
partially correct answers.
Interpretive, reflective, and evaluative questions are those that begin with Why?, Why do you
think ...?, How do you know ...? One or twoword answers are insufficient. Reasons, usually
with reference to the task, are required. Often the word because is used in the response.
Develop a methodical process of elimination of the alternatives in multiple-choice questions.
When the list is narrowed to the best possiblities, choose one. There is no penalty for wrong
choices.

Encourage your students to take the assessment seriously and to strive for excellence.
Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 5
Sample Tasks with Answers and Scoring Criteria

Reading Unit 1
LAKE CHAD

Figure A shows changing levels of Lake Chad, in Depth in metres


Saharan, North Africa. Lake Chad disappeared C 4000 BC
completely in about 20000 BC, during the last Ice 60
Age. In about 11000 BC it reappeared. Today, its Present
level is about the same as it was in AD 1000. 50 day

40
Figure A 30
Lake Chad: Changing levels 20
10
0 BC

BC

BC

BC

BC

0
00
10
0

00

00

00

00
00

AD
80

60

40

20
10

Figure B
Saharan rock art (ancient
buffalo
drawings or paintings found on rhinoceros
the walls of caves) and changing hippopotamus
patterns of wildlife. aurochs
elephant
giraffe
ostrich
gazelle
cattle
dog
horse
camel
BC

BC

BC

BC

BC

BC

BC

BC

00
10
00

00

00

00

00

00

00

00

AD
80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

Source: Copyright Bartholomew Ltd. 1988. Extracted from The Times Atlas of Archaeology and reproduced
by permission of Harper Collins Publishers.

6 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Use the information about Lake Chad on the opposite
page to answer the questions below.

Question 1: LAKE CHAD (R040Q02) Question 2: LAKE CHAD (R040Q03A)


Reading task: Retrieving information Reading task: Retrieving information
Text format: Non-continuous Text format: Non-continuous
Situation: Public Situation: Public

What is the depth of Lake Chad today? In about which year does the graph in Figure A
A about two metres start?
B about fifteen metres
Scoring Question 2
C about fifty metres
D It has disappeared completely Score 1:
E The information is not provided Answers that state 11000 BC (or an
approximation between 10500 and 12000,
Scoring Question 1 indicating that the student has extrapolated from
the scale). For example:
Score 1:
11000
Answer A about two metres
11000 BC
Score 0: 10500 BC
Other answers. just before 10000 BC
about 12000
about 11000 BC

Score 0:
Other answers, including an arrow pointing to the
starting point of the graph. For example:
10000 BC
[Has failed to extrapolate from the scale]
20000 BC
8000 BC [Has looked at wrong figure]
11000 4000 BC [Ignore crossed-out answer]
0

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 7


Question 3: LAKE CHAD (R040Q03B) Question 4: LAKE CHAD (R040Q04)
Reading task: Reflection and evaluation Reading task: Interpreting texts
Text format: Non-continuous Text format: Non-continuous
Situation: Public Situation: Public

Why has the author chosen to start the graph Figure B is based on the assumption that
at this point? A the animals in the rock art were present in the
area at the time they were drawn
Scoring Question 3 B the artists who drew the animals were highly
skilled
Score 1:
C the artists who drew the animals were able to
Answers that refer to the reappearance of the travel widely
lake. Note: an answer may receive score 1 even if D there was no attempt to domesticate the animals
the previous answer is incorrect. For example: that were depicted in the rock art
Lake Chad reappeared in 11000 BC after
disappearing completely around 20000 BC Scoring Question 4
the lake disappeared during the Ice Age and
then came back at about this time Score 1:
it reappeared then Answer A the animals in the rock art were
about 11000 BC it came back present in the area at the time they were drawn
then the lake reappeared after being gone for
9000 years Score 0:
Other answers
Score 0:
Other answers. For example:
this is when animals started to appear Question 5: LAKE CHAD (R040Q06)
Reading task: Interpreting texts
11000 BC is when humans began to do rock art.
Text format: Non-continuous
11000 BC was when the lake (first) appeared. Situation: Public
because at that time Lake Chad was completely
dried up For this question you need to draw together
because that was the first movement on the information from Figure A and Figure B.
graph
The disappearance of the rhinoceros,
hippopotamus, and aurochs from Saharan
rock art happened
A at the beginning of the most recent Ice Age
B in the middle of the period when Lake Chad was
at its highest level
C after the level of Lake Chad had been falling for
over a 1000 years
D at the beginning of an uninterrupted dry period

Scoring Question 5
Score 1:
Answer C after the level of Lake Chad had been
falling for over a thousand years

Score 0:
Other answers

8 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Reading Unit 2
LABOUR
The tree diagram below shows the structure of a countrys labour force or working-age population. The
total population of the country in 1995 was about 3.4 million.

The labour force structure, year ended 31 March 1995 (000s)l

Working-age population2
2656.5

In labour force Not in labour force3


1706.5 64.2% 949.9 35.8%

Employed Unemployed
1578.4 92.5% 128.1 7.5%

Full-time Part-time
1237.1 78.4% 341.3 21.6%

Seeking full-time Seeking part-time


work work
101.6 79.3% 26.5 20.7%
Seeking Not seeking
full-time work full-time work
23.2 6.8% 318.1 93.2%

Seeking Notseeking
full-time work full-time work
23.2 6.8% 318.1 93.2%

1. Numbers of people are given in thousands (000s).


2. The working-age population is defined as people between the ages of 15 and 65.
3. People not in labour force are those not actively seeking work and/or not available for work.

Source: D. Miller, Form 6 Economics, ESA Publications, Box 9453, Newmarker, Auckland, NZ, p. 64

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 9


Use the above information about a countrys labour force to answer the following questions.

Question 6: LABOUR (R088Q01)

Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 6


Text format: Non-continuous
Situation: Educational Score 1:
What are the two main groups into which the Answer D In the labour force and not in the
working-age population is divided? labour force
A employed and unemployed Score 0:
B of working age and not of working age Other answers
C full-time workers and part-time workers
D in the Iabour force and not in the Iabour force

Question 7: LABOUR (R088Q03)

Reading task: Retrieving information Score 1:


Text format: Non-continuous
Situation: Educational Answers that indicate that the number in the tree
diagram has been located, but that the 000s in
How many people of working age were not in the title/footnote has not been correctly integrated.
the Iabour force? (Write the number of people, Answers stating 949.9 in words or figures. Allow
not the percentage.) approximations comparable to those for Score 2.
949.9
Scoring Question 7 94 900
almost a thousand
Score 2:
just under 950
Answers that indicate that the number in the tree
diagram AND the 000s in the title/ footnote have about 900
been integrated: 949 900. Allow approximations just under 1 000
between 949 000 and 950 000 in figures or words.
Also accept 900 000 or one million (in words or
figures) with qualifier. Score 0:
949 900 Other answers
just under nine hundred and fifty thousand For example:
950 000 35.8%
949.9 thousand 7.50%
almost a million
about 900 thousand
949.9 X 1000
949 900
949(000)

10 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Question 8: LABOUR (R088Q04)

Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 8


Text format: Non-continuous
Situation: Educational Score 2:
In which part of the tree diagram, if any, 5 answers correct
would each of the people listed in the table Score 1:
below be included?
3 or 4 answers correct
Show your answer by placing a cross in the
correct box in the table. Score 0:
2 or fewer answers correct
The first one has been done for you.

Question 9: LABOUR (R088Q05)


Reading task: Reflection and evaluation
Text format: Non-continuous Features of Tree Diagram Answer
Situation: Educational
The labels in each box Change/No change
Suppose that information about the Iabour (e.g., "In labour force")
force was presented in a tree diagram like this The percentages (e.g., "64.2%") Change/No change
every year. The numbers (e.g., "2656.5") Change/No change
The footnotes under the tree diagram Change/No change
Listed below are four features of the tree
diagram. Show whether or not you would Scoring Question 9
expect these features to change from year to
year, by circling either Change or No Score 1:
change. The first one has been done for you. 3 answers correct

Score 0:
2 or fewer answers correct

Question 10: LABOUR (R088Q07)


Reading task: Reflection and evaluation Scoring Question 10
Text format: Non-continuous
Situation: Educational Score 1:
The information about the Iabour force Answer C categories within each group
structure is presented as a tree diagram, but it Score 0:
could have been presented in a number of
Other answers
other ways, such as a written description, a pie
chart, a graph, or a table.

The tree diagram was probably chosen


because it is especially useful for showing
A changes over time
B the size of the countrys total population
C categories within each group
D the size of each group

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 11


Reading Unit 3
PLAN INTERNATIONAL

PLAN International Program Results Financial Year 1996


Region of Eastern and Southern Africa (RESA)

Zimbabwe
Tanzania
Ethiopia

Uganda
Maiawi

Zambia
Kenya

Totals
Sudan
Egypt
Growing up healthy
Health posts built with 4 rooms or less 1 0 6 0 7 1 2 0 9 26
Health workers trained for 1 day 1 053 0 719 0 425 1 003 20 80 1085 4 385
Children given nutrition supplements > 1 week 10 195 0 2 240 2 400 0 0 0 0 251 402 266 237
Children given financial help with health/ 984 0 396 0 305 0 581 0 17 2 283
dental treatment

Learning
Teachers trained for 1 week 0 0 367 0 970 115 565 0 303 2 320
School exercise books bought/donated 667 0 0 41 200 0 69 106 0 150 0 111 123
School textbooks bought/donated 0 0 45 650 9 600 1 182 8 769 7 285 150 58 387 131 023
Uniforms bought/made/donated 8 897 0 5 761 0 2 000 6 040 0 0 434 23 132
Children helped with school fees/a scholarship 12 321 0 1 598 0 154 0 0 0 2 014 16 087
School desks built/bought/donated 3 200 0 3 689 250 1 564 1 725 1 794 0 4 109 16 331
Permanent classrooms built 44 0 50 8 93 31 45 0 82 353
Classrooms repaired 0 0 34 0 0 14 0 0 33 81
Adults receiving training in literacy this 1 160 0 3 000 568 3 617 0 0 0 350 8 695
financial year

Habitat
Latrines or toilets dug/built 50 0 2 403 0 57 162 23 96 4 311 7 102
Houses connected to a new sewage system 143 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 143
Wells dug/improved (or springs capped) 0 0 15 0 7 13 0 0 159 194
New positive boreholes drilled 0 0 8 93 14 0 27 0 220 362
Gravity feed drinking water systems built 0 0 28 0 1 0 0 0 0 29
Drinking water systems repaired/improved 0 0 392 0 2 0 0 0 31 425
Houses improved with PLAN project 265 0 520 0 0 0 1 0 2 788
New houses built for beneficiaries 225 0 596 0 0 2 6 0 313 1 142
Community halls built or improved 2 0 2 0 3 0 3 0 2 12
Community leaders trained for 1 day or more 2 214 95 3 522 232 200 3 575 814 20 2 693 13 365
Kilometres of roadway improved 1.2 0 26 0 0 0 0 0 5.34 80.6
Bridges built 0 0 4 2 11 0 0 0 1 18
Families benefited directly from erosion control 0 0 1 092 0 1 500 0 0 0 18 405 20 997
Houses newly served by electrification project 448 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 44 494

Source: Adapted from PLAN International Program Output Chart Financial Year 1996, appendix to Quarterly Report to
the International Board first quarter 1997.

12 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


The table above is part of a report published by PLAN International, an international aid
organization. It gives some information about PLANs work in one of its regions of operation
(Eastern and Southern Africa). Refer to the table to answer the following questions.

Question 11: PLAN INTERNATIONAL (R099Q04A)


What does the table indicate about the level of Answer B The level of activity was comparative-
PLAN InternationaIs activity in Ethiopia in ly low in Ethiopia.
1996, compared with other countries in the
region? Note: This question is for information only and will
A The level of activity was comparatively high in not contribute independently to the students score.
Ethiopia. The answer is taken into account in assessing the
B The level of activity was comparatively low in answer to Question 12.
Ethiopia.
C It was about the same as in other countries in
the region.
D It was comparatively high in the Habitat category
and low in the other categories.

Question 12: PLAN INTERNATIONAL (R099Q04B)

Reading task: Reflection and evaluation country by training local people so I would say
Text format: Non-continuous PLAN had just started working in Ethiopia in
Situation: Public 1996.
Training community workers might be the only
In 1996 Ethiopia was one of the poorest kind of aid they can give there. There might not
countries in the world. be the hospitals or schools in which they could
base the other kinds of aid work.
Taking this fact and the information in the Other foreign aid groups might be helping with
table into account, what do you think might medicine etc., and PLAN sees they need to
explain the level of PLAN InternationaIs know how to run the country. [Implicitly refers to
activities in Ethiopia compared with its training community leaders.]
activities in other countries?
Score 1:
Student has answered Question 11 correctly
(Answer B). Answer explains the level of PLANs
Scoring Question 12 work by drawing on MOST of the information sup-
plied. Answer must be consistent with (though does
Score 2: not need to refer to) BOTH of the following:
Student has answered Question 11 correctly (1) PLANs low level of activity in Ethiopia
(Answer B). Answer explains the level of PLANs (information supplied in the table); AND
activity by drawing on ALL the information supplied (2) Ethiopias poverty (information given in the
with explicit or implicit reference to the type of stem). For example:
activity conducted in Ethiopia by PLAN. Answer It might be hard to distribute aid there because
must also be consistent with (though does not things are in such a mess.
need to refer to) BOTH of the following:
There may be a war on so it would be hard to
(1) PLANs low level of activity in Ethiopia give aid.
(information supplied in the table); AND
They dont know how to help there.
(2) Ethiopias poverty (information given in the
stem). For example: If other organizations are helping in Ethiopia,
there is less for PLAN to do.
Aid organizations often start their work in a

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 13


I could imagine that the other countries received Ethiopia might only need more help with their
help first and that Ethiopia will be helped in the community leaders than other countries. [Draws
near future. in detail on information in the table but does not
The people of Ethiopia may have a certain take into account the information about
culture which makes it difficult to interact with Ethiopias relative poverty supplied in the stem.]
foreigners.
OR:
I think they are giving a bit too much help in
other countries and Ethiopia is missing out. Student has answered Question 11 correctly
PLAN International might not have enough (Answer B) but gives an insufficient or vague or
funding and money for all the countries in need. inaccurate answer. For example:
They dont do as much work in Ethiopia.
Score 0: [Restates information in Answer B in question
Student has answered Question 11 incorrectly (not 11 without attempting to explain it.]
Answer B). PLAN hardly does anything in Ethiopia.
PLAN gives the same amount to every country.
OR: [Contradicts information in Answer B in question
Student has answered Question 11 correctly 11.]
(Answer B) but the answer does not take into
account the information supplied about Ethiopias OR:
relative poverty. For example: Student has answered Question 11 correctly
Ethiopia does not need PLANs help as much as (Answer B) but gives an implausible or irrelevant
the other countries. [Draws on information in the answer. For example:
table but does not take into account the They should be giving more to Ethiopia.
information about Ethiopias relative poverty [Expresses an opinion rather than suggesting
supplied in the stem.] an explanation.]
Ethiopia is not as poor as the other countries so They are only training community workers. They
it doesnt need PLANs help as much. [Draws on dont seem to be doing anything for the health or
information in the table but is inconsistent with learning of the people there. [Does not explain
information about Ethiopias relative poverty the level of activity.]
supplied in the stem.]

14 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Reading Unit 4
RUNNERS

Feel good in your runners

F OR 14 YEARS the Sports


Medicine Centre of Lyon
(France) has been studying
the injuries of young sports
players and sports professionals. The study
has established that the best course is preven-
tion ... and good shoes.

Knocks, falls, wear and tear ...


Eighteen percent of sports players aged 8 to 12
already have heel injuries. The cartilage of a
footballers ankle does not respond well to
shocks, and 25 percent of professionals
have discovered for themselves that it is
an especially weak point. The cartilage of
the delicate knee joint can also be
irreparably damaged, and if care is not
taken right from childhood (1012 years
of age), this can cause premature
osteoarthritis. The hip does not escape
damage either and, particularly when
tired, players run the risk of fractures It must support the foot, and in particular the
as a result of falls or collisions. ankle joint, to avoid sprains, swelling, and other
According to the study, foot- problems, which may even affect the knee.
ballers who have been playing for It must also provide players with good stability
more than 10 years have bony outgrowths either on so that they do not slip on a wet ground or skid on a
the tibia or on the heel. This is what is known as surface that is too dry.
footballers foot, a deformity caused by shoes Finally, it must absorb shocks, especially those
with soles and ankle parts that are too flexible. suffered by volleyball and basketball players who
are constantly jumping.
Protect, support, stabilize, absorb
If a shoe is too rigid, it restricts movement. If it is Dry feet
too flexible, it increases the risk of injuries and To avoid minor but painful conditions such as
sprains. A good sports shoe should meet four criteria. blisters or even splits or athletes foot (fungal infec-
Firstly, it must provide exterior protection: resist- tions), the shoe must allow evaporation of perspira-
ing knocks from the baIl or another player, coping tion and must prevent outside dampness from get-
with unevenness in the ground, and keeping the foot ting in. The ideal material for this is leather, which
warm and dry even when it is freezing cold and can be water-proofed to prevent the shoe from get-
raining. ting soaked the first time it rains.

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 15


READING UNIT 4 Runners

Use the article on the preceding page to answer the questions below.

Question 13: RUNNERS (R110Q01)

Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 13


Text format Continuous
Situation: Educational Score 1:
What does the author intend to show in this Answer D that it is very important for young
text? sports players to wear good sports shoes
A that the quality of many sports shoes has greatly Score 0:
improved Other answers
B that it is best not to play football if you are under
12 years of age
C that young people are suffering more and more
injuries owing to their poor physical condition
D that it is very important for young sports players
to wear good sports shoes

Question 14: RUNNERS (R110Q04)


Reading task: Retrieving information Scoring Question 14
Text format: Continuous
Situation: Educational Score 1:
According to the article, why should sports Answers that refer to restriction of movement
shoes not be too rigid? For example:
They restrict movement.
They prevent you from running easily.

Score 0:
Answers that show inaccurate comprehension of
the material or are implausible or irrelevant
For example:
To avoid injuries
They cant support the foot
Because you need to support the foot and ankle

OR:
Answers that are insufficient or vague
For example:
Otherwise they are not suitable

16 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Question 15: RUNNERS (R110Q05)

Reading task: Retrieving information For example:


Text format: Continuous Exterior protection. (1)
Situation: Educational Support of the foot. (2)
One part of the article says A good sports Good stability. (3)
shoe should meet four criteria. Shock absorption. (4)
It must provide exterior protection, support the
What are these criteria? foot, provide the player with good stability and
must absorb shocks.
Scoring Question 15 Protect, support, stabilize, absorb. [Quotes sub-
heading of this section of text.]
Score 1:
Answers which refer to the four criteria in italics in Score 0:
the text. Each reference may be a direct quotation, Other answers
a paraphrase or an elaboration of the criterion. Cri- For example:
teria may be given in any order. The four criteria Protect against knocks from the baIl or feet.
are: Cope with unevenness in the ground.
(1) to provide exterior protection Keep the foot warm and dry.
(2) to support the foot Support the foot.
(3) to provide good stability [First three points in this answer are all part of cri-
(4) to absorb shocks terion (1) (provide exterior protection).]

Question 16: RUNNERS (R110Q06)


Reading task: Reflection and evaluation Scoring Question 16
Text format: Continuous
Situation: Educational Score 1:
Look at this sentence from near the end of the Answer D gives the solution to the problem
article. It is presented here in two parts: described in the first part

To avoid minor but painful conditions such as


Score 0:
blisters or even splits or athletes foot (fungal Other answers
infections), ... (first part)

... the shoe must allow evaporation of


perspiration and must prevent outside
dampness from getting in. (second part)

What is the relationship between the first and


second parts of the sentence?
The second part
A contradicts the first part
B repeats the first part
C illustrates the problem described in the first part
D gives the solution to the problem described in
the first part

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 17


Reading Unit 5
THE GIFT

The Gift
H OW MANY DAYS, she wondered,
had she sat like this, watching the
cold brown water inch up the dis-
solving bluff. She could just faintly
remember the beginning of the rain, driving in across
the swamp from the south and beating against the shell
of her house. Then the river itself started rising, slowly
at first until at last it paused to turn back. From hour to
the pull of the river. She gripped the edge of the bed.
Swaying from side to side, the house moved to the
length of its mooring.There was a jolt and a complain-
ing of old timbers and then a pause. Slowly the current
released it and let it swing back, rasping across its rest-
ing place. She caught her breath and sat for a long time,
feeling the slow pendulous sweeps. The dark sifted
down through the incessant rain, and, head on arm, she
hour it slithered up creeks and ditches and poured over slept holding on to the bed.
low places. In the night, while she slept, it claimed the Sometime in the night the cry awoke her, a sound so
road and surrounded her so that she sat alone, her boat anguished she was on her feet before she was awake. In
gone, the house like a piece of drift lodged on its bluff. the dark she stumbled against the bed. It came from out
Now even against the tarred planks of the supports the there, from the river. She could hear something mov-
waters touched. And still they rose. ing, something large that made a dredging, sweeping
As far as she could see, to the treetops where the sound. It could be another house. Then it hit, not head
opposite banks had been, the swamp was an empty sea, on but glancing and sliding down the length of her
awash with sheets of rain, the river lost somewhere in house. It was a tree. She listened as the branches and
its vastness. Her house with its boat bottom had been leaves cleared themselves and went on downstream,
built to ride just such a flood, if one ever came, but now leaving only the rain and the lappings of the flood,
it was old. Maybe the boards underneath were partly sounds so constant now that they seemed a part of the
rotted away. Maybe the cable mooring the house to the silence. Huddled on the bed, she was almost asleep
great live oak would snap loose and let her go turning again when another cry sounded, this time so close it
downstream, the way her boat had gone. could have been in the room. Staring into the dark, she
No one could come now. She could cry out but it eased back on the bed until her hand caught the cold
would be no use, no one would hear. Down the length shape of the rifle. Then, crouched on the pillow, she
and breadth of the swamp others were fighting to save cradled the gun across her knees. Whos there? she
what little they could, maybe even their lives. She had called.
seen a whole house go floating by, so quiet she was The answer was a repeated cry, but less shrill, tired
reminded of sitting at a funeral. She thought when she sounding, then the empty silence closing in. She drew
saw it she knew whose house it was. It had been bad back against the bed. Whatever was there she could
seeing it drift by, but the owners must have escaped to hear it moving about on the porch. Planks creaked, and
higher ground. Later, with the rain and darkness press- she could distinguish the sounds of objects being
ing in, she had heard a panther scream upriver. knocked over. There was a scratching on the wall as if
Now the house seemed to shudder around her like it would tear its way in. She knew now what it was, a
something alive. She reached out to catch a lamp as it big cat, deposited by the uprooted tree that had passed
tilted off the table by her bed and put it between her her. It had come with the flood, a gift.
feet to hold it steady. Then, creaking and groaning with Unconsciously she pressed her hand against her face
effort, the house struggled up from the clay, floated and along her tightened throat. The rifle rocked across
free, bobbing like a cork, and swung out slowly with her knees. She had never seen a panther in her life. She

18 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Source: Revue 10 (16) 1 15 June 1997.

had heard about them from others and heard their cries, Easing into the kitchen, she made a fire with the few
like suffering, in the distance. The cat was scratching remaining sticks of wood. If the flood lasted she would
on the wall again, rattling the window by the door. As have to burn the chair, maybe even the table itself. Tak-
long as she guarded the window and kept the cat ing down the remains of a smoked ham from the ceil-
hemmed in by the wall and water, caged, she would be ing, she cut thick slices of the brownish red meat and
all right. Outside, the animal paused to rake his claws placed them in a skillet. The smell of the frying meat
across the rusted outer screen. Now and then, it whined made her dizzy. There were stale biscuits from the last
and growled. time she had cooked, and she could make some coffee.
When the light filtered down through the rain at last, There was plenty of water.
coming like another kind of dark, she was still sitting While she was cooking her food, she almost forgot
on the bed, stiff and cold. Her arms, used to rowing on about the cat until it whined. It was hungry too. Let
the river, ached from the stillness of holding the rifle. me eat, she called to it, and then Ill see to you.And
She had hardly allowed herself to move for fear any she laughed under her breath. As she hung the rest of
sound might give strength to the cat. Rigid, she swayed the ham back on its nail, the cat growled a deep throaty
with the movement of the house. The rain still fell as if rumble that made her hand shake.
it would never stop. Through the grey light, finally, she After she had eaten, she went to the bed again and
could see the rain-pitted flood and far away the cloudy took up the rifle. The house had risen so high now it no
shape of drowned treetops. The cat was not moving longer scraped across the bluff when it swung back
now. Maybe he had gone away. Laying the gun aside, from the river. The food had warmed her. She could get
she slipped off the bed and moved without a sound to rid of the cat while light still hung in the rain. She crept
the window. It was still there, crouched at the edge of slowly to the window. It was still there, mewling,
the porch, staring up at the live oak, the mooring of the beginning to move about the porch. She stared at it a
house, as if gauging its chances of leaping to an over- long time, unafraid. Then without thinking what she
hanging branch. It did not seem so frightening now that was doing, she laid the gun aside and started around the
she could see it, its coarse fur napped into twigs, its edge of the bed to the kitchen. Behind her the cat was
sides pinched and ribs showing. It would be easy to moving, fretting. She took down what was left of the
shoot it where it sat, its long tail whipping back and ham and, making her way back across the swaying
forth. She was moving back to get the gun when it floor to the window, she shoved it through the broken
turned around. With no warning, no crouch or tensing pane. On the other side there was a hungry snarl and
of muscles, it sprang at the window, shattering a pane something like a shock passed from the animal to her.
of glass. She fell back, stifling a scream, and taking up Stunned by what she had done, she drew back to the
the rifle, she fired through the window. She could not bed. She could hear the sounds of the panther tearing at
see the panther now, but she had missed. It began to the meat. The house rocked around her.
pace again. She could glimpse its head and the arch of
its back as it passed the window. The next time she awoke she knew at once that
everything had changed. The rain had stopped. She felt
Shivering, she pulled back on the bed and lay down. for the movement of the house but it no longer swayed
The lulling constant sound of the river and the rain, the on the flood. Drawing her door open, she saw through
penetrating chill, drained away her purpose. She the torn screen a different world. The house was resting
watched the window and kept the gun ready. After on the bluff where it always had. A few feet down, the
waiting a long while, she moved again to look. The river still raced on in a torrent, but it no longer covered
panther had fallen asleep, its head on its paws, like a the few feet between the house and the live oak. And
house cat. For the first time since the rains began she the cat was gone. Leading from the porch to the live
wanted to cry, for herself, for all the people, for every- oak and doubtless on into the swamp were tracks,
thing in the flood. Sliding down on the bed, she pulled indistinct and already disappearing into the soft mud.
the quilt around her shoulders. She should have got out And there on the porch, gnawed to whiteness, was what
when she could, while the roads were still open or was left of the ham.
before her boat was washed away. As she rocked back
and forth with the sway of the house, a deep ache in her Source: Louis Dollarhide, The Gift in Mississippi
stomach reminded her she hadnt eaten. She couldnt Writers: Reflections of Childhood and
remember for how long. Like the cat, she was starving. Youth,Volume I, edited by Dorothy Abbott,
University Press of Mississippi, 1985.

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 19


Use the story The Gift on the previous pages to answer the questions that follow. (Note that
line numbers are given in the margin of the story to help you find parts that are referred to in
the questions.)

Question 17: THE GIFT (R119Q09)


Reading task: Reflection and evaluation
Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal

Here is part of a conversation between two people who read The Gift:

Scoring Question 17
Score 2:
Answers that received score 1 for Speaker 1 AND
score 1 for Speaker 2.

Speaker 1 - heartless and cruel


Score 1
Answers that provide evidence from the story to
support the idea that the woman is heartless and
cruel. They may refer to her intention to shoot the
panther or to the fact that she actually shoots at
the panther. They may also use quotation or close
paraphrase. For example:
She tries to shoot the panther.
Shes cruel because her first thought is to kill the
panther.
Give evidence from the story to show
She laughs when she thinks about killing the cat.
how these speakers could justify their When she was eating she laughed at the cats
points of view. whining.
Speaker 1 And taking up the rifle she fired through the
window. [Quotation]

Score 0:
Answers that are insufficient or vague. For example:
Shes unkind to the panther.

OR:
Answers that show inaccurate comprehension of
the material or are implausible or irrelevant.
For example:
Shes cruel because she keeps the cat locked
Speaker 2 outside. [Implausible that she should do
otherwise, given the danger the cat represents
in the story]
He thinks that the woman should show more
compassion. [Irrelevant: explains what the boy
in the dialogue is saying, rather than referring to
the story]

20 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Speaker 2 compassionate It says she wanted to cry, for herself, for all the
people, for everything in the flood. [Quoted
Score 1: evidence of more general compassion]
Answers that provide evidence from the story to Score 0:
support the idea that the woman is compassionate. Answers that are insufficient or vague.
They may refer to her action in feeding the panther For example:
or to suggestions about her capacity for compas-
sion towards the panther or more generally. They She acts in a compassionate way.
may also use quotation or close paraphrase. For She is kind.
example:
OR:
Shes generous because she shares her food
with the cat. Answers that show inaccurate comprehension of
the material or are implausible or irrelevant.
She gives it ham. For example:
She took down what was left of the ham and She thinks that the woman was a loving person.
shoved it through the broken pane. [Quotation] [Irrelevant: explains what the girl in the dialogue
When she first hears the panther she thinks it is saying, rather than referring to the story]
sounds sad, not scary. [Evidence of capacity for
compassion towards the panther]

Question 18: THE GIFT (Rl19Q01)


Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 18
Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal Score 1:
What is the womans situation at the Answer C her house has been surrounded by
beginning of the story? flood waters.
A She is too weak to leave the house after days Score 0:
without food. Other answers
B She is defending herself against a wild animal.
C Her house has been surrounded by flood
waters.
D A flooded river has swept her house away.

Question 19: THE GIFT (R119Q07)

Reading task: Interpreting texts The answer was a repeated cry, but less shrill,
Text format: Continuous tired sounding ... (line 36)
Situation: Personal
She had ... heard their cries, like suffering, in
Here are some of the early references to the the distance. (lines 42-43)
panther in the story.
Considering what happens in the rest of the
the cry awoke her, a sound so anguished ... story, why do you think the writer chooses to
(line 27) introduce the panther with these descriptions?

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 21


Scoring Question 19 For example:
Because it creates suspense. You dont really
Score 2: know what was crying. (1)
Answers that recognize that the descriptions are It introduces the panther slowly. (1)
intended to evoke pity. Reference to the writers Its exciting. (1)
intention or effect on the reader may be stated or You dont know what it is, just like the woman.
implied. Reference to what happens in the rest of [Combination of (l) and (2)]
the story may also be stated or implied. Answers It describes the womans feelings about the
may suggest that panther. (2)
(1) the descriptions quoted link the panther with the
woman (or humans generally) in suffering; OR OR:
(2) the descriptions quoted prepare for the Answers that refer to the literal information given in
womans later compassionate behaviour towards the quoted descriptions. Comment is consistent
the panther; OR with comprehension of the text. Reference to the
(3) the panther is presented as an object of writers intention or effect on the reader may be
compassion stated or implied. References to what happens in
For example: the rest of the story may also be stated or implied.
The panther sounds almost like a human, so it is Answers may refer to
like the woman, and you feel sorry for both of (1) the realistic depiction of the panther OR
them. [Explicit reference to the link between the (2) the way the descriptions fit with the literal
panther and the woman/humans; (1) explicit setting and situation
reference to the effect on the reader] For example:
It makes you realize straight away that the The panther is a wild animal and wild animals
panther is also a victim of the flood. [Implicit cry. (1)
reference to the link between the panther and The panther was hungry, and these animals
humans in also (1); explicit reference to the make a noise when they are hungry. (1)
effect on the reader] She would notice the sounds it made because it
The woman seems to feel sorry for it before she was dark so she couldnt see it. (2)
knows what it is. [Links the extracts with the Hearing the panther now makes her remember
womans later compassionate behaviour (2), when she has heard one before. (2)
without explicit reference to intention or effect]
It makes you feel sorry for the panther. [Implied Score 0:
accurate understanding of the nuances of the Answers that are insufficient or vague.
descriptions (3); explicit reference to effect on For example:
reader] It makes it more interesting.
It sounds sad and distressed. [Implied It is strong descriptive language.
understanding of nuances of the descriptions
(3), with implicit reference to authors intention] OR:
Answers that show inaccurate comprehension of
Score 1 the material or are implausible or irrelevant.
Answers that refer to possible intentions (or effects) For example:
of the quoted descriptions other than that of evok-
The panther sounds vicious as though it is
ing pity. Comment is consistent with comprehen-
waiting to get her. [Implausible]
sion of the text. Reference to the writers intention
or effect on the reader may be stated or implied. These descriptions present the panther in such
References to what happens in the rest of the story a way as to frighten the reader. [Inaccurate]
may also be stated or implied. Answers may refer She is telling the story from the panthers point
to of view. [Inaccurate]
(1) the intention/effect of creating suspense or
mystery (note that such terms as frightening
and scary are considered to show lack of
comprehension of the quoted descriptions; and
interesting, easy to read and clear are not
sufficiently specific); OR
(2) the idea that the panther is presented from the
womans point of view.

22 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Question 20: THE GIFT (R119Q06)

Reading task: Retrieving information Scoring Question 20


Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal Score 1:
Answer B It began to float
Then creaking and groaning with effort the Score 0:
house struggled up ... (lines 2021) Other answers

What happened to the house in this part of


the story?
A It fell apart
B It began to float
C It crashed into the oak tree
D It sank to the bottom of the river

Question 21: THE GIFT (R119Q08)

Reading tasks: Interpreting texts She wasnt thinking what she was doing.
Text format: Continuous Out of whim.
Situation: Personal Instinct.
She didnt know.
What does the story suggest was the womans The story doesnt say.
reason for feeding the panther?
OR:
Scoring Question 21 Answers that are in terms of the panthers physical
need for food or help, without referring to the
Score 1: womans motivation. For example:
Answers that recognize the implication that the Because it was hungry.
woman is motivated by pity or empathy towards the Because it cried.
panther. They may also mention that the woman
does not consciously understand her own motiva- Score 0:
tion. For example: Answers that are insufficient or vague.
She felt sorry for it. OR:
Because she knew what it felt like to be hungry. Answers that show inaccurate comprehension of
Because shes a compassionate person. the material or are implausible or irrelevant. They
To help it live. may describe the womans motivation in terms of
self-protection or fear.
OR: For example:
Answers that recognize that the story does not She thought it would go away if she fed it.
explicitly explain the womans motivation and/or Because she was frightened of it.
that she does not consciously understand it. She wanted to make it her pet. [Implausible]
For example: To make friends with it. [Implausible]
Because she loved it. [Implausible]

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 23


Question 22: THE GIFT (R119Q04)

Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 22


Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal Score 1:
When the woman says and then Ill see to Answer C intending to shoot the cat
you (line 75) she means that she is Score 0:
A sure that the cat wont hurt her Other answers
B trying to frighten the cat
C intending to shoot the cat
D planning to feed the cat

Question 23: THE GIFT (R119Q05)


Reading task: Reflection and evaluation Scoring - Question 23
Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal Score 2:
Do you think that the last sentence of The Answers that go beyond a literal interpretation of
Gift is an appropriate ending? the story but are consistent with accurate
literal comprehension. They should evaluate the
Explain your answer, demonstrating your ending in terms of thematic completeness by relat-
understanding of how the last sentence relates ing the last sentence to central relationships,
issues or metaphors in the story. Answers may
to the storys meaning. refer, for example, to the relationship between the
panther and the woman; to survival; or to a gift or
thanks. Opinion about appropriateness may be
stated or implied. For example:
Yes. The story has brought the woman into
contact with what is really essential in life, and
the clean white bone is a symbol of that.
Yes. I suppose that what was left of the ham by
the panther was also a gift, the message being
live and let live.
Yes. The bone is like a gift, and that is the
theme of the story.
Yes. The ham bone reminds us of what could
have happened to the woman.
It is appropriate because the animal sort of
thanked her for the ham.

24 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


OR: Score 0:
Answers that go beyond a literal interpretation of Answers that are insufficient or vague.
the story but are consistent with accurate literal For example:
comprehension. They should evaluate the ending It is more than effective. It is really striking.
in terms of style or mood, by relating the last sen- No, the gift does not relate to the end.
tence to the general style or mood of the rest of the
No. It would be better to finish with something
story. Opinion about appropriateness may be stat-
more exciting. [Does not relate the ending to the
ed or implied. For example:
rest of the story]
Yes, it fits the matter-of-fact telling of the story.
It ends by describing the bone.
Yes, it continues the effect of something eerie.
No, it is too abrupt when most of the story is OR:
given in great detail. Answers that show inaccurate comprehension of
the material or are implausible or irrelevant.
Score 1: For example:
Literal answers, which interpret the story in a way Yes, it showed that it was all just a dream.
consistent with accurate literal comprehension. [Implausible]
They evaluate the ending in terms of narrative
No, because the reader does not know why the
sequence, by relating the last sentence to explicit
cat has vanished. [Indicates lack of
events, (e.g. the cat having eaten the meat; the
comprehension]
visit of the panther to the house; the subsiding of
the flood). Opinion about appropriateness may be
stated or implied. For example:
Yes, it gives you an answer to the question
whether the cat ate the food.
No. The part about the meat was already
finished.
It is finished because the meat is finished and so
is the story.
Yes. Now that the flood has subsided and it has
eaten the meat, there is no reason for the cat to
stay.
I think it was a good ending because it proves
that she had a panther on her porch.
[Understanding at a literal level that the events
in the story really happened]
No, it is not a suitable end, it was not a gift, but
it was very dangerous. [Indicates a wholly literal
reading]
It is appropriate to describe that it was after the
rain. [Reference to the end of the flood]

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 25


Reading Unit 6
AMANDA AND THE DUTCHESS
TEXT 1
AMANDA AND THE DUCHESS
Summary: Since Locadias death, the Prince, who was in love with her, has been inconsolable. At a shop called
Rsda Soeurs, the Duchess, who is the Princes aunt, has met a young shop assistant, Amanda, who looks amaz-
ingly like Locadia. The Duchess wants Amanda to help her set the Prince free from the memories that haunt him.
A crossroads in the castle grounds, a circular bench around a small obelisk ... evening is falling ...

AMANDA Listen ... its him! Just show yourself to him, leaning
against this little obelisk where he first met her. Let him
I still dont understand. What can I do for him, maam?
see you, even if its just this once; let him call out, take
I cant believe you could possibly have thought ... And
a sudden interest in this likeness, in this stratagem
why me? Im not particularly pretty. And even if some-
which I shall confess to him tomorrow and for which
one were very pretty who could suddenly come
he will hate me in anything but this dead girl wholl
between him and his memories like that?
take him away from me one of these days, Im sure...
(She has taken her by the arm.) You will do that, wont
THE DUCHESS you? I beg you most humbly, young lady. (She looks at
No one but you. her, beseechingly, and quickly adds) And then, that
way, youll see him too. And ... I can feel that Im
AMANDA, sincerely surprised blushing again from saying this to you life is just too
Me? mad! Thats the third time Ive blushed in sixty years,
and the second time in ten minutes youll see him;
THE DUCHESS and if he could ever (why not him, since hes handsome
The world is so foolish, my child. It sees only parades, and charming and he wouldnt be the first?) if he could
gestures, badges of office ... that must be why you have ever have the good fortune, for himself and for me, to
never been told. But my heart hasnt deceived me I take your fancy for one moment ... The bell again in the
almost cried out at Rsda Soeurs the first time I saw shadows, but very close now.
you. To someone who knew more of her than just her
public image, you are the living likeness of Locadia. AMANDA, in a whisper
A silence. The evening birds have now taken over from What should I say to him?
the afternoon birds. The grounds are filled with shad-
ows and twittering. THE DUCHESS, gripping her arm
Simply say Excuse me, Sir, can you tell me the way to
AMANDA, very gently the sea?
I really dont think I can, maam. I have nothing, I am She has hurried into the deeper shadows of the trees.
nothing, and those lovers ... that was my fancy, dont Just in time. There is a pale blur. It is the Prince on his
you see? bicycle. He passes very close to the pale blur of Aman-
She has got up. As if about to leave, she has picked up da by the obelisk. She murmurs.
her small suitcase.
AMANDA
THE DUCHESS, gently also, and very wearily Excuse me, Sir ...
Of course, my dear. I apologize. He stops, dismounts from the bicycle, takes off his hat,
She in turn gets up, with difficulty, like an old woman. and looks at her.
A bicycle bell is heard in the evening air; she gives a
start. THE PRINCE
Yes?

26 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


AMANDA THE DUCHESS
Can you tell me the way to the sea? It was dark ... And then, who knows what face he gives
her now, in his dreams? (She asks timidly) The last train
THE PRINCE has gone, young lady. In any case, wouldnt you like to
Take the second turning on your left. stay at the castle tonight?
He bows, sadly and courteously, gets back on the bicy-
cle and rides away. The bell is heard again in the dis-
AMANDA, in a strange voice
tance. The Duchess comes out of the shadows, very Yes, maam.
much an old woman. It is completely dark. The two of them can no longer be
seen in the shadows, and only the wind can be heard in
AMANDA, gently, after a while the huge trees of the grounds.
He didnt recognize me ...
THE CURTAIN FALLS
Source: Jean ANOUILH, Locadia (end of Scene II).
Published by LA TABLE RONDE, 1984.

TEXT 2
DEFINITIONS OF SOME THEATRICAL OCCUPATIONS
Actor: plays a character on stage. Props manager: in charge of finding the required
Director: controls and oversees all aspects of a props. The word props is used to mean
play. He not only positions the actors, arranges everything that can be moved: armchairs, letters,
their entrances and exits, and directs their lamps, bunches of flowers, etc. The sets and
acting, but also suggests how the script is to be costumes are not props.
interpreted. Sound technician: in charge of all sound effects
Wardrobe staff: produce the costumes from a required for the production. He is at the controls
model. during the show.
Set designer: designs models of the sets and Lighting assistant or lighting technician: in
costumes. These models are then transformed charge of lighting. He is also at the controls
into their full size in the workshop. during the show. Lighting is so sophisticated that
a well-equipped theatre can employ up to 10
lighting technicians.

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 27


On the previous two pages there are two texts. Text 1 is an extract from the play Locadia by
Jean Anouilh, and Text 2 gives definitions of theatrical occupations. Refer to the texts to
answer the questions that follow.

Question 24: AMANDA AND THE DUCHESS (R216Q01)


Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 24
Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal Score 1:
What is this extract from the play about? Answer C to get Amanda to make the Prince
forget his grief
The Duchess thinks of a trick
A to get the Prince to come and see her more Score 0:
often Other answers
B to get the Prince to make up his mind finally to
get married
C to get Amanda to make the Prince forget his
grief
D to get Amanda to come and live at the castle
with her

Question 25: AMANDA AND THE DUCHESS (R216Q02)


Reading task: Reflection and evaluation Handwriting
Text format: Continuous Writing in italics and also the use of brackets
Situation: Personal They are in a skinny type of writing
In the script of the play, in addition to the
words to be spoken by the actors, there are Score 0:
directions for the actors and theatre
Answers that are insufficient or vague.
technicians to follow. For example:
How can these directions be recognized in the Stage directions are in brackets. [Reference to
script? brackets is correct for some stage directions,
but the answer does not refer to italics]
Scoring Question 25 Written in a different style
Score 1: Another print
Answers that refer to italics. Allow non-technical OR:
descriptions. They may mention parentheses as Answers that show inaccurate comprehension of
well as italics. For example: the material or are implausible or irrelevant.
(They are in) italics For example:
Slanting writing Bold print [Inaccurate]
Like this: [Imitates italic style] Small print [Inaccurate]
By the director [Irrelevant]

28 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Question 26: AMANDA AND THE DUCHESS (R216Q03)
Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 26
Text format: Non-continuous
Situation: Personal Score 1:
The table below lists theatre technicians (Props manager) Answers that indicate suitcase
involved in staging this extract from Locadia. OR bicycle. They may quote a phrase from the
Complete the table by indicating one stage stage directions. For example:
Her small suitcase
direction from TEXT 1 that would require the Bicycle
involvement of each technician.
AND:
The first one has been done for you. (Sound technician) Answers that indicate bird song
OR (evening) birds OR twittering OR bicycle bell
Theatre Stage OR wind OR silence. They may quote a phrase
technicians direction from the stage directions. For example:
A bicycle bell is heard in the evening air
Set designer A circular bench
around a small obelisk Only the wind can be heard
Evening birds
Props manager The evening birds have now taken over
Sound technician
AND:
Lighting technician (Lighting technician) Answers that indicate
shadows OR pale blur OR [completely] dark OR
evening. For example:
The grounds are filled with shadows
The deeper shadows of the trees
Evening is falling
In the evening air

Score 0:
Other answers

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 29


Question 27: AMANDA AND THE DUCHESS (R216Q04)
Reading task: Retrieving information Scoring Question 27
Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal Score 1:
The director positions the actors on the stage. Answers that mark A by the obelisk and D behind
On a diagram, the director represents Amanda or near the trees. For example:
with the letter A and the Duchess with the
letter D. D D
Put an A and a D on the following diagram of
the set to show approximately where Amanda
and the Duchess are when the Prince arrives.

A A
Wings Wings
D

D D
Wings

A A

Score 0:
Other answers. For example:

A A
D
D

A
D X X

30 Preparing Students for PISA* Reading Literacy


Question 28:AMANDA AND THE DUCHESS (R216Q06)

Reading task: Interpreting texts Scoring Question 28


Text format: Continuous
Situation: Personal Score 1:
Towards the end of the extract from the play, Answer D that the Prince didnt notice that
Amanda says He didnt recognize me... . Amanda looked like Locadia

What does she mean by that?


Score 0:
Other answers
A that the Prince didnt look at Amanda
B that the Prince didnt realize that Amanda was a
shop assistant
C that the Prince didnt realize that hed already
met Amanda
D that the Prince didnt notice that Amanda looked
like Locadia

Reading Literacy Preparing Students for PISA* 31