Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Today's SPaG paper

Question 1. You could do this one by knowing two and deducing the third. In other words it would be only testing 'grammar' for two-thirds of the time.  Therefore test not testing what it says it's testing.

Question 3. There are three elements for one mark. You could get two right but this wouldn't be acknowledged by the test. Therefore test not testing what it says it's testing.

Question 7 is bizarre because half of what's asked for is not 'grammatical' but purely to do with meaning and 'appropriateness' . It would be possible therefore to be 'right' grammatically and wrong on appropriateness. (Would need to see the mark scheme to be 100% sure about this.)

Question 12 is nothing more than punctuation fetishism - correctness for the sake of it, no ambiguity involved if 'wrong'.

Question 14 is illiterate. In the question the word 'correct' is applied wrongly to the noun (!) in question. Can't be more specific, but it really is a bit of bad writing.

 Question 34 involves a single decontextualised word - in other words, a totally unrealistic language-use.

Question 35. Non-standard forms would be wrong even though that isn't what's being tested. (Would need to check with marking scheme to know if 'wrong' is penalised.)

Question 36 Two out of three could be correct but no mark awarded.

Question 38 is unfair because it asks for the word cited and no other form of it to be used. In other parts of the test that grammatical function is shown to have various forms. 

Question 44 was to all intents and purposes asked by Michael Gove.

Question 45 uses a farcical Ladybird book 1953 sentence.

On this paper,  the words 'correct', 'correctly' or 'incorrectly' are used 19 times. 

This is a prescriptive grammar and punctuation test.

There are 12 punctuation questions - all prescriptive bar one. 

This test is useless.

More importantly, it gives a false impression of what is useful and important to know about language.