English A1 Assessment

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English A1 Assessment Overview

for IB Seniors (exam session: May 2012)

Syllabus Outline (two year study)


Part 4: School’s Free Choice

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Selected short stories.

O’Conner, Flannery. Selected short stories.

O. Henry. Selected short stories.

Poe, Edgar Allan. Selected short stories.

Sophocles. Antigone. (World Literature)

Part 1: World Literature

Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina.

Yoshimoto, Banana. Kitchen.

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate.


Part 2: Detailed Study

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Hughes, Langston. Selected Poems.

“Mother to Son”


“Theme for English B”

“I, Too, Sing America”

“As I Grew Older”

“Let America Be America Again”

“A Song to a Negro Wash-Woman”

“What I Think”


“How Thin a Blanket”


Rushdie, Salman. Shame.

Shakespeare, William. Othello.

Whitman, Walt. Selected Poems.

“Oh Captain! My Captain”

“I Hear America Singing”

“Cavalry Crossing a Ford”

“When I Heard the Learned Astronomer”

“I Sing the Body Electric”


“To a Foil’d European Revolutionaire”

“France, the 18th year of These States”

Part 3: Group of Works

ben Jelloun, Jahar. The Sand Child. (World Literature)

Emecheta, Buchi. Kehinde.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things.

Assessment Outline (two year study)


World Literature Assignment 1 (externally assessed)


1000-1500 words

Comparative study of at least two Part 1 works.

Individual Oral Presentation (10-15 minutes – internally assessed, externally moderated)


Presentation of a topic, chosen by the candidate, based on Part 4 work(s).


Paper 1 Commentary (2 hours – externally set and assessed)


Written commentary based on poetry or another text to which the techniques of literary criticism can be applied.

Two unseen texts for commentary; no guiding questions.

One commentary to be written on one of the texts.

Paper 2 Essay (2 hours – externally set and assessed)


Two essay questions on each genre available for study in Part 3, Groups of Works, and four essay questions of a general nature.

One question only to be answered, based on the Part 3 works studied and, if relevant, a Part 2 work of the same genre.

World Literature Assignment 2 (externally assessed)


1000-1500 words; Based on work(s) not used in WL Assignment 1


Assignment 2a: Comparative Study (1 WL work and 1 Language A1 work)

Assignment 2b: Imaginative or Creative Assignment (1 WL work, or 1 WL and 1 Language A1 work)

Assignment 2c: Detailed Study (1 WL work only)

Individual Oral Commentary (15 minutes – internally set and assessed, externally moderated)


Commentary on an extract, chosen by the teacher, from one of the Part 2 works studied.

Extract accompanied by one to two guiding questions.

Understanding the IB Rubric Criterion


  • very clear, effective, carefully chosen and precise

  • high degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction

  • effective and appropriate register and style


  • effectively organized and developed

  • reader is engaged and persuaded

  • requires the coherence of ideas within

  • should incorporate quotations into their writing in such a way that the development of their ideas is enhanced and not impeded,

  • should avoid using large blocks of quotations

  • consistent with required formatting


  • reader is engaged and persuaded

  • require careful structuring

  • a clear, sustained focus and purposeful development of ideas (with links between elements)

Knowledge and understanding of literary works

is the expression of an author’s individual creativity and as representatives of their genre and period. Knowledge refers to familiarity with the work. Understanding is the ability to interpret the writer’s intention and to understand how context may affect that interpretation—both the context of the work and what the reader brings to the reading.

  • know the main features of the genre the text exemplifies

  • demonstrate the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of the use of the various conventions.

  • discuss the links between works: differences and similarities in their context, style, structure, theme and so on

  • understand cultural values as expressed in literature, and the significance of context in literary works. The actions of the characters in a literary work should not be judged by the student’s own time and culture.

  • statements or assertions must be validated and have evidence to support them

  • carefully chosen, detailed references to the work(s), passage or extract

  • demonstrate their independent interpretation and depth of understanding

  • evidence provided in the form of quotations and line references

  • should set quotations in context, integrated into the text of the essay and accompanied by explanation or analysis

Analysis of literary techniques

  • demonstrate an ability to analyze language, structure, technique and style

  • know the difference between description and analysis


  • recognize how and why literature affects the reader

  • see how, in literary terms, one writer compares with another. Similar literary techniques will affect readers differently and students are expected to be able to analyse, discuss and justify their own response to the choices that writers make.

Independent literary criticism

  • acquire for themselves the skill of reading between the lines

  • see how writers have achieved their effects and how they may be trying to persuade the reader to accept their views of the subject of the prose passage or poem

  • build on what they have learned in class, but also show that they have thought for themselves about the topic

World Literature Assignment 2

The candidate:

  • chooses the type and title of the assignment, but may discuss the choice with the teacher.

  • may select any aspect of the World Literature works studied. If the same aspect is chosen by more one student, the content must be different. You must write about a different aspect for each assignment.

  • 1000-1500 words in length with word count at the end. Quotations are included in the word count, but footnotes and bibliographies are not.

  • Each WL work may be used in one assignment only. A minimum of three WL works must be covered in total.

  • Make it clear on the title page which assignment you are completing (2a, 2b, or 2c).

  • Topics may not be repeated.

  • The assignment may not be written in class.

Features of an appropriate written assignment topic:

  • a focus on the literary aspects

  • clear titles that about the topics chosen and the writer’s intentions

  • awareness of the assessment criteria

  • goes beyond only a description of the characters or events of the work

Planning – fill out the proposal form and conference with the teacher before you begin writing.
First Drafts – Teachers are allowed to make general comments about the first drafts either verbally or in writing on a SEPARATE sheet of paper. Teachers may assist further unless the topic is abandoned.
Guidance and Authenticity (Is it your own work?)

Students should be familiar with:

  • the requirements of the type of work to be assessed

  • the assessment criteria (the work submitted for assessment must address these criteria effectively)

  • the basic meaning and significance of concepts that relate to academic honesty, especially authenticity and intellectual property [which are included in the back of this packet].

The written assignment submitted for external assessment must be the student’s own work. Verification of this should be done via discussion and scrutiny of one or more of the following:

  • the student’s supervised writing from which the topic has been generated

  • the first draft of the written work

  • the references cited

  • the style of writing compared with work known to be that of the student

All work submitted to the IB for moderation or assessment must be authenticated by a teacher, and must not include any known instances of suspected or confirmed malpractice. Each student must sign the coversheet to confirm that the work is his or her authentic work and constitutes the final version of that work.

Once a student has officially submitted the final version of the work to a teacher (or the coordinator) for assessment, together with the signed coversheet, it cannot be retracted.
If the teacher and student sign a coversheet, but there is a comment to the effect that the work may not be authentic, the student will not be eligible for a mark in that component and no grade will be awarded.

WL Assignment 2a: Comparative Study (Works: 1 WL & 1 Language A1)

  • based on an aspect of one World Literature work and one work chosen from any part of the two-year syllabus

  • must focus on some pertinent link between the two works

  • may not be a generalization of culture, but may explore cultural similarities and differences


  • must be a cogent piece of writing – include some introductory and concluding remarks (in MLA)

  • should constitute a reasoned argument


  • The introduction could be, for example, a brief statement of the aims of the assignment.

  • The main body should reveal the candidate’s insight into the works and the candidate’s appreciation of the chosen link between the works.

  • The conclusion could be, for example, a brief summary and personal evaluation of the discussion.

Choice of an appropriate and focused aspect: What element of __________________ will you be discussing?


Better Topics

Conflicts in God’s Bits of Wood and A Fine Balance

The nature and significance of social conflicts in God’s Bits of Wood and A Fine Balance

A comparative study of The Suffrage of Elvira and A Man of the People

A comparison of the sources and functions of humor in The Suffrage of Elvira and A Man of the People

Men in Kokoro and Fiela’s Child

A comparison of the presentation and significance of the father figure in Kokoro and Fiela’s Child

Politics and religion in The House of the Spirits and Petals of Blood

Attitudes to politics and religion in The House of the Spirits and Petals of Blood

Dramatic techniques in I Will Marry When I Want and The Trial of Mallam Ilya

The role of music and mime in I Will Marry When I Want and The Trial of Mallam Ilya

Death in the poetry of Symborska and Owen

A comparison of the images of death in the poetry of Symborska and Owen

WL Assignment 2b: Imaginative or Creative Assignment (Works: 1 WL or 1 WL & 1 Language A1)

  • based on one WL work or a combination of a WL work and work chosen from any part of the two-year syllabus

  • NOT a conventional critical essay or commentary

  • allows the candidate to apply the principles or techniques of literary criticism or appreciation in an informed, imaginative manner

  • IBO indicates that the problem most candidates have with this assignment is related more to how to execute the tasks they set themselves than to the formulation of a viable assignment topic.

WL Assignment 2b: The Statement of Intent

  • must include:

    • the work(s) on which the assignment will be based the nature of the task to be engaged in, including considerations such as audience, register, form

    • the aspects or elements of the work(s) on which the candidate intends to focus

    • how the candidate intends to explore these aspects or elements

  • must be included in the word count

  • should not normally exceed 500 words. If you are doing a creative piece such as a short poem, the statement may be longer than the body of the assignment and longer than 500 words.

WL Assignment 2b: Suggestions

There are many possibilities for creative approaches. The following list of suggestions, while not exhaustive, provides some ideas for assignments.

  • The diary of a character accompanied by critical comment by the candidate.

  • A director’s letter to the actor playing a particular role or scene.

  • An exercise in which the candidate turns the ‘story’ or a portion of it into another form such as dramatic monologue, biblical parable, folk tale or myth.

  • A critic’s review of a dramatic interpretation/performance.

  • An editorial objecting to censorship or exclusion of a work from a school syllabus.

  • A letter to a publisher outlining the merits of a work to be published and reasons for publication.

  • The creation of dramatic monologues that play the self-perception of the characters against the view of other characters or the author.

  • A transcription either of an imaginary interview with the author about the work in question or of a conversation between two authors about their respective works.

  • A postscript to a novel, or an extra chapter.

  • An additional scene for a play.

  • A pastiche (an imitation or re-creation of an already published work). In this assignment, candidates are encouraged to demonstrate their sensitivity to, and understanding of, a work by providing an original composition after the manner of that work.

Appropriate assignment topics

Inappropriate assignment topics

  • an editorial published by the People’s Herald on the meeting convened by Dr. Thomas Stockmann (based on An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen)

  • Aissatou’s response: a reply from Aissatou explaining and justifying her reaction to her husband’s betrayal (based on So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba)

  • an interview with Ibsen, in which the interviewer only asks questions about Ibsen’s personal life, for example, “Did you have an unhappy marriage, Mr. Ibsen?”

  • a dramatic monologue by Vladimir, in which the candidate only repeats statements made in Waiting for Godot

  • “Hamida’s Diary,” in which the candidate only paraphrases parts of Naguib Mahfouz’s Midaq Alley

  • an alternative ending to The Outsider in which Meursault escapes to find true happiness on a desert island with Marie

Guidance for candidates:

  • make sure that the assignment meets the requirements of the rubric

  • the tasks undertaken must reveal knowledge of and insight into the literary features of the works on which they are based

  • avoid: (1) following the original work so closely that they do no more than replace portions of it with arbitrary alternatives, (2) departing so far from the original that the piece they create reveals little evidence of knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the original, (3) trying to “improve” the original, examples include: exacting revenge on the villains, allowing the escape of the protagonist, explaining the inexplainable

WL Assignment 2c: Detailed Study (1 WL work)

  • based on an aspect of one World Literature work from any portion of the two-year syllabus

  • extracts should not be included in the word count, but copies must be attached when submitted for assessment


  • A formal essay, such as:

    • Symbols of hope and despair in the poetry Pablo Neruda

    • Attitudes to oppression in The House of the Spirits

  • Analysis of a key passage (a paragraph, a page, a chapter, or an extract from a poem) explores, for example, prose or poetic style, character study, plot development or theme. The passage should have major significance for any of a variety of explorations: Why is this passage central to our understanding of the work? Why is it a “key”?

    • should briefly explain the reason the passage was chosen, why it is central to our understanding

    • should explain the significance of the passage to the larger work from which it has been taken

    • show relationship to development of plot

    • examine what it shows about elements such as theme, style, and characters

  • Analysis of two key passages explores, for example, contrasting prose styles, descriptive method, character presentation and a range of other aspects.

    • justify briefly the pivotal nature of the passages chosen

    • demonstrate their particular similarities and differences which the candidate considers interesting

  • Commentary on an extract analyzes in-depth an extract of approximately 30 lines of prose or the equivalent in drama or verse. Choosing an extract should by guided by: Why can this passage be seen as characteristic of the writer’s central concerns and/or techniques?

    • justify briefly their selection of the particular extract

    • explore how language, imagery, organization of ideas, and stylistic and thematic aspects work together within the passage to create or enhance meaning

General requirements for final submission (specifics to come later):

      • MLA format (include title page for WL2 – and specify which assignment type you chose: 2a, 2b, or 2c)

      • WL form completed and signed

Frequently Asked Questions – Written Assignment
The topic and its selection
Who selects the topic on which the candidates write their assignment?

Candidates are expected to:

  • select a viable aspect of the world literature works they have studied

  • ensure that the aspect selected lends itself to a literary discussion

  • create an appropriate topic for the assignment

  • select a topic and/or treatment distinct from those of other candidates at their school.

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