18. A biography

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Task details

Name of writing assessment task A biography
EAL student stage range  B2, B3, S2, S3, S4
Text orientation Informative
Task type Extended response


Task specification

Purpose To assess students' ability to write a biography about a person they admire who they personally know well
Description Students write a biography of a person they admire and who they personally know well, e.g.  mother, father,  teacher, uncle, aunt
Assumed knowledge and description
  1. Content knowledge: The nature and purpose of a biography and the generic structure of biography
  2. Text type, genre: Informative, a biography
  3. Linguistic structures and features:
    • present and past tenses to talk about past and current events, states and achievements
    • time phrases to link events chronologically
    • linking words to justify choice of known person: 'because', 'therefore', 'and so', etc.
  4. Vocabulary: Vocabulary related to describing personality, skills and achievements



Learning/teaching context

Language Centre/mainstream Class Mainstream class – EAL Support
Subject/key syllabus objectives, outcomes   English
Topic/teaching unit  Biographies
Assessment conditions
  1. Individual activity 
  2. Formal/informal: Formal
  3. Time limit: Flexible
  4. Teacher intervention: Limited to response to student request for clarification and encouragement
  5. Access to resources: Students may use their own personal dictionaries, classroom dictionaries and their own notes 
  6. Scaffolding (modelled/guided/independent support): Independent support
  7. Accommodations: -
  • The assessment is done on students' first draft
  • Pre-assessment activities can be extended as appropriate for students



Task implementation

Pre-assessment activity
  • Teacher and students revise the generic framework and useful language for writing a biography based on a model/s analysed and possibly reconstructed in previous lessons
  • Distribute a biography framework and a blank timeline
  • Click to view framework: Framework and timeline PDF
  • Ask students to think of a person they admire and who they personally know well. They complete the framework and timeline in note form.
Assessment activity
Post-assessment activity
  • In groups students discuss their respective biographies and authors share why they chose to write about this person
  • Students do self and peer feedback
  • Give students time to improve and write a second draft of their biography
  • Once the students' work has been read, provide individual and whole class feedback on strengths and individual or global improvement steps


This is undergoing development.  Please check back soon.

This is undergoing development.  Please check back soon.

This is undergoing development.  Please check back soon.


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