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  Chris Hawkes

AQA AS and A-Level English Language (2015-on)

AS (7706); A-level (7707)

 

AQA's AS and A-Level English Language specification for teaching September 2015, with first examinations for AS May/June 2016, and for A-Level May/June 2017.

For details of the AS examinations click here; ; for details of the A-Level examinations click here.

For details of the Non-Examination Assessment (NEA - the new term for coursework) at A-Level for English Language follow this link.

 

English Language at A-Level builds on some of the elements covered at GCSE; however, it has more focus on linguistics and linguistic theory and especially language analysis.

The two courses, AS and A-Level, are designed to be co-teachable, so teachers are free to focus one either AS or A-Level, or to aim students at the AS course as a stepping stone to the A-Level qualification. The path teachers choose will of course depend on the student profile, and perhaps the policy of the school.

It is worth noting that, for students who take both AS and A-Level in the same subject, Further Education institutions are likely only to consider the higher rated qualification when making offers.

In common with all boards, and in accordance with Ofqual regulations, AS and A-Level are now separate qualifications: performance in AS examination will have no bearing on marks awarded at A-Level.

As these qualifications are linear, all AS examinations must be taken at the end of the AS course, and all A-Level examinations must also be taken at the end of the A-Level course. Students may resit AS or A-Level, but must resit all examinations, again at the end of the course.

Also in accordance with Ofqual regulations, there is no coursework - Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) - at AS level.

Achievement will continue to be graded on the existing E-A system, with A* available at A-Level. Students who fail to reach the standard set for Grade E will be recorded as "U" - Unclassified.

 

AS English Language (7701)

AS English Language is assessed by two examinations, both of 1 hour 30 minutes, and each counting for 50% of the total AS marks. Both examinations must be taken in the same year.

Paper 1:
Language and the Individual

70 marks: 50% of the total AS marks

Textual Variations and Representations Students will be presented with two texts linked by topic. They will answer three questions: one requiring analysis of the first text (25 marks); one requiring analysis of the second text (25 marks); and one question requiring comparison of the two texts (20 marks)

Students will need to analyse the texts using linguistic frameworks or concepts:

  • phonetics, phonology and prosodics: how speech sounds and effects are articulated and analysed;
  • graphology: the visual aspects of textual design and appearance;
  • lexis and semantics: the vocabulary of English, including social and historical variation;
  • grammar, including morphology: the structural patterns and shapes of English at sentence, clause, phrase and word level;
  • pragmatics: the contextual aspects of language use;
  • discourse: extended stretches of communication occurring in different genres, modes and contexts.
  •  

    Paper 2:
    Language Varieties

    70 marks: 50% of the total AS marks

    This paper is focused on the social and geographic varieties of the English language, and people's attitudes to language diversity. This will include dialect, sociolects, context and the way different modes of communication show variety of language. Other issues will include language and identity, and language and relationships.

    Section A: Language Diversity

    Students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on the subject of language diversity. (30 marks)

    Section B: Language Discourses

    Students will be asked to answer a question on attitudes to language. (40 marks)

     

     

    A-Level English Language (7702)

    A-Level English Language is assessed by two examinations, both 2 hours 30 minutes, each counting for 40% of the total A-Level marks, and a personal language investigation - non-examination assessment (NEA) worth 20% of the total A-Level marks.

    Paper 1:
    Language, the Individual and Society

    100 marks: 40% of the total A-Level marks

    Section A: Textual Variations and Representations

    Students will be presented with two texts, one contemporary and one older text, linked by topic. They will answer three questions: one requiring analysis of the first text (25 marks); one requiring analysis of the second text (25 marks); and one question requiring comparison of the two texts. (40 marks)

    Section B: Children's Language Development

    Students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on children's language development in response to language data which may be spoken, written or multi-modal. (30 marks)

     

    Paper 2:
    Language Diversity and Change

    100 marks: 40% of the total A-Level marks

    Section A: Language Diversity and Change

    Students will write one essay from a choice of two - one question focused on language diversity, and one on language change. (30 marks)

    Section B: Language Discourses

    Students will be presented with two texts linked to language change and diversity, and will write two responses. The first response will analyse how the texts use language to present ideas, attitudes and opinions; the second will be in answer to a directed writing task linked to the topic and ideas in the texts.

     

    Non-Examination Assessment (NEA):
    Language in Action

    100 marks: 20% of the total A-Level marks For the NEA component for this qualification, students produce two pieces.
  • A personal language investigation of around 2,000 words (excluding data) into a specific area of language. Students collect their own data to aid their research. The investigation will be written up as a scholarly report structured in an academic manner with Appendices (Data) and References (neither of which count as part of the word-limit.)
  • A piece of original writing, with an accompanying commentary analysing linguistic choices. Students choose one of three areas for focus: the power of persuasion, the power of storytelling; the power of information.
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