Assessment for Certification

Assessment in senior cycle takes different forms and is used for a variety of purposes. It is used to determine the appropriate route for learners through a differentiated curriculum, to identify specific areas of difficulty or strength for a given learner and to test and certify language achievement. Assessment supports and improves learning by helping learners and teachers to identify next steps in the language teaching and learning process.

As well as varied teaching strategies, varied assessment strategies will support language learning and provide information that can be used as feedback so that teaching and learning activities can be modified in ways that best suit individual learners. By setting appropriate and engaging language tasks, asking higher order questions and giving feedback that promotes learner autonomy, assessment will support language learning and summarise achievement.

Assessment for certification in Leaving Certificate Mandarin Chinese is based on the aims, objectives and learning outcomes of this specification. In any year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will constitute a sample of the outcomes from both strands. 

The key skills of senior cycle are embedded in the learning outcomes and will be assessed in the context of the learning outcomes.

Assessment will focus on students’ ability to use language effectively with accuracy and fluency appropriate to the age and stage of learning on understanding Mandarin Chinese as a linguistic system, on manipulating it for a range of communicative purposes, on the ability to develop their awareness as language users and their understanding of the interdependence of language and culture. 

Assessment components 
Leaving Certificate Mandarin Chinese will be assessed through three assessment components: 

  • an oral examination 
  • an aural examination
  • a written examination.

Each component will be administered and assessed by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). All components of assessment will reflect the integrated approach outlined in this specification. 

There are two levels of examination: Ordinary level and Higher level, to which a differentiated allocation of marks will apply, as outlined below. 

The different mark allocation applied to Ordinary and Higher levels is based on the understanding that for most language learners, the development of receptive skills outpaces the development of productive skills during the process of language learning. Therefore, a greater proportion of the marks are allocated to receptive tasks at Ordinary level and to productive and interactive tasks at Higher level.

Assessment component Ordinary level Higher level
Oral examination 30% 35%
Aural examination 30% 25%
Written examination 25% Reading / 15% Writing 20% Reading / 20% Writing

 

Oral examination   

The oral examination will assess language proficiency. It will focus, in part, on discussion about the Language Portfolio.


The oral examination will specifically assess learners’ ability to: 

  • use the target language with accuracy, fluency and complexity consistent with the requirements of the specification, while engaging in spoken reception, interaction, production and mediation 
  • demonstrate an awareness of the target language communities and cultures
  • discuss a sample of texts from their Language Portfolio which reflect the plurilingual and pluricultural dimensions of their language learning journey. 

GENERAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA: ORAL COMPONENT

High level of achievement Moderate level of achievement Low level of achievement
is characterised by a good level of accuracy, fluency, coherence and a basic range of vocabulary for very basic communicative scenarios. is characterised by a moderate level of accuracy, fluency, coherence and a limited range of vocabulary for very basic communicative scenarios. is characterised by a limited level of accuracy, fluency, coherence and a minimum range of vocabulary for very basic communicative scenarios.
The learners’ range of vocabulary and structures allows them to ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate needs or very familiar topics. The learners’ range of vocabulary and structures allows them to ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate needs or very familiar topics with limited effectiveness. The learners’ range of vocabulary and structures allows them to ask and answer very simple questions in areas of immediate needs or very familiar topics with minimum effectiveness.
Learners can understand, present and offer basic information and simple views. Learners can understand, present and offer basic information and very simple views with indications of requiring assistance in communication. Learners can understand, present, offer very basic information and very simple views.
Learners can interact in a simple way in a conversation of very familiar situations and topics, in a context where the other party of the communication is aware of the level of the learner and is prepared to assist the communication with necessary repeating or rephrasing things at a slower rate of speech upon request in the target language. Learners can interact in a simple way in a conversation of very familiar situations and topics, in a context where the other party of the communication is prepared to assist the communication with occasional repeating or rephrasing and repair things at a slower rate of speech. Learners can interact in a very basic way in a conversation of very familiar situations and topics. However, the comprehension, expression and communication are largely dependent on repetition, rephrasing and repair by all parties of the communication.
Learners can demonstrate awareness and understanding of cultures associated with the target language, appropriate to their stage of learning. Learners can demonstrate a limited awareness and understanding of cultures associated with the target language, appropriate to their stage of learning. The learners’ awareness of cultures associated with the target language is very basic or generally overlooked.

 

Aural and written examination  

The aural and written examination papers will consist of two components and be presented at Higher and Ordinary level. 

  • The first component (aural examination) will assess listening reception and mediation.
  • The second component (written examination) will assess written reception, written production and mediation. 

GENERAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA: AURAL COMPONENT

High level of achievement Moderate level of achievement Low level of achievement
is characterised by the learners’ ability to recognise and understand familiar words and very basic phrases and expressions concerning daily life and/or immediate communicative contexts. is characterised by the learners’ ability to recognise and understand most familiar words and very basic phrases and expressions concerning daily life and/or immediate communicative contexts. Is characterised by the learners’ ability to recognise and understand some familiar and predictable words and very basic phrases and expressions concerning daily life and/or immediate communicative contexts.
Learners can find specific and predictable information and demonstrate a good understanding of the main point of the message, providing information is delivered slowly and clearly and/or repeated. Learners can find some specific and predictable information and catch the main point of the message, providing information is delivered slowly and clearly and/or repeated. Learners can catch the main point of the message, providing information is delivered slowly and clearly and/or repeated.
Learners can use very basic phrases and simple non-verbal expressions to convey simple and predictable information effectively. Learners can use very basic and short phrases and simple non-verbal expressions to convey simple and predictable information. Learners can use very limited basic and short phrases and a few repeated simple non-verbal expressions to convey simple and predictable information.
Learners can demonstrate some awareness of cultural conventions associated with the target language. Learners can demonstrate a limited awareness of cultural conventions associated with the target language. Learners’ awareness of cultural conventions is very basic or generally overlooked.

GENERAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA: WRITTEN COMPONENT

High level of achievement Moderate level of achievement Low level of achievement
is characterised by the learners’ ability to convey simple information and very general views through a series of simple phrases and sentences that are linked with a good sense of core ideas and necessary connectors to form a basic level of coherence. is characterised by the learners’ ability to convey very simple information and very general views through the use of simple isolated phrases and sentences and occasional connectors to form a very basic level of coherence. is characterised by the learners’ ability to convey very limited basic information and very general views through the use of very simple isolated phrases and sentences. Communication effectiveness may be impaired due to insufficient coherence or missing components of the produced written information.
Learners can understand very short and simple texts and can find specific information in very simple everyday texts. Learners can understand very short and simple texts and can find some specific and predictable information in very simple and familiar everyday texts. Learners can catch the main point of very short and simple texts and can find a few specific and predictable pieces of information in very simple and familiar everyday texts.
Learners demonstrate an awareness of the cultural conventions associated with the target language and can reflect such awareness with very simple and limited expressions in produced written information. Learners demonstrate a limited awareness of the cultural conventions associated with the target language, while such awareness is rarely reflected or is misinterpreted in produced written information. Learners demonstrate very little or no awareness of the cultural conventions associated with the target language, and such awareness is generally not reflected in their produced written information.