1 A-level POLISH Unit 2 Reading and Writing Report on the Examination 2685 June 2014 Version: 1.0: 0614
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3 Section 1 Comprehension The comprehension questions for PLSH2 were mostly answered correctly by the majority of students. Incorrect answers were few in number and there was no clear underlying trend to indicate a possible cause for mistakes. These were mostly as a result of carelessness and the omission of the required pieces of information. Students taking the PLSH2 paper coped better in giving an opinion (Question 1(a)(vi)) than AS students, perhaps because of the practice at AS, or the fact that they were a year older. They all commented that the article was very useful and that they had enjoyed reading it. Most agreed with the opinion expressed by the author, but many added their experiences to the answer. Question 1(b) True/False/? There were no problems here. Those who read the text carefully had no difficulty in providing correct answers. Only some made a mistake with their answer to Question 1(b)(i). Section 2 Translation The passage for translation into Polish was an extract from María Dueñas bestselling novel The Seamstress. In general, students did very well. There were very few poor translations. Indeed, most students achieved a high score. Where there were gaps in vocabulary, students often improvised. This is the right approach. Leaving a blank will not attract any credit. By improvising or offering a cognate or synonym, there is always the chance of gaining some credit. There were, however, some words which some students found challenging. One of them was typewriter. It is surprising that young people are not now familiar with an object so commonplace to the older generation. Please see below a list of the words which presented particular challenges to students. Typewriter the more unusual words and phrases: klawiatura and pisarz (the most common) but there were some other more unusual attempts such as: starożytny instrument do pisania, pisarz na klawiaturz, autopisarz, pisarz komputerowy, klawiatura mechaniczna and typowy pisarz. Distinguished trudną,nagrodzoną,wyróznioną and zdegustowaną. Seamstress fryzjerka, szewc. Firm firma Fate was confused with faith and rendered as wiara. There was one particularly unusual interpretation: jego nieobecność nie była mi obojętna, nigdy nie czułem sympati do niego. Section 3 Students were required to write two essays of at least 200 words. There is no limit to the number of words, as some thought. 200 words is a required minimum but this rarely produces a top mark. The questions are grouped according to four topics in the literary and non-literary sections and any combination is acceptable, provided that no two questions from the same topic are attempted. 3 of 6
4 This year, the performance in the essays was generally not good and in some instances very poor. Many students, and more than last year, had clearly done almost no preparation and some, none at all. This extract from one particular essay illustrates this point: Niestey nie będę pisać o Polskiej książce ponieważ nie zostałam poinformowana, że do odpowiedzenia niektórych pytań będzie potrzebna wiedza o książce napisanej przez polskiego autora więc napiszę o książce, którą niedawno przeczytałam The fault in our stars. There were other similar cases and The Great Gatsby, John Paul II were discussed and also the poem for children Kto ty jesteś. Some students chose the wrong question for the wrong topic. Questions on drama apply only to drama. The fight for independence as a theme in Polish literature. Kamienie na szaniec was the most popular choice but there were some responses on Wierna rzeka and on poems. It is usual to see good essays written about Kamienie na szaniec, sometimes even very good ones. Unfortunately that was not the case this year. There were some very verbose answers and generalisations with not enough references to the text. It was not clear that students had read the book and it appeared that they were relying on a synopsis read on a cover. This is regrettable as the book is usually enjoyed by the students who have read it. The book is short and easy to read, describing the fate of the boys during World War II who have just finished their schooling. The essays from those who attempted Wierna rzeka focused mainly on the human drama rather than being centred on the topic. Students mostly wrote about the doomed relationship between Salomea Brynicka and Józef Odrowąż. Hubert Olbromski, Salomea s father, was rarely mentioned. Moral issues as presented in Polish drama. Students who chose this topic mostly answered the question with reference to Moralnośc Pani Dulskiej, which continues to be the most popular play studied at A-level. There were fewer essays on Niemcy this year and there were some on Balladyna and Zemsta. Some were poor, some were fair and some were good. In previous years there have been many good essays on Moralność Pani Dulskiej. Even where students had prepared themselves for the exam to a greater or lesser extent, most demonstrated no more than a limited knowledge of the topic, across all the topic areas, rather than a sound or thorough knowledge. This was true even in the case of Question 4(a), where the student had the relatively simple task of comparing two characters from the chosen play. The analysis was not deep enough and there was little personal reaction and even less in the way of proper conclusion, especially in Question 4 (b) which asked students to discuss the message of the play. There were not sufficient references to the text to back up students opinions. For example, in the case of Moralność Pani Dulskiej, many students thought it was sufficient to write that Dulska was a mean character whereas Zbyszko was a spendthrift. Beyond that observation, there was little further insight and little indication that students had engaged with the text and understood the author s intention. Some, rather than find fault with Dulska, defended her, 4 of 6
5 portraying her as a caring mother who wanted to protect her children, completely missing the author s intention. There were also examples of inappropriate use of language inappropriate for literary essays. For example: Zbyszko był pies na baby, Zbyszko się szlajał and some amusing ones: - Dulska jest osobą materialną, Obydwaj bohaterowie sa podobni, ale Dulska ma bardziej zadary nos. Nie trzeba dużo czytać, żeby ją z bliska poznać. Postawa moralna Dulskiej jest taka, że wszyscy wiedzą, ze jej nie mozna podskoczyć. Ona ma swoje morały, ale w tej lekturze jest mencząca i za dużo mówi. Żona sprowadziła go do takiego stanu, że zaczyna wyglądać i jednocześnie zachowywać się jak głupi. Moralność aaaaapani Dulskiej napisanej przez Orzechowską... Wsztuce Elizy Orzeszkowej... Lokatorka chciała się otruć z powodu śmierci męża Polacy i Polska w okresie drugiej wojny światowej Essays written in response to Questions 5(a) or 5(b) have never been of a high standard. This year, there was an improvement with more students attempting this topic. This was a pleasing trend. There were some good essays and one or two excellent ones. However, very few students writing on the history topic appeared to have applied themselves to the study of Polish history. The rest relied heavily on narrative, and general knowledge that is known to everybody. There were no dates, facts or names mentioned. Students who chose Question 5(a) relied on wider body of knowledge about events leading up to World War II which was probably what they had learnt in English schools. They failed, however, to apply it to the situation in Poland, which is what the question demanded. In Question 5(b), which asked students to write about the most significant event in the War in which the Poles participated, most failed to focus in depth on any one event, but instead included anything at all they knew on the subject. Mostly they mentioned the September campaign, the Battle of Britain, Monte Casino, or the Warsaw Uprising, but did not give any great level of detail. Students should consider writing about one event but in greater detail, and understand that this requires some study and preparation. Polskie kino Andrzej Wajda Popiół i diament i człowiek z marmuru It appeared that students who had attempted these questions had not actually seen either film. Some seemed to be making up an answer, others may have watched it once and forgotten it or mixed up, the facts, names and events. Films should not be seen as an easy choice. Man of Marble in particular is a very dense and, in some ways, subtle film. It is easy to miss the detail. These films should be watched over a number of sittings and the history of post-war Poland should be explained. Without a thorough knowledge of historical background it is impossible to understand these films. This formed the basis of so many misconceptions, with descriptions of Maciek as a murderer, a terrorist or a bandit. Question 6(a) was mainly answered incorrectly as students were either not taught or did not understand, the difference between romantic and romantic individualism. Romanticism, a period in literature, should be briefly discussed, as a romantic hero is forever present in Polish literature and is present in Wajda s films. 5 of 6
6 Students writing on Question 6(a) wrote that Chełmicki gave Krystyna flowers and they went for a walk, or that Birkut stopped at nothing to find Hanka Tomczyk following his release from prison because he was so besotted with her. It is regrettable that so many students missed marks, as this question, with some study, could have produced exceptional essays. Question 6(b) produced better responses. Perhaps students who chose it were better prepared and understood the situation in Poland as described in the films. Nevertheless there were many students who simply did not understand the premises of Communism. Students wrote that Maciek could have broken with his Home Army past and led a happy life with Krystyna and that Birkut could equally have conformed or that Agnieszka could have chosen a different subject for her film and in this way, all three could have altered their fate. This was not the point of Wajda s message in these films. These responses showed a lack of understanding of the limitations imposed on the characters by the tragic or prohibitive circumstances of their lives. The following examples illustrate this point: Maciek miał mętlik w głowie. Podoba mi się, że Maciek był stanowczy i wie czego chce, Krystyna na początku się wahała, ale w końcu przyszła do niego i uprawiali miłość, ale nic nie było widać tylko głowy. Maciek w ciemnych okularach zakochał się w kelnerce na poczatku był arrogancki, ale ona też nie dała sobie w kasze dmuchać. film stworzony w 18 wieku w czasie akcji po drugiej wojnie światowej! Converting Marks into UMS marks Convert raw or scaled marks into marks on the Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) by using the link below. UMS conversion calculator Mark Ranges and Award of Grades Grade boundaries and cumulative percentage grades are available on the Results statistics page of the AQA Website. 6 of 6