The trouble with primary assessment frameworks…

Little Johnny walked through the dark, damp, clichéed forest. Suddenly, his feet felt glued to the ground like great big cohesive devices (or should that be adhesive devices? he wondered between parentheses, ambiguously using a lower case letter after a question mark to confuse two-thirds of his moderators) — he couldn’t believe what lay before him. He saw a giant tortoise creating atmosphere outside a small, edible cottage. With a fronted adverbial, the tortoise integrated a line of dialogue to convey character and advance the action: “Like the lowly turtle, I am alone in this forest with nothing but a hard, green shell on my back. I had better use different verb forms to remind myself that I once knew the good life. Oh look, here comes trouble…”

At first, Tom was perplexed by the tortoise. It didn’t seem to belong in the forest. But then he remembered that the interim assessment framework did not require anything to make sense, which was perfect because he had inexplicably changed his name to Tom. Should he use a modal verb here? He wasn’t sure, but as he looked up he noticed the clouds being thrown across the sky as passively as sleeping sheep.

Desperately searching the interim assessment framework for any mention of satisfactory story endings, he found none; did that mean he could end it there? Had there been enough atmosphere? Whose voice was this anyway…author or character? Was there a limit to the number of question marks he could use in one paragraph before being marked down? Would anyone appreciate a quick flight into the subjunctive mood? He wished that it were so.

Out of nowhere, he quickly fired an arrow at the tortoise, using a preposition phrase to add precision. To ensure a bit more atmosphere, the fearful tortoise groaned loudly and sardonically, using his dying words to describe the setting before him: “I can confirm that the water in tortoise heaven is crystal-clear and everything is hyphenated. Truly it is the promised land.”

The story ended abruptly with a surprising shift of formality, innit. However, like most other crimes against literature, this went completely unpunished by the interim assessment framework.