Exploring exams under revised curriculum (Part 7)
Published On July 2, 2016 » 2344 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Features
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Talking EducationLAST week, I discussed changes that have been made to business subjects (Commerce and Principles of Accounts) in terms of examinations paper-structure and changes in the syllabi.
I discussed that the changes have been minimal for both subjects. This week I am exploring the changes that have been made to language subjects.  Just to cement on what I have been discussing, the current curriculum was implemented in 2013.
The change has come with the changes in the lay out of the examination papers.
Currently, the Zambian curriculum has four major subject languages as taught in Zambian schools; these are English Language, French, and Literature in English and Zambian language. Zambian languages are derived from Zambia’s seven major local languages.
It should be echoed that the changes that I have been discussing affect only internal candidates, for General Certificate of Education (GCE) students; they are not affected as they are still sitting for examinations under the old curriculum and format of examination papers.
I have said so, because every time I discuss changes in examinationpapers’ lay out, I receive calls especially from GCE candidates enquiring if at all they are affected as well.
Additionally, teachers have been expressing ignorance on some of the changes. Others have said they are reading them from this column. This entails that concerned stakeholders are yet to do a decent job.
On the other hand concerned subjects associations are to blame too for this delay in communication which may even affect the performance of current Grade 12s especially in subjects that have experienced complete changes.  It can be so because a teacher is the implementer of any changes that have occurred.
Language Teachers Association of Zambia (LATAZ) held their National conference at Mongu College of Education in Mongu.
As the case with other subject associations various issues were tabled for discussion such as finding ways on how to improve learners’ performance in language subjects, measures that can enhance teaching and learning, changes in the curriculum and examination paper structure.
English 1112/1 has experienced less changes in the examination lay out. Traditionally English Paper 1 has been known as the composition paper, where candidates have been attempting two questions; one from section A, and a compulsory one from section B. The paper will be written under a duration of 1 hour 45 minutes.
The Paper still has in two sections; Section A and B.
Section A has 5 questions which are derived from four major categories of composition Argumentative, Narrative, Discursive and Descriptive.
While Section B has a compulsory composition question. The question from section B is derived from a variety of topics such as Articles, Speech, Report, letter of recommendation and so on.
Candidates will still be required to attempt two questions; one from each section. Section A, has five questions though one of the questions has an option component (Either…OR), this makes six questions in total. However, candidates are required to pick only one question. While Section B has a compulsory question which all candidates will be required to attempt.
The paper has a total marks of 40 marks. Candidates are expected to follow rules of grammar when attempting the questions, these include your punctuations, ability to construct sentences, run-on sentences, paragraphing, cutting of words, short forms or the popular short message service (SMS) as often done on mobile phones, abbreviations such as UNZA instead of the University of Zambia, mother tongue influence or direct interpretation, wrong words for example instead of writing I am one writes Am, short words such as Don’t instead of Do not. The above can affect your performance in the English Paper.
Besides, they are supposed to pay attention to the instructions especially on the number of words needed in a composition, in both sections candidates should write their compositions by paying attention to the number of words (250 to 350).  If a candidate writes below 250 or exceeds 350 words, this may result in losing some marks.
English 1122/2 has experienced some changes in the structure of the examination paper. Previously, the paper had three questions, the first question was about Summary, the second one on Reading comprehension while the third one was based on Transformation and Structure questions. The paper had 60 marks, 20 marks per question.
Under the revised paper structure, the major change is in the order of the questions in a paper. The first question will be the structure question, divided into two sections. Section 1 will have lexis questions while Section 2 will have transformational questions, traditionally known as Re-writes. The second question will be based on Reading comprehension while the last question will be based on Summary.
English paper 2 should be written under a duration of 2 hours. Candidates will be required to attempt all three questions (Structure, Comprehension and Summary).
Look out for next week’s article as I discuss changes made in French language paper. Comments:
rodrickmakupe@yahoo.co Contact:0979700937/
0964351029.
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