Passé simple

Norman

Kwiziq community member

25 April 2017

7 replies

Passé simple

Why is there so much emphasis (typically 4 out of 10 questions) on this tense in the CI tests? I would have thought that, at this level, tests to improve the use of idiomatic/colloquial language would be more useful. Such knowledge is frequently tested in the weekend writing challenges which are not marked by the system.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

25 April 2017

25/04/17

Hi Norman,

This is a question we get a lot. 

Firstly, it's important to understand that although we assign a level to every topic, when we think about what a 'level' means to you as a student, it is mastery of everything up to and including that level. So really C1 is the advanced grammar that we put in C1, but it also all the grammar in the levels below.

Soon the system will be a bit cleverer about including topics from earlier levels automatically but for now we have a shields system, bronze, silver and gold (as opposed to a binary pass/fail) for each level to more accurately reflect the way people really learn, improve and master grammar at various levels of difficulty. So a student who is working at C1 may also be working at improving or mastering their grammar skills in earlier levels, or they may have already perfected those and want to focus on what remains. We generally encourage people to get at least bronze and silver in a level before moving up a level, but then to come back and earn gold and diamond shields later on. We have a level foundations trophy system to encourage students to master level foundations in this way.

You can practise at any level you wish by choosing it from the "choose your own adventure" section on you dashboard and Kwiziq will adjust itself to your choice accordingly, including changing the lessons in your studyplan.

You can tenses by level here:
https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/french-tenses-by-cefr-level

Hope that is helpful!

Norman

Kwiziq community member

25 April 2017

25/04/17

Sorry, but I don't think that really answers my question. Regardless of whether or not 'lower level' topics are included in C1 - why is there such a large proportion of passe simple questions (at any level if you like) compared with all other grammatical and common language topics?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

25 April 2017

25/04/17

There isn't a large proportion in the context of the whole system, that was the point.

sue

Kwiziq community member

26 April 2017

26/04/17

Hi Norman
I think it is because the passe simple features at the C 1 languages framework. The passe simple is important if you study french literature or want to read a book or study such things as the bible or understand the readings in church all which commonly use the passe simple. Verbs especially those ending in ir can cause misunderstanding when reading the passe simple because it resembles or is identical to the present tense. I am not upset about the amount of passesimple appearing, I did however feel a lack at this level or more idioms or a broader vocabulary.

Norman

Kwiziq community member

26 April 2017

26/04/17

Yes, I didn't think the previous explanation actually made the point about the total proportion of the said tense.

I fully realise that the passé simple is used in literature, etc. but I just think the proportion is a bit excessive to the detriment of (even) more useful, and certainly more frequently required, language skills.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

26 April 2017

26/04/17

Hi Norman and Sue - we're working on adding content to C1 so please do suggest ideas. It's a little tricky with pure grammar as it starts to run out at that level. We're building new ways for you to test your so-called integrated production and comprehension skills, as well as vocabulary.

Recognising passé simple is an essential skill as you can't read the majority of French novels without it (we cover that in B2) and we decided to put production of it in C1, not because we think you have to learn to produce it but because it helps you to solidify your knowledge of the tense for reading books in general and that's one of the best ways you can advance from C1.

We are listening to your feedback and constantly working on improving the system so thank you for helping us with your views.

Norman, I'd suggest for now that you mix up testing at B2 and B1 (and even A2) using the choose your own adventure level buttons as there are many skills we introduce in these levels that at C1 you need to work at mastering.

I'm sorry that we don't do this automatically yet, but that is coming.

Best wishes, Gruff

Norman

Kwiziq community member

26 April 2017

26/04/17

OK.
I don't have any trouble reading it in texts, it's very easy to understand. Conjugating it in writing is another matter, but I'm hardly likely to embark on a literary career, or apply for entry to the Academie Francaise.

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