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What Grade is this piece of writing worth? PLEASE HELP! watch

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    (Original post by kingaaran)
    Hi, I am practicing my writing before I start my GCSE's this September. I have written a piece of writing and I would like to know what grade it may be awarded. It would also be useful for me to know how I could improve this piece and if there is any A/A* standard parts in it.

    The question I answered is:

    Write a letter to your head teacher explaining how to improve your school.

    Dear Mr Thacker,

    I am writing to you as I would like to see some changes in the school. The reason I am writing this letter is to inform you about the problems that are happening in school and how these changes could stop them.

    First of all, Gizim High has a shortage of sports equipment. The equipment we do have is very old and/or broken. During PE, we have to learn how to play sports without playing them; this is because we do not have enough equipment. Would of you liked to off done GCSE PE without sports equipment? According to a statistic provided by the BBC, 92% of students do better in their PE exams if they have the appropriate equipment – which we don’t have. Is it any wonder we only 9% of students got a C or above in PE last year? I think that you need to talk to the PE department and purchase some new equipment for the school.

    Next, I would like to talk about our school library. Before I begin, I would like to ask: When was the last time a new stock of books was ordered? The revision guides in the library are for the old specifications, so students are revising topics which are not in the specification. Secondly, the library is too small and only 4 students are allowed in at a time. Earlier this week, I asked some students thought of the library: “It is too small! I hardly get to go in there and when I have gone inside, I cannot seem to find any books that interest me – which is very disappointing.” Caroline,Year 9. Joshua from year 10 said, “The revision guides are old and the books are very limited. It is not a good educational resource.” How would you feel if you did not have a reliable place to study? I suggest that you consider expanding the library and order some new books that students are interested in.

    Likewise, all the computers you purchased in 1997 have technical problems. The schoolbooks that
    we use in maths are torn and we are unable to read the questions. If we do not have access to computers or workbooks, how do you expect us to learn? This is necessary equipment – so you have to order some more workbooks, at least, for us!

    Furthermore, our curriculum consists of only 9 subjects: Maths, English, Science, PE, ICT, Religious Studies, History, Geography and Art. This is too basic! Students need to have the opportunity to show off their talents in other art subjects or vocational subjects. You need to widen the curriculum and add other subjects such as: Drama, Dance, Music, Health and Social Care and Travel and Tourism. This will not only allow more children to develop enjoyment for other topics but it will cause a growth in the proportion of A and A* grades achieved.

    Moreover, Parents feel that teachers do not spend enough time writing reports. The layout of the reports is completely unprofessional and only consists of the grades achieved. Parents would like to see the reports included some comments about their child’s progress. I surveyed a few parents and one said: “It feels as if the school does not care about my son’s grades or progress.” If the students are unhappy and the parents are not impressed, we could see a decrease in the number of students that attend this school.

    To sum things up, the school is falling to a very low standard. If you do not change the school soon then we could see a reduction in the GCSE Pass rate and the amount of students that attend Gizim High.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Aaran Karia
    Hi there, I did basically what you have to do last year which was writing to persuade, inform, describe, argue and explain for my English Language exam. I got 32 which was an A and just 4 marks off an A*.

    First off, I would say that this piece of persuasive writing is about a low C, high D grade - but don't be disheartened by this. What I first noticed was that your punctuation marks are jumbled up all over the piece in your writing. Make sure you know your quotation marks from your speech marks, and where to put semicolons and commas in and also remember you don't normally put a capital letter after using a colon, unless it's a long quote or main clause. Nonetheless, all these errors can all be easily avoided with practice, so there's no need to worry on the basis of punctuation.

    In addition to this, it seemed to me (mistake me if I'm wrong) that you have not checked over your work. There are unusual mistakes; such as grammar mistakes, which shouldn't be a problem since you're writing is at a decent level. After writing/typing, just make sure you scan through your essay just to make sure you've got what you need in all the right places.

    Now, moving on to your writing. Your opening paragraph is good, but I personally think it needs to be much stronger. You mentioned you have to 'play sports', well how about elaborating on these sports? What sort of sports are you playing and how are they useful? Such as playing cricket - cricket is good because it enhances our hand-eye coordination which would be useful outside of school. You could try to through in some examples of how they would be useful outside of school i.e. other activities. To be more persuasive, I would advise you to never use the words "I think" or "I would suggest". This is because it comes across as self-doubtful. Using "I think" - it's like you're not too sure on what you're saying or you're not being confident enough to promote the point you're trying to make. Try and look up 'persuasive techniques/devices in writing' or something like that, although your English teacher should be teaching you this - if not so, pretty soon.

    Furthermore, a key skill to understand how to write effectively and more accurately, is you have to know who you're writing to & about (audience). This letter is addressed to the Headmaster, so try using professional language and make it more personal to suit the audience you are writing too! It's okay to add extra statistics and percentages and things, but remember YOU'RE writing to him/her, not anyone else, YOU and YOU only - always remember this! Your opinion is what counts the most, no-one else's!

    Moving onto the "library paragraph". You make some basic and tangible opinions. For example, you mentioned 'The revision guides in the library are for the old specifications, so students are revising topic which are not in the specification.' Now even this is a good evidential-point, where's your opinion? As in, what point are you trying to make by saying this? To gain substantial marks, you should follow these points. I.e. "As such, it's evidently seeable that the students are't learning what they should be (make a reference to your sports point and how better learning equipment can enhance students performance rate). This means; their education and the time that they're putting into revision and doing subject-related activities inside and outside of school are being thrown down the drain. This is essentially dampening their results and future aspects, and now-a-days this is not what you want to aspire too. As a respectable headteacher, I'd expect you to get the full abilities out of your students! How can you possibly do this, with out-of-date specifications?" Something along the lines of that. You should make sure you give your reason for why you've picked that evidence out. What you essentially need to do is be more critical with your own usage of points - you've made them, but why have you? What are you trying to get across to your reader? Make them question your thoughts and make them think "oh you know what, he/she is right, maybe I should do something about that." You have got to see ideas from both sides.

    But on the whole, it's a very decent piece of writing that initially needs to be developed further for a solid C or even possibly a low B grade if you're lucky.

    If you want extra advice on English/English Language or English Literature, I'd be more than happy to PM and give you some tips and hints to make sure you achieve your full best!
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Updated: August 31, 2012
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