THE Education Department acknowledges the opinion expressed by writer “Concerned Student, POM”, that appeared in The National in the Opinion section of Aug 4, claiming the recent Grade 12 Written Expression examination question one as being unfair.
The written expression exam consists of two questions: the first one is an argumentative essay writing piece and the second is a creative or imaginative writing piece.
Question one requires candidates to express their opinions on an aspect of a given topic.
The topic is usually disclosed to the candidates a week before the exam.
Every effort is made to choose a topic that is not biased or discriminatory considering the candidates’ different subject combinations and localities of our schools.
The topic disclosed comes in the resource booklet which contains instructions for candidates and resource materials.
The booklet contains some relevant articles on the chosen topic.
The candidates are not limited to the contents of the booklet and are encouraged to consult other sources as well.
The candidates were to prepare to express and justify their opinions on an aspect of the topic, forming justifiable and informed views on the topic.
The topic for this year was “Covid-19 and its impact in Papua New Guinea and parts of the world”.
The first question asked for the candidate’s opinion on the nationwide testing and vaccination for all school teachers and students next year.
The question was testing the skill of argumentative writing and candidates were expected to present their views in a logical manner either in a positive or negative way, whether they agreed or disagreed with the given statement.
This was all the first question was asking for. The questions are usually deliberated on at the marking conference and the panel decides the best criteria for marking.
The panel comprises of selected grade 12 English teachers from around the country who will be marking the written expression scripts in the coming week together with the chief examiners for English language and literature.
The Written Expression examination accounts for 30 per cent of the English language and literature external marks while the objective examination makes up the remaining 70 per cent.
Despite the writer’s opinion about question one, the examination is testing language usage, particularly in an argumentative writing and logical presentation of reasons and arguments.
Department of Education,