Category Archives: Assessment (see Practice Papers)

Reading Assessment Practice

Click for a past assessment papers or other reading resources. When you have completed the paper, look at the answers onscreen, and do corrections in a different colour. I you can’t print, it doesn’t really matter. Just look at the texts and questions onscreen and write your question numbers with answers on a piece of blank paper.

Entry 1

‘Anna’ (assessment paper)                       Anna  (answers)

‘Gulay’ (assessment paper)                      Gulay (answers)

‘Fozya’ (assessment paper)                      Fozya (answers)

‘Iwona’ (2008 assessment)                      Iwona (answers)

‘Ali to Nick’ (2011 assessment)             Ali/Nick (answers)

Trinity past papers and answers

ELC Study Zone for upper beginners

Entry 2

2005 ‘Nada’ (assessment paper)                  ‘Nada’ (answers)

2006 ‘Husneyi’ (assessment paper)           ‘Husneyi (answers)

2007 ‘Marie to Fatima’ (assessment)         ‘Fatima’ (answers)

Trinity past papers and answers

ELC Study Zone Lower Intermediate

Level 1

Continue using MoveOn


E2 Assessment criteria – NOCN Writing


1 .Write to record or present information.

1.1 Compose simple texts and statements to communicate basic ideas and information. Choose information and layout for your purpose and audience.

You may need to write:

  • an email
  • a simple formal or informal letter
  • a personal narrative
  • a simple story
  • a message
  • information on a form

2. Construct compound sentences using conjunctions

2.1 Combine simple sentences to make compound sentences using common conjunctions. Word order and simple tenses should be mostly correct.

  • Conjunctions: and, but, so, or
  • Correct word order of simple clauses joined by a conjunction: subject – verb ( – object) + and/but + subject – verb (- object), e.g. I like to work hard so my students enjoy their classes.
  • Tenses: Present Simple, Past Simple, and will

3. Use adjectives.

3.1 Use appropriate adjectives to describe people, places, feelings, and objects. Your word order should be mostly correct.

  • Word order: adjective + noun (I have a difficult job.); noun + be + adjective (My job is difficult.)
  • Common adjectives, e.g. big, young, beautiful, happy
  • Regular and irregular comparative adjectives: better, worse, younger, bigger, more beautiful

4. Use punctuation.

4.1 Use punctuation to show the start and finish of each sentence and to separate items in a list.

  • Capital letters, full stops, and question marks
  • Commas in lists: We like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and grapes.

4.2 Most proper nouns in your writing start with a capital letter, e.g. days, months, names of people, names of places

5. Spell personal details and familiar common words.

5.1 You should be able to spell correctly your personal details, common words, and common word endings, e.g.:

  • common verbs
  • words related to your life, e.g. your street, your town, your country, your country of origin, your job
  • plural forms (car/cars); Past Simple forms (work/worked); –ing (swimming, coming)

6. Produce legible handwritten text.

6.1 All of your letters (capital and lower case) should be formed correctly

  • tall, e.g. b, d, f, k, etc.
  • or short, e.g. a, c, e, g, etc.
  • tails of hanging letters written correctly
  • all capital letters should be tall (the same height as tall lower case letters)
  • Letters and words should be appropriately spaced.


L1 Assessment description – S&L

City & Guilds - vocational qualifications and apprenticeships


At level 1, the candidate must be assessed taking part in a discussion, explanation or presentation on three occasions. These should include formal exchanges connected with education, training, work or social roles.

In some exchanges it is possible that not all of the national standards will be relevant. This is acceptable as long as each exchange is fit for its purpose and all of the standards are met across the three occasions.

At Level 1 the three occasions will be:

  1. a small group discussion (2-4 others), for example about the previous night’s news (10-15 minutes)
  2. an explanation to a small group of people (2 or more), for example about how to make a country’s national dish (5-10 minutes)
  3. a telephone call in a familiar or unfamiliar situation, for example to a child’s school to explain that he is ill and will not be in school for a few days (2-3 minutes)

In order that the communication can achieve its purpose candidates need to be aware of both the purpose and the intended audience. Candidates must understand these, as well as the criteria on which they will be assessed, before they begin.

Guidelines are given for the length of each occasion, though the overriding factor must be fitness for purpose. The larger the group in the discussion, the longer the discussion will need to be for the candidate to demonstrate his/her skills. If more than one of the participants is being assessed, each must be assessed individually on their own performance and not on that of the group. In some instances one candidate taking part in a discussion will be successful in achieving the requirements whilst another will not.

Assessors will need to compare the candidate’s performance with the typical performances described in the marking grid and award 2 or 1 marks for each aspect depending which description best describes the performance. If the performance is below that described for 1 mark, the candidate will get 0 for that
aspect. The assessor must give examples of performance to justify the marks awarded. In addition, assessors may tape the assessment, but detailed reports will still be required. At least one occasion must be taped and made available to the internal and external verifiers. Where candidates prepare notes for the exchange, for example as part of a presentation, these should be kept with the assessor’s observation report for verification.

To successfully achieve the Speaking and Listening unit at Level 1, the candidate must pass all three tasks. The pass mark for each task is 6 out of a possible maximum of 12. 6 represents bare competence at the level, however
the marking system is designed to allow strengths in particular areas to compensate for any weaknesses. There is no grading system for achievement above the level of a pass.

Candidates should have practised all of the skills in a range of different contexts before they are assessed. When they are ready, candidates will need a degree of preparation for the assessment tasks. For the discussion, they may need to have watched the previous evening’s news. For the presentation, they will need to have prepared their contribution. For the telephone call, they will need to have been briefed on the role-play or they will need to explain the purpose to the assessor if it is a real call. It is important that preparation is limited to this and that candidates are not rehearsed in the assessment tasks.

L1 Assessment criteria – S&L

City & Guilds - vocational qualifications and apprenticeships

A successful candidate must demonstrate these typical performance features sufficiently to gain at least 6 out of 12 marks in each of the three activities. Assessment is broken down into six aspects: Activity Achievement (i.e. overall fitness for purpose), Grammar, Range, Pronunciation, Fluency/Interaction, and Comprehension. For each aspect, secure achievement provides 2 marks and satisfactory achievement provides 1 mark. A secure achievement (2 marks) on one aspect may mitigate against unsatisfactory achievement (0 marks) in another.

A pass in each of the three activities is required for an overall pass.

Only the criteria for secure achievement (2 marks) has been included below. This should make understanding the success criteria more straighforward for learners.

1. Activity achievement [secure – 2 marks]

  • A. Candidate performs successfully all the functions required by the activity.
  • B. All contributions to the discussion are relevant and effective.

2. Grammatical accuracy [secure – 2 marks]

  • A. Consistently maintains a high degree of grammatical accuracy: errors are rare, difficult to spot and generally corrected when they do occur. [see Level 1 Grammar]

3. Range [secure – 2 marks]

  • A. Has a good command of a broad range of vocabulary and structures, including idiomatic expressions (e.g. to make ends meet) and colloquialisms.
  • B. Any gaps are readily overcome with circumlocution (I can’t remember what its called in English – the tool used for cutting things like paper and hair.)
  • C. Can select suitable vocabulary express him/herself on a wide range of general, professional or leisure topics without restriction.
  • D. Can use appropriate diplomatic formulations to criticise and to deal with socially difficult situations.

4. Pronunciation [secure – 2 marks]

  • A. Most individual sounds are accurate and connected utterances have natural intonation and stress patterns.
  • B. Varies intonation pattern to show degree of engagement in discussion or to indicate politeness.

5. Fluency/Interaction [secure – 2 marks]

  • A. Can produce clear, smoothly flowing, well-structured speech showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
  • B. Occasionally a difficult subject hinders the smooth flow of language.
  • C. There is little obvious searching for expressions. Initiates and responds readily and appropriately, requiring little effort on the part of the interlocutor.
  • D. Manages turn taking and shift of topic effectively and can interrupt another speaker effectively and politely.
  • E. Can structure a long turn effectively with appropriate introductory remarks and closing summary.

6. Comprehension [secure – 2 marks]

  • A. Understands the gist of complex arguments and discussions. Recognises a range of informal and colloquial expressions.
  • B. Recognises the degree of formality of another speaker’s contributions and can adjust own contributions accordingly.
  • C. Can understand what is said even when information is implied and not signalled explicitly.
  • D. Recognises another speaker’s use of exaggeration, understatement, irony etc.

E2 Assessment criteria – NOCN S&L

Reflection: In future, start further into Headway Elementary (e.g. unit 5 or 6) as the middle of Headway Elementary seems to correspond better with the NOCN E2 S&L syllabus. Or will this also be the case for reading and writing syllabi?

To pass your speaking and listening exams, you will need to demonstrate the following skills and abilities. Here is a key to the information below.

1. Unit learning outcomes (bold type)

1.1 Assessment criterion (1.1, 1.2, etc.)

  • A. Example of skill required (specific examples of language and/or grammar required) [References to appropriate learning materials in square brackets]
  • B. Example of skill required (specific examples of language and/or grammar required)
  • C. Skill examples in bold type are not addressed by the Headway materials we plan to cover this term.

1. Speak clearly to be heard and understood in straightforward exchanges

1.1 Use stress, pronunciation and intonation adequately to make speech comprehensible and meaning understood.

  • A. Places stress appropriately in familiar words and on key content words in sentences (thirty/thirteen, Sorry to bother you. Could I possibly leave at 12 today? I’ve got an appointment.) [HESB1.7.4, HESB2.19 (adapt/augment to address this skill), HESB3.27.3 (adapt/augment to address this skill)]
  • B. Distinguishes between similar sounding phonemes to make meaning clear (I went from Egypt to Saudi Arabia by ship/sheep,  itch time/each time) [This is not explicitly addressed in HESB1-3 but M should have plenty of ship/sheep type resources. Also BBC pronunuciation.)
  • C. Uses intonation appropriately in statements, questions, requests and to indicate attitude, for example, politeness [HESB1.11.6(will need adapting/augmenting), HESB2.13.3-4 (may need adapting/augmenting), HESB2.19 (may need some adapting augmenting), HESB3.27.3 (augment/adapt)
  • D. Uses intonation to distinguish between a polite request and a demand. Uses stress and intonation to emphasise the main points of accounts and to create interest. Uses intonation appropriately when expressing feelings, likes and dislikes [This range of intonation functions is not explicitly addressed in HESB1-3]

2. Make requests, ask questions to obtain information and respond to questions and requests

2.1 Make polite requests, using modal verbs or other forms.

  • A. Makes polite requests using modal verbs and other forms (Could I speak to the manager, please? I’d like to see Mrs Brown, please.) [done 25/9/12] HESB2.19.4
  • B. Incorporates a request in a longer interaction (I’m Ranjit’s mother. Could I see Mrs Brown, please? It’s about Ranjit’s homework.) HESB2.19.4
  • C. Prefaces a request with an introductory word or phrase and follows request with an explanation (Sorry to bother you. I need to ask you, could I possibly leave at 12 today? I’ve got an appointment.) HESB3.27.3

2.2 Recognise and respond appropriately to requests for information and straightforward questions.

  • A. Recognises different WH questions and yes/no questions and responds with short or fuller answers, recognising when a fuller answer is required HESB1.6.1-3, HESB2.12-15, HESB2.19, HESB3.22-25,
  • B. Recognises the time to which the question refers to and responds appropriately (Q:How often do you go to the cinema? A:Oh only about twice a year.     Q:What did you do last night? A:I went to the cinema.     Q:What are you going to do next year? A:I’m going to leave college.)

2.3 Ask questions to obtain information from others.

  •  A. Forms WH and yes/noquestions. Uses question form of simple present and simple past tense of common verbs, including verbs to be, to do, to have (What’s your address? Where do you work? Do you speak English? What time is..? Do you live in York? Have you got a job? Have you got any children? Can you tell me..?) HESB1.6.1-3, HESB2.12-15, HESB2.19, HESB3.22-25,
  • B. Follows up on responses to questions [HESB2.15.1-2 with modification could address this]
  • C. Forms questions using appropriate verb forms and time markers (including adverbs of frequency) to refer to present, past and future time (What do you do at the weekends? Did you see the news last night? Are you going to the party tonight? ) [HESB3.24-25]
  • D. Asks for directions and instructions, using questions of different types (Excuse me, how do I get to…?) [Do any DfES materials cover this?]
  • E. Forms comparative questions (Is the train more expensive than the bus?)

2.4 Ask questions to clarify understanding.

  • A. Signals misunderstanding and asks for explanation. Uses different question types to deal with uncertainty/lack of understanding (I don’t quite understand. Could you explain it again please? What does this mean? Do you mean..? How do you spell…?)

3. Present information to others

3.1 Express clearly a short account about an event in the past.

  • A. Sequences an account so as to make meaning clear, using time markers, for example, ago, last year, yesterday, to help structure the account (She looked after the children yesterday morning and then she went to work in the afternoon.) [This is addressed in HESB7-8]

3.2 Express clearly short, sequenced directions or instructions.

  • A. Recognises and responds appropriately to requests for directions or instructions. Uses grammatical forms suitable for the level, e.g. Present Simple, Imperatives and Negative Imperatives, Prepositional Phrases for direction and location. Sequences the information clearly, for example, with markers such as firstly, next (Q:How do I get to..? A:Go straight on, past the lights and turn right.     Don’t switch it on.      First you switch the machine on, then you enter a password.)

3.3 Express clearly a short description of a person, place or object.

  • A. Uses the present tense to describe a person, place or object (He’s tall and slim. It’s a beautiful town. It’s black and white. She’s got long, dark hair. He’s got a beard and a moustache. It’s gold with a silver edge.)
  • B. Uses descriptive adjectives and adds interest to a description (see previous examples)
  • C. Makes comparisons, using comparative adjectives with –er and more (It’s more expensive than…     London is bigger than Addis Ababa.)

3.4 Express clearly statements of fact and personal information.

  •  A. Uses grammatical forms suitable for the level, for example, Present Simple, Past Simple, Present Continuous for Future, Prepositions of Place and Time, Indefinite and Definite Article, Possessive -s, and Possessive Pronouns (I don’t work on Wednesdays.    I was a nurse in Somalia but I don’t have a job now.    I’m going to take my son to the park tomorrow.   
  • B. Recognises direct and less direct requests for information (WH and yes/no questions, Tell me about…) and responds with minimal responses, short forms of the verb or longer answers, as appropriate. Links giving personal information with asking for personal information when appropriate  (Q: Have you got any children? A:Yes, two. OR No I haven’t. OR ‘Yes, I’ve got two boys. What about you?   I can’t swim. Can you?    I’m going to college in September. What about you?)

4. Follow the main points and make appropriate contributions to discussions

4.1 Follow and participate in social interaction in formal and informal situations and make contributions relevant to the topic.

  • A. Greets and responds to greetings (A:Hi. How are you? B:Fine, thanks. And you? A:I’m okay. How was your weekend?)
  • B. Extends and responds to invitations and offers (Q:Would you like tea or coffee?     Q:Would you like another biscuit or some cake? A:I’d love some cake please.    Q:Would you like to come to dinner tomorrow evening? A:Yes, I’d love to. What time? OR Sorry, I can’t. I’m going to English classes.)  
  • C. Takes leave, insisting politely if necessary (Have a good weekend.    I’m sorry but I really must go.)
  • D. Takes part in more formal interaction, elaborating where appropriate, for example: Introduces self and gives personal information; States problems, wishes (I don’t want an evening class, because I have young children.)
  • E. Apologises (Sorry I’m late. I missed the bus.)

4.2 Express feelings, likes and dislikes, views and opinions to others, giving reasons or results.

  • A. Expresses degrees of like/dislike. Uses a range of adjectives to express feelings. (I quite like… I really don’t like.. I’m really tired. I’m so happy.)
  • B. Elaborates by expressing reason or result (I like Manchester because it’s really friendly. I don’t like London, so I don’t go there very often.)
  • C. Uses simple phrases to introduce an opinion. (I think…     I think she’s a good teacher, because she listens to us.)

4.3 Listen, and respond appropriately to, simply expressed feelings and opinions.

  • A. Relates to other speakers, making contributions relevant to the topic and the discussion. Links own contribution to that of others’, using discourse markers. Indicates agreement or disagreement (You’re right. Maybe… I’m not sure. That’s right. I thinks so, too. Yes, but… I don’t really agree because… Do you think..? What do you think about..? What about..? How do you feel about..?)
  • B. Invites contributions from other speakers. Introduces a new topic of discussion. (see previous examples)

5. Listen to obtain information from others

5.1 Listen for gist and identify the situation and key words.

  • A. Recognises context, identifying the situation, speaker(s) and/or topic. Identifies key words in a given context.

5.2 Listen to and follow short explanations, directions and instructions.

  • A. Recognises the order of events in an explanation. Recognises and responds to sequence markers (first, then, finally, because of, so, as a result)
  • B. Recognises discourse markers [Shouldn’t this be subordinating conjunctions?], especially those indicating cause and effect and result
  • C. Responds appropriately to explanations. Takes appropriate action in response to directions and instructions.

5.3 Listen for and identify the main points from a short presentation or explanation.

  • A. Extracts the main points when listening to presentations or explanations.

Lesson aims and objectives

Each lesson will take as its main aim one, or several, of the above functional skills (e.g. 4.2) though not necessarily in the same order. The term’s work will aim to address all of the above skills prior to the exam. The order in which these skills are addressed will depend largely on the Headway course book material as it unfolds. Skills not addressed in the Headway material will require  adaptation of scheduled Headway activities or the use of material from other sources.

E1 Assessment criteria – NOCN S&L

To pass your exams you will need skill in the following 14 language elements. References (such as HBSB1.10.1) refer to relevant activities from units 1 – 3 of the Headway Beginners materials. For example: HBSB1.10.1 = Headway Beginners Student’s Book Unit 1, page 10, exercise 1). Not all of these 14 elements are addressed by Headway units 1 – 3. Supplementary material will be used to address these. Colour coding (e.g. red for stress/pronunciation/intonation) helps to ensure planning encompasses the full range of skills required for NOCN ESOL Speaking and Listening exams.

1. Speak clearly to be heard and understood

1.1 Use stress, pronunciation and intonation to make speech comprehensible to a sympathetic native speaker (HBSB 1.11, 2.12

  • A. Place stress on correct syllable in familiar words (e.g. station, computer, appointment) HBSB1.10.3, HBSB1.1A, HBSB2.12.starter, HBSB3.18.starter, HBSB3.18.2, HBWB3.?.11-12, E1DfES6.8A1
  • B. Pronounce phonemes adequately in utterances so as to be comprehensible and make meaning clear (e.g. ship or sheep?) can/can’t (24/09/12), HBSB1.7.3, HBSB1.10.1, HBSB1.11.3, HBSB2.12.3, HBSB2.14.1, HBSB2.17.1-6,HBSB3.18.starter, HBSB3.18.1-2, HBSB3.19.3,
  • C. Appropximate appropriate intonation patterns, for example, to indicate politeness, to ask questions (e.g. rising intonation: Can I see the manager, please?) HBSB1.8-9, HBSB2.16.3, HBSB3.19.5, HBSB3.20.3, HBSB3.11.3
  • D. Use intonation patterns appropriate for friendly social interactions HBSB1.6-7, HBSB2.12.1, HBSB2.13.5, HBSB3.23.1

2. Make and respond to requests and ask questions to obtain information

2.1 Make requests using appropriate terms

  • A. Make requests with or without modal verbs (e.g. Can I see the manager please? A cup of tea, please.) can 24/09/12, E1DfES1.4A-B, E1DfES6.7C
  • B. Introduce requests (e.g. Excuse mecan 24/09/12, E1DfES1.4B(needs modifying to meet this aim),E1DfES6.7C

2.2 Ask questions to obtain specific information

  • A. Ask WH and Yes/No questions (e.g. What’s your name? Where do you work? Do you speak English? What time is…? Do you live in…? Have you got a job?) HBSB1.6.1-2, HBSB1.9.1-3, HBSB1.10.1-5, HBSB2.11-13.1-6, HBSB2.14-15.1-7, HBSB3.19.1, HBSB3.19.4-5, HBSB3.20.1-3, HBSB3.22.4, E1DfES6.5.2
  • B. Use question form of simple present tense of common verbs, including verbs to be and have got (see previous examples) HBSB2.13.grammarspot, HBSB2.16.3, HBSB2.16.grammarspot, HBSB3.19.4-5, HBSB3.21.3
  • C. Form questions using common modal verbs (e.g. Can you drive?) can 24/09/12
  • D. Use contractions where appropriate (e.g. what’s, who’s, where’s) HBSB1.6, HBSB1.9.1-3, HBSB2.12.grammarspot, HBSB2.13.grammarspot, HBSB2.14-15.1-7, HBSB2.16.3, HBSB3.19.4-6
  • E. Seek clarification where necessary, for example, by asking for repetition, using non-verbal signals (e.g. Can you repeat that please?) HBSB3.23.2, E1DfES1.10A

2.3 Respond to requests for personal information

  • A. Recognise and respond to different types of WH and Yes/No questions (e.g. What’s your name? Parvis. e.g. Where do you come from? Iran.) HBSB1.6.1-2, HBSB2.15.6, HBSB3.21.3, HBSB3.22.4
  • B. Respond using minimal response, short form of verb, or fuller answer (e.g. Are you married? Yes. / Yes, I am. / No, I’m not. / I’m single.) HBSB3.19.grammarspot, HBSB3.20.1-3
  • C. Spell words out loud when asked HBSB3.21.3(adapted)

3. Present information to others [Headway Beginner units 1-3 is mainly concerned with exchanging personal information and therefore does not adequately address this skill area. The Present Simple (with verbs other than to be) is introduced and covered in units 5-6.]

3.1 Make simple statements of fact clearly

  • A. Use verb forms suitable for the level, e.g. Simple Present tense of common verbs and modal can (e.g. He works in Bristol. She can’t drive.) E1DfES2.1-6  EXTRA ACTIVITIES NEEDED FOR ‘CAN’
  • B. Use contracted forms HESB1.6, HESB1.8-9, [All the Headway and DfES materials frequently feature contractions though they don’t always teach them explicitly]
  • C. Spells words out loud when asked [This is addressed in the fortnightly spelling tests.]

3.2 Give a simple description of a person, place or thing

  • A. Use grammar appropriate to level, for example, there is/there are (e.g. There are lots of … in our town.) E1DfES6.2A-B
  • B. Use simple adjectives (e.g. It’s near the Underground. It has a red door. He’s very tall.) E1DfES6.6.A1-2, E1DfES6.6A4

3.3 Give single-step directions

  • A. Use imperative (positive and negative) (e.g. Go straight on. Don’t cross the road. Take the next left.) E1DfES6.7C, E1DfES1.5A
  • B. Use appropriate grammatical forms, for example: prepositional phrases (e.g. through the park, in front of the hospital); determiners (e.g. the, another, the third); and adverbs (e.g. first, then, finally) E1DfES6.7C

4. Speak and listen in simple exchanges and everyday contexts

4.1 Take part in basic social interaction

  • A. Greet another person (e.g. Hello, Hi, Good morning, How are you?) HBSB1.6.1-4, HBSB1.8.5-8, HBSB1.9.1-3, HBSB3.23.1
  • B. Respond to a greeting (e.g. Fine thanks. And you?) HBSB1.6-7, HBSB1.8-9, HBSB3.23.1
  • C. Introduce a person to others (e.g. This is Mahmoud. He’s from Iran.) HBSB1.7, HBSB1.9.3
  • D. Extend an invitation or offer (e.g. Would you like…) E1DfES1.6A
  • E. Recognise and respond to an offer (e.g. Yes please. No thanks. I’m sorry, I can’t.) E1DfES1.6A
  • F. Express thanks HBSB3.23.3.3, E1DfES1.6A, E1DfES6.5.B
  • G. Take leave (e.g. See you later.) HBSB3.23.1

4.2 Take part in more formal interaction.

  • A. Give personal information (e.g. I’ve got a pain in my chest.) E1DfES5.5A, E1DfES5.10A-B
  • C. Make a request (e.g. Can you help me, please?) E1DfES5.6A can 24/09/12

4.3 Express likes, dislikes, and simple views to another person

  • A. Recognise and respond to questions about likes and dislikes E1DfES2.7A-B
  • B. Express likes and dislikes (e.g. I like… / I don’t like…) E1DfES2.7-8. E1DfES2.8A-B
  • C. Express simple views (I think this is a good college.) E1DfES6.4A-B

4.4 Listen to another person in a simple discussion and indicate a response

  • A. Signal either verbally or non-verbally that you are listening during exchanges E1DfES6.8 can be supplemented to address 4.4A 
  • B. Recognise likes/dislikes/feelings/views of others and respond with a simple agreement or disagreement (e.g. I want a new job. Me too. I don’t like this town. Oh, I do. I think this is a good college. You’re right.) DEVISE EXAM TASK STYLE ACTIVITY TO DEVELOP THIS SKILL
  • C. Seeks clarification if necessary, for example: asking for repetition; using non-verbal signals E1DfES1.4A, E1DfES6.8A4-5

5. Listen to obtain information

5.1 Listen for the gist of short explanations, identifying situation and key words

  • A. Recognise context, identifying speaker or topic

5.2 Listen for detail using key words to extract specific information

  • A. Listen for and extract key information, for example: places; times; names. HBSB3.21.1, HBSB3.22.3, E1DfES6.5.1, E1DfES6.6.A3, E1DfES6.7B

5.3 Follow directions, asking for repetition if necessary

  • A. Recognise imperatives in directions (e.g. Turn right, then go straight ahead. Take the second road on the left.) E1DfES6.8A2, E1DfES6.8A6
  • B. Follow clear, simple directions (see above examples) E1DfES6.8A2-3, E1DfES6.8A6
  • C. Check back by repeating directions (e.g. Second on the left? Yes, that’s right.), E1DfES6.8A6

Lesson aims and objectives

Each lesson will take as its main aim one, or several, of the above functional skills (e.g. 4.2) though not necessarily in the same order. The term’s work will aim to address all of the above skills prior to the exam. The order in which these skills are addressed will depend largely on the Headway course book material as it unfolds. Skills not addressed in the Headway material will require adaptation of scheduled Headway activities or the use of material from other sources.

Level 1 grammar

To succeed in Level 1 ESOL assessments, you should be able to produce simple, compound, and complex sentences with more than one subordinate clause. In addition to Entry 1 – Entry 3 grammar, you should be capable of using the following features in your sentences when needed.


  • correct word order in sentences with more than one subordinate clause, e.g. Since the ozone layer has been affected by pollution, people have had to be more careful when they sunbathe.
  • there had been
  • a range of conjunctions to express contrast, reason, purpose, consequence, result, condition, concession, e.g. He’s fast, but not very accurate (contrast); I talked to his sister about the matter, as he wasn’t home (reason); Because she could no longer feed herself, she went to live with her son’s family (reason); They all studied hard so that they would pass the exam (reason/purpose); I went to a talk, so my wife went to her mum’s (consequence); I watered the flower bed beforehand, so the weeds came out quite easily (result); Problems cannot be solved unless they are detected (condition); I’m going to buy a sports car though it can only seat two (concession).
  • conditional forms, using if and unless with past and use of would, e.g. He wouldn’t go unless I went.
  • non-defining relative clauses, e.g. The Rio de la Plata, which flows down from Brazil, is used for transport.
  • defining relative clauses with where or whose, e.g. The village where I grew up…
  • participial clauses to describe accompanying actions with –ing, e.g. My brother ran all the way, carrying her on his back.
  • clause as subject or object, e.g. Can you believe what happened?
  • reported speech with a range of tenses, including use of would and had, e.g. He said that he would come if he had time.
  • a range of embedded questions using if and whether, e.g. Do you know whether he was intending to visit her in hospital?
  • reported questions with if and whether, e.g. He asked if my friend was coming.
  • reported questions with had and would, e.g. He asked if we had understood. She wanted to know if they would agree.
  • reported requests, e.g. He asked me to help him.
  • statements with question tags using Level 1 tenses, e.g. You would prefer coffee, wouldn’t you?
  • reported instructions, e.g. He told me to come.

Noun phrases

  • relatively complex noun phrases with pre- and post-modification, e.g. a tall man wearing dark glasses
  • word order of determiners, e.g. all my books
  • use of definite, indefinite and zero article with a wide range of nouns in a range of uses, e.g. The increase in the use of additives in food…
  • range of expressions to indicate possession, e.g. that book of yours

Verb forms and time markers in statements, questions, negatives, and short forms

  • present perfect continuous, e.g. He’s been working nights for years.
  • past perfect, e.g. He had worked as a fisherman before that.
  • present and past simple passive, e.g. Rice was grown in many parts of the country but many fields were destroyed in the war.
  • use of would in conditional sentences, e.g. It would be better if he told the truth.
  • causative use of have and get, e.g. I had/got the car repaired last week.
  • modals: ought to express obligation, e.g. I ought to see the doctor; negative of need and have to to express absence of obligation, e.g. you don’t have to, you needn’t; would to express hypotheses, e.g. What would you do if…?; use of forms, e.g. be able to to refer to future; would like + object + infinitive, e.g. would like you to
  • a range of phrasal verbs, e.g. to give way, to hold out, to run into

Adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases

  • comparisons using fewer and less
  • collocation of adjective + preposition, e.g. interested in, aware of
  • prepositions to express concession, e.g. in spite of, despite
  • collocations of: verbs + prepositions, e.g. to attend to, point at; nouns + prepositions, e.g, to have an interest in
  • a range of adverbial phrases for time, manner, degree, extent, place, frequency, probability
  • comparative and superlative forms of adverbs, e.g. She worked harder than all the rest.
  • a wide range of intensifiers, e.g. extremely, entirely, tcompletely


  • a range of discourse markers expressing: addition, e.g. furthermore; cause and effect, e.g. therefore; contrast, e.g. however; sequence and time, e.g. at a later date
  • markers to structure spoken discourse, e.g. as I was saying
  • use of ellipsis in informal speech and writing, e.g. sounds good

Level 1 writing – assessment criteria

City & Guilds - vocational qualifications and apprenticeships

Here are typical features required by City & Guilds for successful achievement. These features are grouped into six aspects. Successful achievement in each aspect will gain you 1 or 2 marks (1 for satisfactory or 2 for secure). You need at least 6 out of 12 marks to pass. If you score 0 marks in one aspect,  secure acheivement (2 marks ) in another aspect would compensate for this and you could still pass if you accrue 6 points in total. Although a successful score will be anything between 6 and 12, there is no grading other than pass/fail.

Process features

2 MARKS. A plan is produced which includes relevant information about the topic. A rough copy of the piece of writing is produced. Work is proof-read and revised as necessary, for accuracy and meaning.

1 MARK. Work is planned in a way that relates to the topic in general. Some checking occurs.

Activity achievement

2 MARKS. Writing matches the task set, in subject, format/layout and content. Level of detail is suitable for the pupose of the text.

1 MARK. Writing addresses the subject, format, and content at a generic level. Level of detail is acceptable for the pupose of the text.

Organisation (discourse level)

2 MARKS. Content is ordered and structured appropriately for the type of text and the message to be conveyed. Organisation is clearly signposted using discourse markers to indicate narrative sequence, structure of argument, logical relations (such as cause consequence) and links between ideas. Content is organised into paragraphs and these have coherent internal structure.

1 MARK. Content is mostly ordered and structured appropriately for the type of text and the message to be conveyed. Organisation is generally signposted using discourse markers to indicate narrative sequence, structure of argument, logical relations (such as cause consequence) and links between ideas. Text is organised into paragraphs.

Grammatical accuracy

2 MARKS. There are very few errors with grammatical features associated with Level 1. Such errors that are present are mostly lapses that are easily corrected.

1 MARK. There are some errors, including ones that indicated difficulty with structures expected at Level 1, however these do not impede communication.

Range (sentence level)

2 MARKS. Uses a variety of sentence types: simple, compound and complex to suit the message and the intended audience. Uses a range of subordinating constructions including clauses expressing contrast, reason, purpose, and consequence. Shows some ability to use conditional sentences and reported speech. Uses a range of vocabulary suitable for purpose and audience and so as to express some finer shades of meaning. Shows awareness of word collocation appropriate to the subject, genre and audience.

1 MARK. Uses a variety of sentence types: simple, compound and complex in a way that generally suits the message. Uses a range of subordinating constructions including clauses expressing contrast, reason, and purpose. Uses a range of vocabulary suitable for purpose and audience. Shows an awareness of common collocations.

Layout, punctuation, and spelling

2 MARKS. Uses appropriate layout devices and conventions (e.g. line breaks, indents) suitable for the type of text, the message conveyed and the intended audience. Generally uses punctuation effectively and correctly. Uses commas effectively to punctuate lists, to highlight the structure of complex sentences and to indicate natural pauses. Uses apostrophes correctly for possession and omission. Spells correctly all familiar words and words which conform to conventional spelling rules.

1 MARK. Layout is generally tidy and punctuation is generally correct; neither impede understanding of text or meaning. Spelling of familiar words and words conforming to conventional spelling rules  is mostly correct.

E1 Assessment criteria – NOCN Writing


Whoever marks your exams will be looking for these features.

1. Write to record or present information.

1.1 Compose very simple texts and statements to communicate basic ideas and information. Choose relevant information and use appropriate basic layout.

You may need to write:

  • Short, simple narratives
  • Lists
  • Addresses on envelopes
  • Simple requests for personal details
  • Simple messages
  • Messages on greeting cards

1.2 Write simple statements and questions for different functions. Word order and verb form should be mostly correct.

If needed, you should be able to:

  • make negative statements and positive statements
  • ask questions
  • give instructions or commands

Your sentences should include:

  • contractions, e.g. Don’t you know where we live?

Your sentences may need to show these common word order patterns:

  • subject – verb – object, e.g. I like cats.
  • subject – verb – adverb, e.g. He works hard.
  • subject – verb – adjective, e.g. They’re Hungarian.
  • subject – verb – prepositional phrase, e.g. Jane’s leaving at 4 o’clock.
  • there is/are + noun, e.g.There will be a bouncy castle at the party.

If you write questions, you will need to know the difference between:

  • WH questions and YES/NO questions

2. Use punctuation.

2.1 Most of your sentences should start with a capital letter and end with a full stop (or question mark).

2.2 Always use a capital letter for the pronoun I (You and I are friends.).

3. Spell some personal key words and familiar words.

3.1 You should be able to spell correctly words that are important to you and short, frequently used words.

  • Personal key words, e.g. school, family, job, Ashburton Drive, Dames Road 
  • Frequently used words, e.g. the, in, of, come, live, work

4. Write letters of the alphabet.

4.1 You should be able to form letters of the alphabet. It should be reasonably clear what letter you mean and whether you are using upper or lower case.