Specifications that use this resource:

Guidance on co-teaching

Our AS and A-level English Language specifications have been designed to be co-teachable. The subject content is structured so that students taking AS only, and those studying for the A-level, can be taught in the same class. Topics studied at AS are textual variation, representation, language diversity, attitudes to language diversity and directed writing, so if co-teaching, these would be included in the first year of the A-level. A-level-only topics are children’s language development, language change, attitudes to language change, international varieties of English, original writing and the language investigation (the last two of which constitute the non-exam assessment), so if co-teaching, these would be included in the second year of the A-level. The assessment objectives are identical for both AS and A-level, but there are differences in weightings as some assessment objectives are applied to the A-level-only content in the A-level, and therefore need to be redistributed for the AS content (for example, there is no non-exam assessment at AS).

Weighting of assessment objectives for AS

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1 Paper 2
AO1 14 7 21
AO2 - 29 29
AO3 22 - 22
AO4 14 - 14
AO5 - 14 14
Overall weighting of components 50 50 100

Weighting of assessment objectives for A-level

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1 Paper 2 Non-exam assessment
AO1 14 8 4 26
AO2 6 16 4 26
AO3 12 6 5 23
AO4 8 6 1 15
AO5 - 4 6 10
Overall weighting of components 40 40 20 100

Teaching AS and A-level English Language

Paper 1

AS A-level

Paper 1: Language and the Individual

AOs

Example questions

Paper 1: Language, the Individual and Society

AOs

Example questions

What’s assessed:

Textual variation

Representation

Methods of language analysis are integrated into the assessment

AO1

AO3

AO4

Two texts, linked by topic or theme (school proms): Mumsnet web forum and Mirror online article.

Question 1: Analyse how Text A uses language to create meanings and representations.

Question 2: Analyse how Text B uses language to create meanings and representations.

Question 3: Compare and contrast how Text A and Text B use language according to their different contexts.

What’s assessed:

Textual variation

Representation

Methods of language analysis are integrated into the assessment

  • Children’s language development (0-11 years)

AO1

AO3

AO4

AO1

AO2

Two texts, linked by topic or theme (driving), one modern and one from a different period: regional newspaper extract from 1902 and The Student Room web forum extract.

Question 1: Analyse how Text A uses language to create meanings and representations.

Question 2: Analyse how Text B uses language to create meanings and representations.

Question 3: Compare and contrast how Text A and Text B use language according to their different contexts.

Question 4: ‘Interaction with caregivers is the most important influence on a child’s language development.’

Referring to Data Set 1 in detail, and to relevant ideas from language study, evaluate this view of children’s language development.

Question 5: “Accuracy is more important than creativity.”

Referring to Data Set 2 and Data Set 3 in detail, and to relevant ideas from language study, evaluate this view of children’s language development.

Assessed:

  • written exam: 1 hour 30 mins
  • 70 marks
  • 50% of AS level

Assessed:

  • written exam: 2 hours 30 mins
  • 100 marks
  • 40% of A-level

Questions

  • A question requiring analysis of one text (25 marks)
  • A question requiring analysis of a second text (25 marks)
  • A question requiring comparison of the two texts (20 marks)

Questions

  • Section A (Textual Variation and Representations) will have three compulsory questions on 2 texts – one modern and one from a different period. (Two 25 mark questions and one 20 mark question)
  • Section B (Children’s Language Development) will include data which is either spoken, written or multimodal, with two question options (30 marks)

Comments

Both AS and A-level assess two texts drawn from a variety of genres and modes, for different purposes and audiences, and from various writers and speakers, using the same AOs.

A-level introduces an element of language change by making one of the two texts contemporary and the other from a different time. This is the key difference between AS and A level, meaning that Language Change as a topic is probably best covered in the second year of the course if co-teaching AS and A-level.

A-level also introduces the topic of Child Language which is not assessed at AS. Again, this would suggest that the topic would lend itself to teaching in the second year.

The A-level paper is longer in duration due to the additional section on Children’s Language Development, and the tasks being of a higher level of demand than at AS. This also means there are a greater number of marks in the A-level.

Paper 2

AS A-level

Paper 2: Language Varieties

AOs

Example questions

Paper 2: Language, Diversity and Change

AOs

Example questions

What’s assessed:

Language diversity

Methods of language analysis are integrated into the assessment

  • Attitudes to language diversity within the British Isles
  • Directed writing

AO1

AO2

AO2

AO5

Section A

Choice of two questions on language variation.

Question 1: Text A, below, is part of a conversation among staff in a restaurant kitchen.

Referring to Text A and to ideas from language study, discuss how a person’s language might be affected by their occupation.

Question 2: Table 1, below, gives details of the turns, speaking time and interruptions at a staff meeting.

Referring to Table 1 and to ideas from language study, discuss the idea that women and men use language differently.

Section B

One compulsory question on Language Discourses

Question 3: Write an opinion article in which you discuss the issues surrounding people changing their accents. Before writing your article you should state your intended audience.

What’s assessed:

Language diversity

Language change

Methods of language analysis are integrated into the assessment

  • Attitudes to language
  • Directed writing

AO1

AO2

AO1

AO2

AO3

AO4

AO5

Section A

Choice of two questions on language diversity and change.

Question 1: Evaluate the idea that spoken interactions between men and women are characterised by miscommunication.

Question 2: Evaluate the idea that the English language is changing and breaking up into many different Englishes.

Section B

Question 3: Text A, printed on the insert, is a blog post about language change from The Guardian online. Text B, printed on page 3, is the start of an article about language change from The Daily Telegraph online.

Analyse and evaluate how Text A and Text B are written to express views about the nature of language change.

Question 4: Write an opinion article in which you evaluate the ideas about language change expressed in Text A and Text B and argue your own views.

Assessed:

  • written exam: 1 hour 30 mins
  • 70 marks
  • 50% of AS level

Assessed:

  • written exam: 2 hours 30 mins
  • 100 marks
  • 40% of A-level

Questions

Section A: one essay question including data analysis (two question options) (30 marks)

Section B: one compulsory directed writing question (40 marks)

Questions

Section A: essay question with two question options (30 marks)

Section B: data analysis question (40 marks) and directed writing question (30 marks)

Comments

Both AS and A-level assess students’ knowledge and understanding of Language Variation: sociolects (to include social and occupational groups, ethnicity, class, age, gender, sexuality, disability) and dialects (to include national and regional varieties within the British Isles). The use of language to and about these groups is also assessed; this might lend itself to a focus on language and representation in AS that links together the focus on representation here and in Paper 1.

A-level extends this to include global varieties of English, suggesting that World Englishes and the associated debates around it might be best taught in the second year of an A-level course.

A-level also introduces Language Change as a topic. As with Paper 1, this means that Language Change is probably best covered in the second year of the course if co-teaching AS and A-level.

A-level Paper 2 involves data extracts on attitudes to language. While AS also offers exploration of these debates and discourses, the A-level requires two different forms of response: a data question and analytical response, along with directed writing for a non-specialist audience, evaluating ideas from the data. The extra range of texts for exploration here could be a focus for year 2 of the A-level.

An additional element not assessed in Paper 2 of the AS is AO4. The increased focus on comparisons and connections between texts could therefore be started in AS (with work on Paper 1) but developed more explicitly and across more opinion-based texts into A level. For example, texts using language in different ways might be compared for both Paper 1 of the AS and A level, while texts about language might make a better focus for the second year of the A level.

The A-level paper is longer in duration due to the additional analysis question and the tasks being of a higher level of demand than at AS. This also means there are a greater number of marks in the A-level.

Non-exam assessment

There is no non-exam assessment (NEA) component at AS, so if co-teaching AS and A-level the work for the non-exam assessment (language investigation, original writing and commentary) may be most appropriately undertaken in the second year of the A-level course, but there would also be the possibility of beginning some of the non-exam assessment work towards the end of the first year of the A-level if this was preferable.

Suggested split of content between Year 1 and Year 2

This is a suggested split of content between Year 1 and Year 2 of A-level to maximise co-teachability with AS.

AS

A-level

Textual variation

Representation

Language diversity

Attitudes to language diversity

Directed writing

Year 1

Textual variation

Representation

Language diversity

Attitudes to language diversity

Directed writing

 

Year 2

Children’s language development

Language change

Attitudes to language change

International varieties of English

Original writing

Language investigation