Arctic Tern

  Chris Hawkes

AQA AS and A-Level English Literature Specification B (2015-on)

AS (7706); A-level (7707)

 

AQA's AS and A-Level English Literature Specification B 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 Specification B follow this link.

 

AQA offers two Literature specifications with two very different approaches. Specification A takes an historicist approach: students deal with texts in context, as is indicated by the title of the Non-Examination Assessment (NEA) section "Texts across Time". Specification B has genre study at the core, and students look at texts through a genre perspective: texts are informed by comparison within literary genres.

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 Literature Specification B (7716)

AS English Literature is assessed by two examinations, both of 1 hour 30 minutes, and each counting for 50% of the total AS marks. Paper 1 is closed text; paper 2 is open text (student may bring in clean, unannotated copies of their set texts for Paper 2 only.) Both examinations must be taken in the same year.

Paper 1:
Literary Genres: Drama

50 marks: 50% of the total AS marks (Closed text)

Section A: Shakespeare Students will respond to an extract-based question on their chosen text that will ask them first to focus on the extract in detail and then to move to consider the issue raised by the extract in the light of the text as a whole.(25 marks)

Section B: Poetry Students will answer one question based on their chosen drama text. (25 marks)

 

Paper 2:
Literary Genres: Prose and Poetry

50 marks: 50% of the total AS marks (Open text)

Students have the choice of texts from the groupings "Aspects of Comedy" or "Aspects of Tragedy".

Section A: Poetry

Students will answer one essay question on their poetry set text. (25 marks)

Section B: Prose

Students will answer one essay question on their prose set text. (25 marks)

 

 

A-Level English Literature Specification B (7717)

A-Level English Literature Specification B is assessed by two examinations, Paper 1 of 2 hours 30 minutes, and Paper 2 of 3 hours, each counting for 40% of the total A-Level marks, and a personal critical study of two texts, one prose and one poetry - non-examination assessment (NEA) worth 20% of the total A-Level marks.

Paper 1:
Literary Genres

75 marks: 40% of the total A-Level marks. Closed text.

Students have the choice of texts from the groupings "Aspects of Comedy" or "Aspects of Tragedy".

Section A: Shakespeare

Students will respond to an extract-based question on their chosen text that will ask them to consider the significance of the extract in the light of the text as a whole. (25 marks)

Section B: Shakespeare

Students will answer one essay question on their set Shakespeare text. (25 marks)

 

Section C: Comparing Texts

Students will compare the two remaining texts (one drama and one further text, one written before 1900) that they have studied. (25 marks)

 

Paper 2:
Texts and Genres

75 marks: 40% of the total A-Level marks. Open text (Students may bring in unannotated copies of their set texts.)

Students have the choice of texts from the groupings "Elements of Crime Drama" or "Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing". They choose three texts: one post-2000 prose text, one poetry text, and a further text - one of the latter two to have been written before 1900.

Section A: Unseen Text

Students will answer a question on an unseen text related to the chosen grouping. (25 marks)

Section B: Set Text

Students choose one text from the three studied and answer an essay question on this text. (25 marks)

Section C: Connections

Students answer one essay question on the two remaining texts in response to a critical view.

 

Non-Examination Assessment (NEA):
Theory and Independence

50 marks: 20% of the total A-Level marks

For more details of the Non-Examination Assessment for Specification B A-Level English Literature follow this link.

For the NEA component for this qualification, students produce two essays of 1,250-2,000 words each responding to a different text, and each linked to a different aspect of the AQA Critical Anthology.

A re-creative piece may be offered, accompanied by a commentary. The recreative option gives the opportunity for the student to give voice to silent voices in the text, or to open up alternative readings by recreating part of the base text. There are many possible forms that this piece could take: for example, supplying a "missing scene", giving the opportunity for a character to "break the fourth wall", or providing a newspaper editorial or report on events or characters in the text. The function of the commentary is to link back to the base text and to the area of the Critical Anthology under investigation, thus opening up the base text.

It is worth noting that the commentary here serves a different purpose to that in the English Language specification. The commentary for English Language focuses on the candidate's linguistic choices; the commentary for English Language must make clear the possible readings of the base text and the rationale behind the choice of re-creative piece as a reading or interpretation.

 

 

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