GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

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GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby slmkhoo » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:42 am

I have a daughter taking A levels this year. I have some questions about this "paraphrasing" issue in GP - how strict are the rules about reusing words that appear in the passage? What if the author uses a synonym in another part of the passage but not in the sentence being paraphrased - can that word be used? Can a variant of that word be used? eg. success, succeed, successful. If the passage uses a wide variety of words, I find that the need to avoid words used in the passage makes for stilted, unclear writing, and makes it very hard to convey meaning in a natural and concise way. Surely we don't want our students to write convoluted, ugly prose just to avoid using words in the passage?

How strictly do markers stick to answer keys for the actual A level exams? How broadly are the answer keys drawn up? Where are the papers marked? Singapore or UK? I find that my daughter is being penalised because she tends not to say things in the way the school answer key is drawn up. She has learning disabilities which make her see the world a bit differently and with poorer understanding so I don't expect her to do well, but this issue is causing her to fail GP, when I would think she should be able to scrape an E, at least.

I have tried to talk to the school teachers, but I find that they are very "sorry, we need to stick to the answer key" types which isn't very encouraging. Thanks for any advice!

slmkhoo
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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby rains » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:52 am

Hi slmkhoo,

Hope my limited sharing could shed some light. I believe GP tutors are not about to share certain information too freely in a public forum.

Except for Chinese papers which are marked locally, the rest of the papers are marked in the UK.

My GP tutor cautioned us against writing against single motherhood as some of these markers could be single mothers trying to make extra money for their livelihood. We were also reminded to use black pens as the papers could be marked in winter and black ink is easier on the eyes.

As for paraphrasing, my info might be outdated or irrelevant now but I thought I would just share my experience. I would use a variant of the word if I needed to but I would change the structure of my sentence to show that I was using my own words, instead of just doing word-substitution.

GP requires one to be concise so you would be penalised if you write run-on or convulated sentences. My tutor said when we write run-on sentences, it shows a poor grasp of the language and the inability to express your thoughts in a succinct manner.

When you say your child does not say things in the way the school answer key is drawn up, are you talking about the compre part? If it is, will attempting more practices help?

I believe most parents in this forum who have gone through the local A level system should be able to help except for the specific answer key question. Hope some other parents jump in soon :)

rains
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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby Joy of Learning 111 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:54 am

slmkhoo wrote:how strict are the rules about reusing words that appear in the passage? What if the author uses a synonym in another part of the passage but not in the sentence being paraphrased - can that word be used? Can a variant of that word be used? eg. success, succeed, successful.

a. how strict are the rules about reusing words that appear in the passage?

The strict requirement is that key words are paraphrased. Non-key words can be lifted.

b. What if the author uses a synonym in another part of the passage but not in the sentence being paraphrased - can that word be used?

Yes.

c. Can a variant of that word be used? eg. success, succeed, successful.

There are two types of paraphrasing: semantic, which is use of synonyms; and syntactic, which is grammatical manipulation and conjugation. Students are expected to be able to utilise both as appropriate. Your examples of a variant would come under syntactic.
Last edited by Joy of Learning 111 on Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby Joy of Learning 111 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:05 am

rains wrote:My GP tutor cautioned us against writing against single motherhood as some of these markers could be single mothers trying to make extra money for their livelihood.


A marker's personal biases are irrelevant and will be picked up pretty quickly by moderators.

rains wrote:GP requires one to be concise so you would be penalised if you write run-on or convulated sentences. My tutor said when we write run-on sentences, it shows a poor grasp of the language and the inability to express your thoughts in a succinct manner.

Run-on sentences is just one of many grammatical issues with some students. Errors can be as basic as simple subject-verb agreement. Some students also have vocabulary issues, for example use of colloquialisms, misspellings and incorrect usage.

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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby Joy of Learning 111 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:18 am

slmkhoo wrote:How strictly do markers stick to answer keys for the actual A level exams? How broadly are the answer keys drawn up?


Are you talking about content or language or both? The content is pretty strict; the language is less strict in that there is more than one way to paraphrase.

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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby slmkhoo » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:59 pm

Joy of Learning 111 wrote:
slmkhoo wrote:How strictly do markers stick to answer keys for the actual A level exams? How broadly are the answer keys drawn up?


Are you talking about content or language or both? The content is pretty strict; the language is less strict in that there is more than one way to paraphrase.

Both!

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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby Joy of Learning 111 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:32 pm

slmkhoo wrote:Both!


Content: The various short questions, whether content-based or inferential (intention, tone, irony and paradox, vocabulary, punctuation marks etc), require pretty precise and constrained answers; there is virtually no margin for someone who sees the world differently. Your daughter’s different view of the world possibly may, however, come into play in the Application Question where evaluative skills and personal insight are valued, although she should not go too much out on a limb.

Language: See my earlier comments on paraphrasing.

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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby slmkhoo » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:17 am

Joy of Learning 111 wrote:
slmkhoo wrote:Both!


Content: The various short questions, whether content-based or inferential (intention, tone, irony and paradox, vocabulary, punctuation marks etc), require pretty precise and constrained answers; there is virtually no margin for someone who sees the world differently. Your daughter’s different view of the world possibly may, however, come into play in the Application Question where evaluative skills and personal insight are valued, although she should not go too much out on a limb.

Language: See my earlier comments on paraphrasing.

She does poorly on all questions! She doesn't evaluate well either, so usually loses a lot of marks on the AQ. Really not sure how to help her.

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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby Joy of Learning 111 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:11 am

slmkhoo wrote:She does poorly on all questions! She doesn't evaluate well either, so usually loses a lot of marks on the AQ. Really not sure how to help her.


Engage a private tutor.

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Re: GP teachers/tutors - please help with advice!

Postby slmkhoo » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:59 pm

Joy of Learning 111 wrote:
slmkhoo wrote:She does poorly on all questions! She doesn't evaluate well either, so usually loses a lot of marks on the AQ. Really not sure how to help her.


Engage a private tutor.

I'm looking for one, but it has to be someone who is prepared to deal with a weak student with some learning disabilities. Lots of patient repetition and explanation required, lots of encouragement, and no pressure to get "good" grades. I thought the individual attention from her teachers who have taken her for 1-on-1 a few times would be sufficient, but apparently not. If you have a recommendation, please let me know.

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