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City & Guilds IESOL

Sample Writing Tasks at C2 Mastery level


Introduction
The aim of this booklet is to familiarize teachers who prepare candidates for the City and Guilds ESOL
examinations with tasks, performance samples, assessment criteria and benchmark performance samples.
The tasks and performance samples in the current material represent level C2 according to the Common
European Framework of Reference. The CEFR levels and descriptors are embedded in every stage of the
production and delivery of the International ESOL and Spoken ESOL tests and are also incorporated in the
marking procedures.
The material includes sample tasks from former live tests and authentic performance samples produced by
ESOL candidates. An attempt has been made to select samples which represent a wide variety of performance
levels within the given CEFR level. All samples have been double marked to ensure that the evaluation criteria
are rigorously followed and marking is consistent, accurate and reliable.

Marking the writing tasks


The current guide includes only the open writing tasks which are evaluated with the help of task-specific mark
schemes.
Each level has a task-specific mark scheme with descriptors for Task fulfilment, Grammar, Vocabulary and
Structure. The Task fulfilment mark reflects how far the candidate has achieved the task, the Grammar mark
measures the range, appropriacy and accuracy of grammar, the Vocabulary mark assesses the range,
accuracy and appropriacy of vocabulary as well as spelling accuracy. The Structure mark reflects how
coherently ideas are linked in the text and how accurate the punctuation is.
There are four levels of performance with a corresponding mark in each of the above criteria: First Class Pass,
Pass, Narrow Fail and Fail. The total marks awarded for the task are the sum of the marks awarded to each
criterion.
The writing tasks are marked by trained markers who use the task-specific mark scheme for the evaluation of
the tasks. The mark-schemes are regularly updated and markers are trained regularly to ensure that they are
marking to standard.

Grading the Writing section


If a task has not been attempted, a zero mark should be awarded for that task.
Once each Writing task has been marked, an overall mark is awarded for the Writing section. This overall mark
is translated into one of the following grades: Fail, Narrow Fail, Pass or First Class Pass

Maximum marks for each writing task


Part 1 respond appropriately to a given input to produce a formal Maximum mark: 12
response for an intended public audience
Part 2 produce a personal letter, a narrative or descriptive Maximum mark: 12
composition

Grade table for Writing section for C2

Grade Total marks: 24

FCP 20-24

PASS 12-19

NF 11

F 0-10
Spelling and capitalisation
American spelling is accepted if used consistently. Inappropriate use of capital letters is generally not penalised
unless spelling is the focus of the task.

Over and under length answers


The Task Fulfilment criterion with seriously under length answers will probably attract a score of 1 or 0 as there
will most likely be no or little expansion of the topic.
Answers which are seriously over length are awarded one mark less for the Task Fulfilment criterion than
would otherwise have been awarded.

Writing - Tasks
Mastery Level – (C2)

Writing 1: respond appropriately to a given input 200-250 words


to produce a formal response for an intended
public audience

Writing 2: produce a personal letter, a narrative 250-300 words


or descriptive composition

Writing –Marking
CEFR Overall Written Can write clear and smoothly flowing complex texts in an appropriate
Production descriptors and effective personal style conveying finer shades of meaning. Can
use a logical structure which helps the reader to find significant points.
C2

CEFR descriptors related to assessment criteria

Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure

Can write clear, Maintains Shows great flexibility Can create


smoothly flowing and consistent and in formulating ideas coherent and
fully engrossing highly accurate in differing linguistic cohesive texts
stories and grammatical forms to convey finer making full and
descriptions of control of even shades of meaning appropriate use
C2
experience in a style the most precisely, to give of a variety of
appropriate to the complex emphasis and to organisational
genre adopted. language eliminate ambiguity. patterns and a
forms. Errors Also has a good wide range of
are rare and command of connectors and
concern rarely- idiomatic expressions other cohesive
used forms. and colloquialisms. devices.
Marking Writing Part 1
Writing a neutral or formal response to a written, graphic or visual input for a public audience: 200-250 words.

Public Version Mark scheme C2 - Part 1

Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure


Advanced range Excellent use of
3 Completely satisfies Advanced range of
of vocabulary cohesive & coherent
the demands of the grammar used with
First Class used with clarity, devices. No errors in
task, with excellent clarity, assurance
Pass assurance and punctuation which
expansion & support. and precision.
precision. affect meaning.
Satisfies the overall
Broad range of Cohesive & coherent
2 demands of the task, Broad range of
vocabulary used text adequately using
with adequate grammar used with
Pass with no impeding a range of linguistic
expansion of the no impeding errors.
errors. devices.
topic.
Attempts to use
Relatively narrow linguistic devices
Partially satisfies the Relatively narrow
1 range of though not always
demands of the task, range of grammar
vocabulary used, consistent. Only few
Narrow Fail with little expansion used with some
with some punctuation errors
of the topic. impeding errors.
impeding errors. which affect
meaning.
Only a Lacks cohesion
Does not satisfy the Only a rudimentary rudimentary and/or uses linguistic
0 demands of the task, range of grammar range of devices
with no expansion of used. Many errors, vocabulary used. inappropriately.
Fail the topic OR off often difficult to Many errors, Many punctuation
topic. follow. often difficult to errors which affect
follow. meaning.
Marking Writing Part 2
Free writing to produce a text using informal language: 250-300 words.

Public Version Mark scheme C2 - Part 2

Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure


Advanced range Excellent use of
3 Completely satisfies Advanced range of
of vocabulary cohesive & coherent
the demands of the grammar used with
First Class used with clarity, devices. No errors in
task, with excellent clarity, assurance
Pass assurance and punctuation which
expansion & support. and precision.
precision. affect meaning.
Satisfies the overall
Broad range of Cohesive & coherent
2 demands of the task, Broad range of
vocabulary with text adequately using
with adequate grammar with no
Pass no impeding a range of linguistic
expansion of the impeding errors.
errors. devices.
topic.
Attempts to use
Relatively narrow linguistic devices
Partially satisfies the Relatively narrow
1 range of though not always
demands of the task, range of grammar
vocabulary used, consistent. Only few
Narrow Fail with little expansion used with some
with some punctuation errors
of the topic. impeding errors.
impeding errors. which affect
meaning.
Only a Lacks cohesion
Does not satisfy the Only a rudimentary rudimentary and/or uses linguistic
0 demands of the task, range of grammar range of devices
with no expansion of used. Many errors, vocabulary used. inappropriately.
Fail the topic OR off often difficult to Many errors, Many punctuation
topic. follow. often difficult to errors which affect
follow. meaning.
Sample answers and scores with examiner’s comments
C2 Mastery Writing Part 1
Write a report for the school management committee on declining standards in exam results in physics,
chemistry and mathematics. Please use the figures provided and comment on the possible reasons and
solutions given below.
Write between 200 and 250 words.
School results 2006 - 2008
2006 2007 2008
Physics 82% 77% 71%
Chemistry 76% 61% 52%
Mathematics 40% 42% 33%

Possible reasons:
High turnover of teachers.
Lack of resources and facilities.
Science perceived as difficult and unexciting.
Possible solutions:
Rethink approach to teacher recruitment.
Raise awareness of practical benefits of science subjects.
Develop IT lab and other attractive resources.

Sample answer 1
As ordered in the previous management team meeting, attached is the report of the declining standards in
exam results in the school.
After thorough investigation, we have came up with the possible reasons for the decline in performance in
the school. The subjects affected are Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. In Physics the average score in
2006 was 82% which went down to 77% in 2007 and finally 71% in 2008. Chemistry has seen a drop from
76% , 61% and finally 52%. Mathematics has been worst hit. The initial score was 40% which went up
slightly to 42% and dropped to 33% in 2008.
At the end of the survey, we came up with three possible reasons and their solutions to this problem. The
first one is the high turnover of teachers. The management should try hard to retain the teachers as a high
turnover affects students’ performance. This can be done by use of incentives or by rethinking the approach
to teacher recruitment.
The second reason is the lack of resources and facilities. The school needs and up to date lab for the students
to enjoy learning sciences. Investing in a state-of-art IT lab and other lab resources we not only make the
subject easier for the students but also make learning a science subject fun and attractive.
Student’s attitude towards sciences is another reason for poor performance. This mostly affects girls who
think that sciences are for men. The school should raise awareness of the benefits of these subjects and
encourage girls to take up science subjects. With regular teachers and state-of-art laboratories, I am sure that
we will not only have good results but also more girls enrolling in sciences related courses.

Score
Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure Total
3 3 3 3 12

Examiner’s comments
An excellent answer which deserves full marks. It expands on the topic, offering logical reasoning with
sophisticated vocabulary. There is a variety of structures as well as synonyms used to describe the
situation. Ideas from the input are reworded and developed into a fluent and coherent text in the right
neutral style.
Sample answer 2
The Declining Standards in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics
Exam results from 2006-2008
Standards of exam results in the subjects physics, chemistry and mathematics have been declining since your
2006 to the year 2008. The school used to have 78% passes for playsies in the year 2006. But the standard
lowered 5% in the year 2007 and went down another 6% in 2008 at 71% only. As for chemistry, there was a
rapid decline from 76% to 61% in the year 2007. The standard dropped by another 9% in the year 2008. The
school’s standard of mathematics is the lowest among the three subjects. Starting at 40% in 2006, there was
a slight rise to 42% in 2007 before dropping to 33% in the year 2008.
There are many different reasons that resulted to the decline of standard in the three subjects. Since 2006,
there has been a high turnover of teachers in the school. It was due to the government’s offer at higher pay to
master holders to be lecturers of the local universities. The senior students blame it on the lack of resources
and facilities. Students claim that the library is more language bless and the science labs lack of new
technologically savvy apparatus. On the other hand, the junior perceived science as difficult and unexciting
as their elder siblings struggle to make it through for all the science subjects and they are not exposed to the
various benefits of studying sciences.
Among the possible solutions to this problem is that the management should reconsider approach of teacher
recruitment. The management should stress on the teacher’s passion in the subject and teaching before
recruiting new teachers. Awareness on the practical benefits of science subjects via science field trips to the
science centre should be done. The school management should also develop the science labs with more new
science tools to expose hands on learning in science to students. The library should also be introducing more
science-related books to stimulate minds of students in the science subjects.

Score
Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure Total
2 2 2 2 8

Examiner’s comments
The answer expands on the topic, even goes over length. The candidate apparently relies on solid
background knowledge (and/or creative thinking) to give substantial comments on the situation, which
earns them the maximum score on content. There are a variety of grammar structures well selected for
the task and used with assurance. The answer demonstrates command of a sophisticated lexical range
with plenty of synonyms to describe the changes in figures. At the same time there are some turns
which lack clarity (the labs are more language bless) or precision (e.g. word order in “expose hands-on
learning to students’). Similarly, the mistakes in prepositions and particles (offer at, approach to,
awareness on) do not interfere with the communicative value but had better be avoided at this level.
However, the text is coherent and cohesive with a variety of complex structures and linking devices.
Sample answer 3
Examination result is very important to an individual and the school either because it identified ones
qualification or a prove to the others. Everybody wants to score flying colours in their examination especially
in certain important subjects towards an individual. According to the school results in year 2006 to your
2008, three subjects have fluctuated uncontrolleable. These subjects are Physics, Chemistry and
Mathematics. Percentage of Physics and Chemistry are decreasing dramatically while Mathematics has rose
up in year 2007 dropped again in the following year.
I personally think school management should decline the standard sin examination results in these three
subjects. We should encourage the students to score and study harder for the up coming examinations. Most
of the students felt hopeless and started to gave up when they saw unsatisfied results in every semesters.
Overall, the possible reasons of decreasing marks may be high turnover of teachers. A sudden changes of
teaching methods will make the students hard to understand and cope up with the lessons. Secondly,
students cannot fully understand or confused about experiment and solving problems if the school were lack
of resources and facilities such as (several) laboratory, materials and apparatus. Thirdly, I personally feel
science is a hard subject, yet science was perceived as difficult and unexciting. Most of the students felt
bored and some even fell aslept in the classroom.
However, I have come up with some possible solutions such as rethink approach to teacher recruitment.
Make a teachers meeting and discuss a method of teaching which is useful to students. Then, frequently do
science practical as if helps students to involves under circumstances and easily understand and it kills the
boredom. Moreover, it is essential to develop an IT lab and other attractive resources because it can be very
useful in doing research for both parties. The school look empty too without resources and important
facilities.
All in all, information above is given for the future usage and I hope it will helps and regarding to the
results, declining standards can be acceptable and reasonable.

Score
Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure Total
1 1 1 1 4

Examiner’s comments
Inadequate attempt. There are numerous errors and frequent agreement and tense problems even in
the simple structures and basic vocabulary. The text lacks clear logical organization and the author fails
to provide well-developed arguments and explanation for the data given in the prompt.
Sample answers and scores with examiner’s comments
C2 Mastery Writing Part 2

‘No man is an island,


Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.’
John Donne (1572-1631)
Write a composition, describing how this philosophy affects, or does not affect, the way in which you lead your
daily life. Write between 250 and 300 words.

Sample answer 1
It is true that no man is an island. This is a philosophy I strongly believe in and our everyday life is a
practical example. Would one go through a whole day without help from a fellow man? No, I do not think
so. We all need other people, one way or another. It does not matter if we believe it, the fact is we do!
I personally try to live a simple life. There is nothing extraordinary about how I live my life. But I can not
imagine a life without the local newspaper man, or my favourite bus driver. If these people were not in my
life, how whould I do the simple yet important things that they so faithfully do for me everymorning? Each
person has a part to play in every situation and when one is not there then it becomes difficult. Life, in my
opinion is like a jogsaw puzzle. When one piece goes missing then puzzle is incomplete.
I did not believe it his philosophy all my life. You could say as the years went by, I grew wiser and I learnt
some of life’s greatest lessons. Like every other day, I got up at half past five and had my regular class of
apple juice. I do not know what exactly kep my busy but I got out of the house twenty minutes after my
usual time. I could not believe how stupid I had been. Anyway, as if that wasn’t bad enough, my car didn’t
start! I was horrified! I had an important meething in 40 minutes and my car was acting up? Of course I
panicked because my boss would have my hide if I got late. So I half walked, half ran to pick up a bus. After
what seemed like an eternity my favourite bus came along and thankfully there ewas only one seat left. The
ride into town was not as comfortable as in my car but at least I did get to work on time. It was that
Monday morning experience that made me realise that no man is an island.

Score
Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure Total
3 2 2 3 10

Examiner’s comments
The answer is an impressive combination of general ideas described in a convincing formal style and a
personal experience presented in a humorous, chatty way. Thus it elaborates on the topic from different
angles. A wide range of grammar structures are used with assurance, with only a few careless
mistakes. Lexically it is relevant and varied but mostly uses colloquial spoken English.
Sample answer 2
When we were young, our parents always tell us that we should make friends with others and always help
each other. I admit that in the beginning I mixed with other people because of my parents asked me to do so.
However, as I grew up, I found that this philosophy is totally true. No man is an island. Humans should
always communicate with each other and concerned about each other in order to create a peaceful and lovely
world.
In school, I mix around with different kind of people. I never keep myself to myself. I have Malay, Indian
and Chinese friends. I’got a lot of benefits from the way I lead my life. I know their cultures well and I can
even cook some of their traditional food. People always asking me how can I know many other races’ culture
even I am a chinese. My answer is always the same, that is I believe that there is a strong bond between
humans, no one can escape from this bond. So, why don’t we make the bond stronger? My friends and I
always help each other when we face problems in our studies. We learn from each other. In the end, the
knowledge that I posses is doubled! If you make yourself become an isolated island, at last you will be the
one who lose.
At home, I will say hello when I meet my neighbours. Sometimes, I will also share my books or video disc
with them. As a result, they help us to take cares of our house when we went to our hometown during
Chinese New Year. Because of this philosophy too, I never quarrell with my siblings. I take cares of my
brothers when my parents is busy doing their works. Besides, I also teach them when they don’t understand
in their studies. With this, I release some of my parents’ burden.
The reason of why is this philosophy can be passed down fro centuries is because it is really true and we
should remember it no matter where we are. For instance, when you cannot find the way to the destination
that you intend to go, you should ask for the way. If you think you can be an island without the help of
others, then you will list in the place which is far away from your destination.
As a conclusion, this philosophy teach us the way to lead our life so that we can live better and happier. We
should pass it down to our next generation.

Score
Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure Total
2 2 2 2 8

Examiner’s comments
The script presents a central idea with mostly relevant details, but the relationship among ideas is not
always clearly signalled. The text starts with a recognizable beginning that is not particularly interesting
and ends with a conclusion that may lack sophistication expected at the level. The structures are fairly
simple and efforts to produce more complex sentences are usually not successful.
Sample answer 3
’No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main!’ This philosophy
does not affect the way I lead my life. Women can lead their life in to a successful business women. This also
same as men. We don’t need to worry about children’s educational problem and you can live without your
own families burden.
Moreover, you can take good care at your parents as they grow you up, your mother born you out and they
educate you. Spending time with them is more important than anything else. They educate you by giving the
best education, search the best tuition centre and school for you. You might make them disappoint before,
but they never blame you with it but care about you and care of you.
Next, there will be not financial problem. If you are staying alone or with your parent, you’ll just need to
have the financial that manage to support yourself and your parents. Some women loves shopping so do man.
They can spend more money in themself or on their parents.
On the other hand, you’ll have more freedom to do whatever you want to do. You might have some time
spending on future study or learning a language when you’re working. Other than this, you also can meet
more people through friends or come public event. Human love to be free but not tied by people especially you
grow older and older.
As a conclusion, they way I lead my life would not affect by this philosophy affects. It’s better to be ourself
and keep it to the way we lead our life.

Score
Task Fulfilment Grammar Vocabulary Structure Total
1 1 2 1 5

Examiner’s comments
The text starts with a poor beginning and the conceptually unlinked paragraphs consist of sentences
that are confusing. The script contains serious errors which interfere with the reader’s understanding of
the writing.