Learning from the past
Subject Reports are produced for all Diploma subjects on the completion of each exam session. They are written by the senior examiners in charge of that exam session, and are intended to review both the strengths and weaknesses of the examination components used in that exam session, and the overall performance of the candidates, both in quantitative and qualitative terms.
The value of reading the Subject Reports as far as the classroom teacher is concerned is that the Reports usually contain interesting insights into what the examiners are looking for and expect - and this, in turn, can and should affect what one aims to teach in the classroom. This should not be seen merely as 'teaching to the exam', but also that the skills required by the exams are of value in terms of general competence in handling the language. For instance, when the Principal Examiner for the Orals recommends that students would score more highly if they gave some sort of 'MAP' at the beginning of their presentations, this indicates that stating the structure of your talk in your introduction helps the audience to follow your argument more successfully ... and that is of value in any kind of oral presentation !
The difficulty is that these Subject Reports are usually very long and complicated! As the person who for years has written the sections on Orals and the Writing paper, I know that I feel an obligation (and so do my colleagues, I'm sure) to explain carefully all of the impressions I have noted during the marking process. Unfortunately, this can produce pages and pages of text, and I sometimes feel that the whole business could be distilled into simple, succinct advice to teachers.
So, that is what this section of the site sets out to do - review Reports, and pick out the Really Useful bits !