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English examination questions in Australia
Engish in Australia (2010)
  • Doug McCurry, ACER
This paper outlines the analysis of subject English in a report written for the Commonwealth government entitled Year 12 Curriculum Content and Achievement Standards (CCAS). This report could not find 'a core of common content (either topics or skills) in senior English (including Literature)'. In the light of the diversity of English courses described by the CCAS report, this article examines the kinds of questions posed in some different Year 12 Australian English examinations, and categorises them as either conceptual, thematic, process-oriented, formal, substantive or skill-oriented. After reviewing the nature of English as a subject, and a range of questions from English examinations, it is argued that while English courses must specify content in terms of a text list for pragmatic reasons, examination candidates should be given choice among texts and choice about how they respond to those texts. Themes should not be specified in senior English courses, and candidates should be able to choose to make more conceptual or more substantive responses to texts. English examinations, in contrast with most current practice, should give at least as much emphasis to testing skills operating on unseen material as to rehearsing pre-prepared material
  • Course content,
  • English,
  • Curriculum,
  • Tests,
  • Test items,
  • Secondary education
Publication Date
Citation Information
Doug McCurry. "English examination questions in Australia" Engish in Australia Vol. 45 Iss. 2 (2010)
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