Cri­teria for ma­tu­ri­ty exam lan­gua­ge as­sess­ment

According to the Government Decree on University Degrees 794/2004, a student must demonstrate good language proficiency in the maturity exam (i.e. the maturity essay). Good language proficiency encompasses a suitable command of the conventions of one’s discipline, correct text structure and use of concepts, the ability to write dialogic and coherent text, and reasonable command of linguistic norms.

The reader of the maturity exam must be able to understand the text without being familiar with the thesis. The essay must be written for a reader who knows the common mindset of the discipline but has not read the author’s thesis or study.

If written by hand, the student’s handwriting should be clear enough for the reader to distinguish the aforementioned issues.

The following text features are the focus of maturity exam language assessment:

Text type and sty­le

In the maturity exam, students write an essay-type text. This means that they must have been able to relate the research problem of their thesis to a more general framework. The essay should be written mostly in continuous text, following the norms of an essay type (e.g. narrative or argumentative) which is relevant to both their field of studies and to the essay question/prompt. The essay cannot consist mainly of lists, figures, graphs, etc.

The maturity exam essay is a dialogic text written in a formal style. It demonstrates suitable command of academic style. The style is used consistently, and the text does not contain, for example, colloquial expressions. The vocabulary shows that the author knows the concepts of the discipline.

Struc­tu­re

The text focuses on the topic and perspective defined in the title.

The text forms a coherent whole. It must follow the general basic essay structure: a title; an introduction; a body that addresses the essay prompt with relevant themes/subtopics; and a conclusion. It must also be reflective of the conventions of the field of study. 

The paragraphs are organised in such a way that the structure of the text is logical and cohesive. Division of paragraphs is clearly marked with line spacing.

Sen­tences and clauses

Sentence and clause structures are varied and fluent, including a range of suitably academic cohesive devices, verb phrases and lexical items.

The text contains few errors, which do not usually impede understanding.

Lin­guis­tic form

The text complies with English spelling rules regarding, for example, compounds, punctuation, and capitalisation.

Cri­teria for a fail

A failed maturity exam usually has deficiencies in at least two of the aforementioned points, however, a fundamental deficiency in one category may also lead to a fail. Occasional spelling mistakes alone do not lead to a fail. The language examiner will complete a feedback form for failed maturity exams, which will then be returned to the department (in the case of paper-based exams), or uploaded in the e-Tentti system. The language examiner’s comments will help the student in writing a new maturity exam essay.