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A-level knowledge portfolios

A-level MFL teachers will know that cultural knowledge forms an integral part of the specifications and mark schemes. This element is known as AO4 (Assessment Objective 4).

One idea which we have discussed during AQA presentations with teachers is for students to gradually build up, over the course, a portfolio of knowledge points which they could attempt to bring into their speaking test. These could prove to be very useful hooks on which to hang statements and opinions during the oral. I would suggest that there is a good case for learning some of these almost by rote so that, in the heat of the moment, candidates have got something to fall back on and build up points for AO4.

It must be stressed how important this is. Teachers should not be tempted to allow students to talk in generalities about their own lives or about English-speaking culture. AO4 is there, at the DfE's insistence, to make sure the focus is firmly on the culture of the language of study.

With this in mind, I have concocted a document for frenchteacher.net which consists of bullet-pointed factoids which could help students with their revision. These facts could support existing ones which students may have built up over the two years of the course. (AQA recommend this idea of building  portfolio of this type.)

I have covered all the AQA sub-themes. in a 12 page document. To give you a flavour, here is one below. Students to could supplement it with their own knowledge points.


79% C'est la proportion de la population française qui vit en famille.

1,96 C'est le nombre moyen d'enfant par femme en France en 2015. Au sein de l’UE, la France et l’Irlande restaient en 2014 les pays les plus féconds.

30,5 ans C'est l'âge moyen des mères à l'accouchement en 2015. Celui des pères est d'environ 33,4 ans.

81, 8% C'est en 2014 le taux d'emploi des femmes avec deux enfants (de plus de 3 ans).

61% C'est, en 2013, la part des 2,3 millions d'enfants de moins de 3 ans gardés par leurs parents à titre principal (en semaine, en journée).

239 000 C'est le nombre de mariages célébrés en 2015 en France dont 8 000 mariages entre personnes de même sexe. 123 537 C'est le nombre de couples qui ont divorcé en 2014. Depuis 2010, les couples divorcent de moins en moins.

75,2% Les 13,7 millions d'enfants mineurs vivent en permanence avec leurs deux parents.

18% vivent avec un seul parent.

7% vivent avec un parent et un beau parent.

16,6% des enfants n'habitent jamais chez leur père, et 2,1% jamais chez leur mère.

12,4% n'habitent que chez leur mère, vivant seule.

En 2016, le nombre de naissance a diminué de 14 000, après une baisse de 20 000 l’année précédente. Cette évolution s’explique par une réduction de la fécondité pour la deuxième année consécutive

Un total de 235.000 mariages ont été célébrés en 2016, une quasi stabilité. Le nombre de mariages hétérosexuels n’a pas varié.

À l’inverse, les mariages entre personnes de même sexe ont diminué : il y en a eu 7 000 (comparé à 7 500 en 2015 et 10 522 en 2014), soit 3% des mariages.

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