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Delta 3b Error analysis and learner output (Paper One Task Four)

Module One Moodle notes

This session comes in two parts:


The first part is about ways of thinking about and classifying errors. This is a likely area for
paper one tasks one and two the terminology tasks.
The second part is about looking at the strengths and weaknesses in student output. This is
the focus of paper one task four and you carry on and do more practice of it for this weeks
group project.

Many errors are caused by L1 interference e.g. I made my homework.


What other causes can you think of ? List 5 more then check in Key H/O 1

Terminology worksheet H/O2


You might find it easier to print this handout off. In the first part put pairs of terms into the gaps.
Dont split the pairs up.
Work your way through it and then check your answers at the end of this document.

M1 W3 error analysis and learner output H/O 2

Some error terminology

Some of the terminology writers use when discussing errors is described below.
Read through the definitions and put the pairs back in the correct place (pairs stay together).

a global error v. a local error


a linguistic error v. a sociolinguistic error
an overt error v. a covert error
a competence error v. a performance mistake
a systemic error v. an incidental error

1. ______________________ _____________________
is a result of a lack of knowledge is when the learner fails to perform their
competence. That is, a processing failure that
arises as a result of memory limitations or lack
of automaticity.
Corder believed that error analysis should be restricted to the study of errors, but if the learner
sometimes uses the target form and sometimes uses an incorrect non target form, how can we say
for sure that they know the target form ? Maybe they don't yet know all the contexts in which it can
or can't be used. So it is not always possible to distinguish between the above.

2. ______________________ ______________________
a problem with accuracy a problem with appropriacy

3. ______________________ ______________________
the learner has developed a rule in a one off error
their interlanguage that does not, in fact,
conform to the target language.
4. ______________________ ______________________
is an error that affects overall sentence is an error that affects single elements
organisation (such as word order). It is in a sentence (for example inflection)
likely to have an effect on comprehension. And is less likely to affect
comprehension.

5. ______________________ ______________________
e.g. John goed home. e.g. John went home.
You can see the error easily. You only discover it is an error when the
goes on to say it is happening tomorrow.
May be understood to be an error from context
or may go completely undetected.

Books talk about a variety of ways of classifying errors. This is another approach.
Put the following headings in the correct place.
misformation/misselection addition ordering omission

6. _________________ 7. _________________ 8. _________________ 9. __________________


Does he can sing ? I went to movie. I lost my road. I to the shop went.
I returned to home. My father a teacher. He ated the fish. Every time I study hard.
I am agree.

A different way to look at it is :


Errors can be ... Interlingual Unique Intralingual

10. ________________(They are using an L1 idea in L2). This is also called transfer.
11.________________(They are misusing an L2 rule). This can also be called generalisation.
12.________________(They have created an error that doesn't have an obvious source).

Now you have some terms to talk about errors with, here are some errors to talk about (on the next
page).
Sometimes you can say more than one thing about the error.
Write a comment down for each one using something from key 1 or key 2
M1 W3 error analysis and learner output H/O 3

What can you say about the following errors (they were all made by Turkish learners) ?

e.g. an upper intermediate level student says My sister is go shopping every day.
Probably an incidental performance error local in that it does not affect comprehension

an intermediate student says I win a good salary


L1 transfer direct translation of kazanmak

1. Elementary student to teacher Open the window

2. Upper intermediate level student : When I will go home, I will watch TV.

3. Intermediate level student : My father is an accounter.

4. Intermediate level student: I was late so that I missed the bus.

5. Pre-intermediate level student : Yesterday I must go to see my brother.

6. Upper intermediate level student : Mothers should stay at home and grow up their children.

7. Intermediate level student : He like football.

8. Upper intermediate level student : I am loving Trabzonsport.

What to think about when you are evaluating learner output

In paper one task four they give you some learner output (written or spoken) and you decide what
the key strengths and key weaknesses are.

If you are looking at a learners output, what would you think about when starting to do this ?
How could you break things up ? Give yourself some criteria to work with ? What areas would you
look at ?
Think about writing first. And then how speaking would or wouldnt be different. If you do any
examining for Cambridge or Trinity you can probably remember some useful things for this. Then
check in H/O key 4.

On the old style (pre 2008, pre Modular Delta) exam they used to expect you to comment on all the
areas and then decide which ones were a priority. In the new style exam they have made it easier
by telling you which areas they want you to look at. In this session we are going to work through a
new style task, but then for your project each group will work on an old style task. If you can do the
old style where you have to work everything out for yourself, doing the new style where they tell
you what to focus on in the exam should seem like a breeze.

The task and the Cambridge advice are on the next page.
M1 W3 error analysis and learner output H/O 5

Task Four (20 marks)

The text (161 words) for this task is reproduced below. It was written by a learner in an
intermediate (CEFR B1) level class in response to the following task:

Write about a holiday you will never forget.

Focusing on the areas listed below, identify a total of four key strengths and weaknesses of the
text. Provide an example from the text of each choice. Include at least one strength and one
weakness in your answer.

Organisation
Accuracy of grammar
Range and accuracy of lexis
Cohesion

Cambridge also give the following advice

Read the instructions carefully and make sure you only comment on the areas they list
Find a total of four strengths and weaknesses (though it may be 1+3 or 2+2)
Only give one example of something that is a strength or weakness
Remember the level of the learner when you comment
Set your answer out clearly (as a list)
It is possible for speaking to come up in this task. It has done so a few times.
This is a model of how that could work. First here is a question

Paper One
Task Four (20 minutes)
This has been adapted from Cambridge materials to reflect the 2015 exam format.
The text (220 words) for this task is reproduced below. It was spoken by a learner in an intermediate (CEFR
B1) class in response to the following task:

Answer your teachers questions about a memorable event and ceremonies in your country.

a Identify four key strengths and weaknesses of the text. Provide an example of each strength and each
weakness.
Your answer should focus on some or all of the areas listed below:
Organisation and cohesion
Accuracy of grammar
Accuracy of lexis
Accuracy of pronunciation: stress, individual sounds and sounds in connected speech.
Keys

M1 W3 error analysis and learner output H/O 1


Some possible causes of errors

1. L1 interference (e.g. direct translation leads to I made my homeworks)


2. overgeneralization (e.g. using -ed for all past simple endings)
3. transfer of training (skewed emphasis of teacher or book e.g. sudden eruption of
passive all over the place if not careful about how it is introduced, after too many
transformation exercises leave learners to believe everything can be made passive)
4. learning errors
a. receptive (learners hear or write it down wrongly)
b. productive (learners retrieve it wrongly)
5. communication strategies wanting to get things done leads to misuse / avoidance
6. Distraction, tiredness etc
7. bad teaching e.g. some of my learners swear that they have been taught that will is
for the near future and going to is for the far future.

Key for terminology worksheet H/O 2

1. competence / performance
2. linguistic / sociolinguistic
3. systemic / incidental
4. global / local
5. overt / covert
6. addition
7. omission
8. misformation / misselection
9. ordering
10. interlingual
11. intralingual
12. unique
M1 W3 error analysis and learner output H/O 3
Key
1. Elementary student to teacher Open the window
StThis is a sociolinguistic error it is grammatically correct, just not polite. It might be a result of a lack of knowledge, but
it is more likely to be the result of the demands of real time processing (e.g. if you got the learner to think about it they
would almost certainly know it was not polite).
2. Upper intermediate level student : When I will go home, I will watch TV.
This is addition in that there is an extra element in the sentence. It is probably over generalisation in the sense of the
learner using will for anything that refers to the future. They could almost certainly self correct.
3. Intermediate level student : My father is an accounter.
This is intralingual the misapplication of an L2 rule. Its also misformation. Likely to be a competence rather than a
performance error. You can also say overgeneralisation
4. Intermediate level student: I was late so that I missed the bus.
Addition as the that is added unnecessarily, but the cause is intralingual transferring the so that for purpose into a
simple so for cause / result situation.
5. Pre-intermediate level student : Yesterday I must go to see my brother.
Again intralingual, the learner doesnt know or remember that they need a different structure for the past form. More often
occurs at low levels as a competence error.
6. Upper intermediate level student : Mothers should stay at home and grow up their children.
In this meaning grow up is intransitive. Possibly transfer from L1 so interlingual. It is local and overt.
7. Intermediate level student : He like football.
An error of omission. Unless it is a very low level learner it is likely to be a performance error.
8. Upper intermediate level student : I am loving Trabzonsport.
Probably transfer if it is a Turkish student, though it could be seen as over generalisation of an L2 rule (or at high level
could be for stylistic effect ? McDonalds ?)

M1 W3 error analysis and learner output H/O 4

Writing possible assessment criteria

Communicative competence / task achievement / effect on the reader


Appropriacy of style and genre
Organisation, cohesion, punctuation
Range and complexity of language
Accuracy of language: Lexis (including spelling) and grammar

Speaking possible assessment criteria

Interactive communication (initiate, develop, turn take)


Discourse Management (links, coherence, speed of delivery)
Phonology (pron, stress, intonation)
Grammar and Lexis range
Grammar and lexis accuracy

These are loosely based on Cambridge exam criteria.


Paper 1 Task 4 answer key
Example answer from the Handbook
Speaking sample key