by Shareen Mayers, Experienced Primary Teacher and Primary English Specialist
This document is designed to support schools with making judgements on pupils who are ‘working at greater depth within the expected standard’ for writing.
Pupils must demonstrate all the statements in the ‘working towards’ and ‘working at’ the expected standard to be at ‘greater depth within the expected standard.’
The examples below are taken from the 2016 teacher assessment exemplification: Frankie (greater depth).
Working at greater depth within the expected standard ‘pupil can’ statements
The pupil can write for a range of purposes and audiences:
• managing shifts between levels of formality through selecting vocabulary precisely and by manipulating grammatical structures
• selecting verb forms for meaning and effect
• using the full range of punctuation taught at key stage 2, including colons and semi-colons to mark the boundary between independent clauses, mostly correctly.
[No additional requirements for spelling or handwriting.]
Managing shifts between levels of formality through selecting vocabulary precisely.
This statement refers to pupils shifting between a formal and informal tone within one piece of writing. Most examples show more than one example of managing shifts between levels of formality through selecting vocabulary and by manipulating grammatical structures.
Piece C: Explanation
Formal tone is achieved through the use of passive form and impersonal instructions
They were invented to make ballerinas look weightless when dancing, so they then started spinning, balancing and jumping en pointe (on the tips of their toes).They are traditionally worn by women for a beautiful pad de duex (a solo dance with one man and one woman) but in some ballets men go on pointe too. There is an all male ballet company called Les Ballet Trockadero that had a very famous production of Swan Lake featuring men dancing en pointe as the female swans.
Managing the shift back to a more informal tone through choice of vocabulary (This exact thing) and inclusive second person (might ask ‘why hurt your feet…;as soon as you…)
Most people might think ask ‘why hurt your feet like that?’ But as soon as you get into the ballet world your life ambition is to start pointe work. This exact thing happened to me. Pointe shoes are very desirable to young dancers too. Pointe work is meant for dancers at least over the age of 11 as it is ideal once your feet have stopped growing.
Piece D: Newspaper report
Formal statement provides essential detail and establishes an appropriate tone for a newspaper report.
Yesterday, at dusk, Cherry Stone drowned at Boat Cove, supposedly making a necklace of cowrie shells for a ‘giant’.
Shifts between levels of formality are well-managed. E.g. the informality of the direct quotation and reported speech (were joking around...; tragically those inches cost her her life!) contrasts with the more formal vocabulary choices of the reporter (recalled, explained).
“We were joking around with her just hours earlier and now she’s dead!” said one of her brothers, Felix. Another one of her brothers recalled that she had been making a cowrie shell necklace since the start of their holiday two weeks before. They explained that she needed only a few more inches to reach the toaster – but tragically those inches cost her her life!
Piece E: Diary
Precise selection of vocabulary and manipulation of grammatical structures effectively manage shifts between levels of formality, e.g. movement from the informal (“Hello!...It’s me...”) to the sombre impersonal statement (Nobody survives a drowning in an Atlantic storm). The repetitive use of the informal first person subject (Then I cried) contrasts with the more formal succinct noun phrase subject (The reality of it all...)
“Hello!” I called, “It’s me – Cherry! I’m home. I’ve survived.” Why was everyone ignoring me? And then it dawned on me. The miners, the water, the no answering. I leant against the wall and slowly slid down in a crumpled, sobbing heap. I was dead. Nobody survives a drowning in an Atlantic storm. I was a am very stupid and very, very dead. Then I cried. I cried until there were no more tears. to be I bit down on my lip until I tasted blood. Blood? The reality of it all came flooding into my mind.
Piece F: Letter
As you can probably tell, reading books and visualising every detail is important to me. Meeting some of the authors who bring my favourite characters to life makes this invitation even more special. I really love the fact that this book award is voted for by children; that must really matter to the authors!
The transition to a more informal tone, with its simple excitement and enthusiasm, provides an effective conclusion to the letter.
Overall, the day sounds amazing and I can’t wait for it to arrive.
Manipulating grammatical structures
This statement refers to pupils manipulating and using sentences for an effect.
Piece A: Narrative
Controlled use of varied single clause sentences creates a sense of immediacy to engage the reader from the outset. (Short sentences for effect)
Slowly, Ewan peeped through the crack in his door. All was black. He took a step out. He could hear distant snoring as he creeped crept across the landing. As his heart raced he stared into the darkness; he could hear the fridge urging him on – willing him to move. Now the stairs. The tricky bit. Suddenly a THUD!... He raced down the creaking stairs – even the seventh one that makes an ear splitting noise creak.
Piece B: Description
Controlled multi-clause sentence consists of 3 co-ordinated clauses, separated by a semicolon and a dash, to introduce and orchestrate all the elements of the crowded scene. Single clause sentence and repetition of vocabulary and structures build tension. (GP)
I am in the dressing room with the music ringing in my ears; the small room is bustling with tall skinny girls chattering and giggling But - but all I can think of is the stage and the applause. My racing heart thuds underneath my silky tutu. Thud. Thud. Thud
Piece C: Explanation
Fronted adverbial emphasises the prettiness of the shoes. By delaying the subject of this sentence, the writer avoids unhelpful repetition of the ‘shoes’ at the start of each sentence.
Pointe shoes are what make dancers different and beautiful. With their pink satin and silky ribbons, these shoes have been around since 1795. They were invented to make ballerinas look weightless when dancing, so they then started spinning, balancing and jumping en pointe (on the tips of their toes).
Piece E: Diary
Selection of the progressive form creates a sense of immediacy, helping the reader to vicariously experience the scene alongside the narrator. In contrast, the simple past form denotes Cherry’s reflective comments and the abrupt end of her struggle with the waves.
By now the frothing water was thrashing against my ankles. The rocks were only a metre or so away… I was so determined that I was even collecting the glistening pink shells on my way to the spiky rocks. I was so stupid. Why didn’t I just go home as soon as the storm gathered? The rocks were slippy but the house seemed so close now. Suddenly the salty water was all around me. In my mouth, up my nose, stinging my eyes. The crashing waves pulling me down. I was conscious that I was drowning. Everything went quite quiet and still. And then the frothing blue water faded into black.
The use of the semi-colon to separate 2 short independent clauses creates a link between the calm of the ‘shimmering turquoise water’ and the narrator’s mistaken assumption that all was, and would be, well.
Soon enough we were all lying on the beach staring out into the shimmering turquoise water. Everything was fine; it all seemed so calm. After about twenty minutes everyone started climbing back up to thou the house to pack up. I thought that if I just stayed maybe another hour, I’d surely have enough shells to finish my necklace. As I was bent over the sand, I realized that almost three hours had passed and I still had fifty shells to go.
Selecting verb forms for meaning and effect
Piece D: Newspaper report
Verb forms, selected for meaning and effect, skilfully manage transitions in time as the reporter seeks to reconstruct and interpret the sequence of tragic events.
Cherry, aged 10, had been determined to finish a necklace she had been making out of glistening pink cowrie shells. She had been told to be home for tea but little did her family know that she would never return again. Police officers and detectives have looked into the disaster and think that she was cut off in Boat Cove and then attempted to climb a steep cliff face. Had she already drowned? Was she already dead?
Modal verbs selected to emphasise the contrast between the apparent naivety of the parents and the rather more judgemental stance of the reporter.
Mr and Mrs Stone have started a campaign to stop children being on the beach by themselves later than 5:00. Mrs Stone told us that Cherry was a very independent girl so they thought she would be fine. But nobody can be fine once they have been cut off by a tide and thrown around by an Atlantic wave.
Piece E: Diary
Appropriate selection of verb forms (the present progressive, the simple present, the present perfect, the simple past, and modals) skilfully manages the different time frames and raises questions about the narrator’s identity at the outset.
Right now I’m not actually holding this pen – it is miraculously hovering in the air and writing down my thoughts for me. Because ghosts can’t hold stuff, right? I’ve never really liked writing a diary but my parents always told me it would be fun to look back on when I am older. But I’ll never be ‘older’. I s’pose I can look back on the day I died.
Using the full range of punctuation taught at key stage 2, including colons and semi-colons to mark the boundary between independent clauses, mostly correctly. [No additional requirements for spelling or handwriting.]
Colon for independent clauses
I wasn’t just physically lost: I had no one – I had nothing.
Sophie McKenzie is one of the shortlisted authors for the Older Readers’ award. I have read “Split Second” which I thought was a thrilling story: in fact, it is a real page-turner and I have recommended it to several friends.
Semi-colon to mark the boundary between two independent clauses
Everything was fine; it all seemed so calm.
Attending the award ceremony will give me the opportunity to discuss my love of books with children from other schools; I know that I will enjoy socialising and chatting to people I haven’t met before.
Shareen Mayers on 'Working a greater depth within the expected standard' in reading
Take a look at the A-Z of Grammar