For the new specifications, coursework has been renamed "Non-Examination Assessment" - NEA - and only operates at A-Level (not AS). This is a cross-board requirement from OfQual.
Non-Examination Assessment (NEA):
50 marks: 20% of the total A-Level marks
Informed and relevant, accurately written, appropriate terminology
Ways meanings are shaped, focus on STRUCTURES
Contexts arising from text, task and genre
Connections in the text itself, but also connections through GENRE
(Debate and interpretations are DYNAMIC)
For the NEA component for this qualification, students produce two essays of 1,250-1500 words each responding to a different text, and each linked to a different aspect of the AQA Critical Anthology.
All centres are allocated an NEA Advisor by AQA. Whilst there is no requirement to have texts or tasks "approved", centres are encouraged to make use of their NEA Advisor if in any doubt about suitable text choice or task framing.
Given the title, "Theory and Independence", it is clearly important that students are allowed to work independently: texts which are over-taught, specified by the teacher and tasks that are not negotiated by the student are likely to prevent the student from displaying independence, to the detriment of achievment agianst the Assessment Objectives. The Specification states that a range of texts and tasks over the cohort would be expected. Students should be given ownership of task-choice with the guidance of the teacher.
In essence, these are the requirements.
NB: "Students cannot choose texts from any of the A-Level exam set text lists.” However, ONE of the texts may be from the additional texts for AS list – Hardy poems, Betjeman poems, Remains of the Day or Wise Children.
Texts in translation
The chosen texts may be texts originally written in a foreign language that have been translated into English. However, the Specification states “Texts chosen for study may include texts in translation that have been influential and significant in the development of literature in English. The translated text should be treated as the original writer’s own words for assessment purposes. Therefore, schools and colleges should ensure that they use a version recognised by academia as being a high quality translation which supports the original author’s writing appropriately.”
Essays should include
The Specification underlines this:
“When used in AS and A-level English Literature questions, the term ‘significance’ has a very specific use and gives access to AOs 2, 3, 4 and 5. Its use here derives from semiotics and involves understanding the idea of ‘signification’. In the way literary study is configured in this specification, significance involves weighing up all the potential contributions to how a text can be analysed: through the way the text is constructed and written; through text specific contexts that can be relevantly applied; through connecting the text(s) to other texts; and then finding potential meanings and interpretations.”
The Recreative Option.
One (only) re-creative piece out of the two 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 from 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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