German K–12
For Testing on or after 10/1/2023

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Writing Section

Test Format and Sample Questions

The German K to 12 subject area test is composed of two subtests. Subtest 1 assesses listening, reading, and writing skills as well as knowledge of the culture of German-speaking countries, the mechanics of the German language, and the teaching of German. Subtest 2, an oral interview, measures speaking skills. You must pass both subtests to receive a passing score on the exam. If you fail one, you may retake only that subtest.

Table of Question Formats

Question Format
Writing sample
Write two short letters or passages in German presenting personal preferences, opinions, needs, and observations. Cues for the writing tasks will be given in English or in German, and one writing prompt will be accompanied by a graphic.

Scoring Guidelines: Writing

Your essay will be scored by two raters. The raters will use the criteria listed below when evaluating your essay. The score you receive for your essay is the combined total of the two raters' scores. Your use of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and idiomatic expressions are very important to the scoring. Scoring criteria include, but are not limited to, demonstration of mastery of several verb tenses, subject-verb and noun-adjective agreement, word order, gender, and spelling.

Scoring Criteria
Score Criteria
4 Writing samples demonstrate sufficient ability to meet most practical writing needs.
  • Can write short guided letters or compositions on familiar topics.
  • Attempts to narrate and describe in paragraph-length discourse.
  • Generally uses gender, case, and adjective endings correctly.
  • Can express present and future time, using most common regular and irregular verbs and reflexives.
  • Can express past time appropriately, although some mistakes may occur with formation of tenses using haben and sein or with low-frequency verbs.
  • Demonstrates appropriate use of vocabulary, idiomatic expressions; spelling, punctuation, and basic control of common syntactic patterns, including inverted word order and subordinate clauses when needed.
  • Errors still occur when expressing complex thoughts.
  • Demonstrates sufficient control of grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation so that errors do not interfere with communication.
  • Attempts to use basic cohesive elements of discourse (relative clauses, object pronouns, and connectors), but random errors may still occur when expressing complex or abstract thoughts.
  • Is able to express a few thoughts (via circumlocution) for which vocabulary is unknown but may reveal occasional interference from first language when expressing ideas beyond current-level of linguistic competence.
  • Writes in a manner that is fully understandable to native speakers accustomed to reading German written by nonnatives and basically comprehensible to a sympathetic native speaker unaccustomed to reading German written by nonnatives.
  • At the upper range, writing may demonstrate native proficiency.
  • Provides a satisfactory classroom model for students of German.
3 Writing samples demonstrate ability to meet a number of practical needs.
  • Errors in grammar, syntax, spelling, and vocabulary do not interfere with communication.
  • Attempts to narrate and describe in paragraph-length discourse, although this may result in a partial breakdown in grammar and syntax.
  • Demonstrates control of the syntax of noncomplex sentences and basic inflectional morphology, such as declensions and conjugation, although sporadic errors in gender and case may occur.
  • Has basic control of the present and past tenses.
  • Writing can be understood by natives used to the writing of nonnatives and provides a minimal model for students of German.
2 Writing samples demonstrate ability to meet a number of practical needs, but errors in grammar, syntax, spelling, and vocabulary may be frequent and may interfere with communication.
  • Seldom attempts to narrate and describe in paragraph length discourse.
  • Attempts to expand discourse result in a breakdown in grammar and syntax.
  • May demonstrate control of the syntax of noncomplex sentences and basic inflectional morphology, such as declensions and conjugation, although frequent errors in gender and case occur.
  • Has basic control of the present tense and sporadic control of the past tense.
  • Does not provide an acceptable classroom model.
1 Able to write simple fixed expressions and memorized materials with some re-combinations thereof.
  • Can write simple autobiographical information, as well as some short phrases and simple lists.
  • Frequent errors in grammar, syntax, and spelling interfere with communication.
  • Vocabulary is inadequate to express even basic survival needs.
  • At the lower range, no practical communicative writing skills or functional ability in writing German.
  • Does not provide an acceptable classroom model.
  • Essay off topic or off topic to the extent that it shows evidence of having been prepared before the examination.

Directions

Write an essay in German of approximately 500 words on the topics presented.

The essay will be scored by two raters. Your use of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and idiomatic expressions will be very important to the scoring. Scoring criteria will include, but are not limited to, demonstration of mastery of several verb tenses, subject-verb and noun-adjective agreement, word order, and spelling.

Take a few minutes to organize your thoughts and plan your essay. Leave time for editing and revising after you have completed your essay. You may outline or plan your essay on the erasable noteboard provided. Your informal outline or plan will not be scored.

To access special characters as you type your essay, use the on-screen Symbol palette or refer to the on-screen reference sheet PDF to use ALT key codes. A paper-based reference sheet may be available upon request.

Sample Topics

  1. In the graphic, a number of young couples are dancing. In the foreground there is a table on which there is a decorated cake, some plates and napkins, and a serving knife. Balloons and streamers decorate the room.

    Using complete sentences, write a short (50 words minimum) composition in German about the picture shown above.

    Organize your composition around the following four points:

    1. a general description of the picture
    2. what the people are doing
    3. what other things people celebrate
    4. a recent celebration you have participated in

Word Count: 0
  1. Beschreiben Sie ein Urlaubserlebnis und was Ihnen besonders gefallen hat oder nicht so sehr gefallen hat.

    Organize your composition around the following points:

    1. why you went to this place
    2. what you did at this place
    3. what you enjoyed most about it
    4. what you would like to do next time you visit

Word Count: 0
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