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  Chris Hawkes

AQA Spoken Language
GCSE English Language

One of the key changes in the new English Language specification is the move from Speaking and Listening to Spoken Language.

Ofqual requires that the arrangements for Spoken Language assessment, recording and moderating are common across all examination boards.

Spoken Language is a compulsory part of GCSE English Language; however, it does not count towards the marks for GCSE English Language, but instead is endorsed separately - the grade will be recorded on the candidate's GCSE English Language certificate. There are only three grades:

  • Pass
  • Merit
  • Distinction
  • Failure to meet the pass criteria will lead to a Not Classified endorsement on the certificate.

    Spoken Language is assessed against AO7, AO8 and AO 9:

      AO7: Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting
      AO8: Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback on presentations
      AO9: Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations.

    Students will now be assessed on their performance on one Spoken Language task - a formal presentation to be followed by a question-and-answer session.

    This raises questions about what the format of a "formal presentation" can be. This depends on the student's context and ability. For some, it could be a traditional formal presentation to a class; for others, this could be in a smaller grouping. The definition of "presentation" is therefore quite broad - the important thing is that the student is involved in the structuring of the presentation better to present her ideas.

    AO9 addresses the use of Standard English. Standard English is of course the appropriate dialect for a formal presentation; however, there is no issue here around accent. Accent is an important part of personal identity; the criterion is that the presentation should be audible and intelligible.

    There is no requirement for record-keeping or compulsory paperwork. AQA will offer a pro-forma that teachers can use if they wish, but no paperwork needs to be submitted.

    Spoken Language is marked by the teacher, the grade given being based on the student's best presentation. The work is moderated by AQA: in common with all examination boards, this will be through the submission of video recordings. Centres will submit to their moderator recordings of a centre-chosen sample of 30 (subject to the size of the centre) students: the performance on the recording to match the student's final grade for the Spoken Language endorsement. Where possible, there should be ten students represented from each of the three grades - Pass, Merit, Distinction.

    The video recording should be digital, and labelled with the centre name, candidate name and candidate number before being sent to the moderator.

    Spoken Language is an opportunity to give students the important life-skill of preparing for and carrying out formal presentations with confidence - equipping them for the world of work.

    There will be six standardising videos issued for 2015, and a further six for 2016. These should be used by centres early in their teaching to help with internal standardisation.

    Charlotte Beth Josh



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