Category Archives: examinations

Katie Lane’s 2016 NAT5 RUAE Teachers’ Notes!





SATE – Teacher’s Guide

National 5 RUAE Paper 2016

“Can Idina Menzel ever Let It Go?”


Topic:                    The singer Idina Menzel and her life after voicing Elsa from Frozen.

Summary:           Lines 1-3 – Identifying Menzel as the singer of American anthem for Superbowl.

Lines 1-3 – Identifying Menzel as the singer of American anthem for Superbowl

Lines 4-10 – Further identification of Menzel and her career

Lines 11-21 – Menzel discusses Frozen and the possibility of a sequel

Lines 22-25 – “Frozen Fever” and its impact

Lines 26-30 – Criticism about Menzel’s singing

Lines 31-41 – Back to the Superbowl, the contrast between Menzel and American Footballers is used to look at Frozen as a feminist film

Lines 42-47 – The realistic nature of Elsa as a female character

Lines 48-54 – Menzel’s relationship with her sister

Lines 55-61 – The Oscars and how it was good for her caree

Lines 61-66 – Menzel’s opinion of her career

Lines 67-72 – Menzel discusses if she has an “Elsa Dress” (she doesn’t)


Challenging Words (these could be used to teach identifying meaning in context)

Line numbers are in brackets

+ ubiquitous (5)                                                +Stratospheric (7)                                            + elevated (8)

+ mooted (11)                                   +behemoth (25)                         + proximity (31)                    +zeitgeist (62)


Types of Questions:

  • In your own words (explanation) (Q1, Q3, Q7)
  • Features/Use of Language (two general, one question which mentions sentence structure, tone or word choice specifically and one that is word choice alone)  (Q2, Q4, Q6, Q8)
  • Link (Q5)
  • Contrast created through Sentence Structure, tone or word choice (Q8)
  • Inference – individual’s personality or character. (Q9)


Further teaching points

  • The inference question (Q.9) could be broken down and taught by teachers giving out the following sentences and pupils identifying what they learn about Menzel
  1. “Apparently I spoke out of turn” (12)
  2. “It’s pretty much a group number though.” She sounds slightly disappointed (20-21)
  3. “They’re huge, standing there, and you’re this one woman, singing on her own” (34-35)
  4. She and her younger sister, Cara, had their fair share of “Do you want to build a snowman?” moments. (48-49)
  5. She nevertheless recognises that Travolta’s slip was “one of the greatest mistakes ever – it helped my career, that’s for sure.” (58-59)
  6. Her conversation is a mix of Broadway-speak (“I try to sing from the heart”) and battle-hardened ambition. (60-61)
  7. “People who are trying to find themselves. I’m proud of that. I’m not sure why that’s become the pattern for me – maybe because I have so much to learn myself” (64-66)
  8. Part of me suspects that she’d quite enjoy ruling over her own wintery kingdom. (71-72)
  • The link question (Q.5) could be reinforced by looking at the additional links used in the passage
  1. How about that Frozen stage show, also much mooted?” (15)
  2. The unnerving proximity of several dozen hulking American footballers may have had something to do with that. (31-32)
  3. Yes, the two heroines are still doe-eyed and partial to shiny dresses, but their relationship is subtle. (41-42)
  4. She nevertheless recognises that Travolta’s slip was “one of the greatest mistakes ever – it helped my career, that’s for sure.” (58-59)
  • The contrast question (Q.9) could be reinforced by looking at lines 31-41 where the contrast between the American Footballers and Menzel is highlighted.


Katie Lane is Acting Principal Teacher of English at St Margaret’s High School in Airdrie, and is SATE Local Coordinator for North Lanarkshire.


Higher English Examination: SATE follow up statement, 5/5/16


Having now seen the examination papers, and spoken to students who sat them, there seems to have been no unwelcome surprises. The extracts from texts, and the standards of the questions set, were reasonable and fair. It appears the SQA have remedied any issues in a quick and effective manner.

Students and teachers put an enormous amount of time and effort into preparing for examinations, coursework and assessments over the school year, and it is essential that they can have confidence in the examination system. It is important that standards and tasks are reliable and explained clearly. While we don’t expect any more issues to arise, it will be important that the SQA keeps everyone informed, and monitor the marking and verification process for any issues arising before results day.

We’d like to say well done to all the students who sat exams today; we are sure their hard work will pay off and we wish them the best of luck, whatever challenge they are moving on to.


Higher English Examination: SATE Statement, 4/5/16

As the subject association for English and Literacy teachers in Scotland, we know how essential it is that all students, teachers and parents can rely on the examination system to fairly and reliably test skills and knowledge.

We are pleased that the SQA has moved quickly on discovering an issue with the 2016 Higher examination, and are advising our students that this should make no difference to their performance or outcomes in Thursday’s examinations.

Obviously this has caused some students undue worry and stress, which teachers across the country will have been working hard to minimize. This is always an issue with high-stakes testing, and it is regrettable that it has been compounded in this situation.

It will be important that the SQA works to keep schools, teachers and students informed about any further issues arising concerning these examinations.

English and Literacy are especially difficult subjects to assess with examinations, and it will be essential that any changes to examination questions will be clearly communicated and moderated when exam scripts are marked. It is essential that markers are properly informed of the standards, and that any oddities arising from this episode are taken into account before students receive their results.