Weightage (%) of Writing Components
Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE)
1 hour 10 minutes
Secondary/ English Language
Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level
1 hour 50 minutes
Pre-university/ General Paper
Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level Higher 1
1 hour 30 minutes
Following the typical education path a child takes in Singapore, from primary to secondary before pre-university/college to university, we see an increased emphasis on the need to acquire good writing skills; to develop a good narrative within a word limit in a stipulated time frame, as observed in the table above.
The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina suggests that ‘the act of writing, beyond putting pen to paper, is linear in its creation of logical relationships that develops an idea into something meaningful that someone else may receive and perhaps find interesting (The Writing Center, 2020)’. More than reiterating a series of events in chronological order, good writing shows clarity and coherence when finding a close match between language expression and writer intention. Hence, the writing process integrates well with the learning of grammar in context to the various text types, including texts written by the writer/student himself/herself.
The extract below shows the published Cambridge IGCSE May/June 2019 mark scheme/rubrics for the grading of the Language component in the Writing paper.
Highly accurate writing, apart from very occasional slips.
Appropriateness and Content
Beyond a wide range of exuberant vocabulary and the accurate use of spelling and punctuation, readers/examiners look for descriptive language and occasional use of literary devices to help sustain reader attention. Rather than ploughing through a vast variety of isolated grammatical concepts, a student may find it more effective to focus on those elements which are ‘essential for the clear communication of meaning (Chin, 2000)’, especially for his/her preferred text type or writing style.
In the upcoming articles, we will explore “Grammar Rules!”, a context-based approach to learning grammar, written by Tanya Gibb based on the award-winning series Grammar Rules! 2nd Edition by Macmillan Science and Education Australia Pty Ltd and discover how the series can boost your child’s writing skills. Stay tuned!
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