Subject content

Introduction

Introduction

This A-level makes Creative Writing available in the secondary curriculum in the same way that other creative art forms such as music, art and design, dance, and drama are available. It allows aspiring writers to trace a route through school/college on to higher education and beyond into professional practice within the creative industries, just as it is possible for aspiring actors, musicians and artists to do. It allows students who have enjoyed creative writing at GCSE to progress without necessarily intending to study the subject at degree level. It also offers interesting possibilities to adults who are re-entering study after a break.

This qualification complements (so does not replicate) English Language and/or Literature study. It is accessible to students not necessarily interested in language theory or literary criticism, including those focused on entirely different subject areas such as science, languages or humanities. The Assessment Objectives are modelled to some extent on other creative arts at A-level but are also informed by the principles operating within higher education, where rigorous and successful schemes of monitoring individual creative work have been devised.

Courses based on this specification will require the study and production of different types of creative and professional writing, defined here as different forms. There are four distinct forms, all of which can be produced for a range of different media. Students may write in: prose fiction, prose non-fiction, poetry or script; for: page, performance, radio, screen or digital media.

In this specification the following definitions apply:

Form: a type of writing: prose fiction, prose non-fiction, poetry or script.

Genre: a sub-division of one of the types of writing above, usually defined by content or technique: e.g. short story, travel article, sonnet, screenplay.

Medium: the route through which the writing is received: page, performance, radio, screen or digital media.

Creative Writing should not be seen solely as the production of literary texts; so while students could indeed write stories, poems and plays, they might equally produce journalism, creative non-fiction and web content.

This course encourages the developmental stages of creative work in a whole range of written forms and genres, and allows students to explore how writing is crafted in order to express individual visions. It balances the teaching of various aspects of craft with an exploration of how personal preoccupations can be given their own voice and communicated effectively. This process of discovery will inevitably examine and refer to published examples, developing students' critical and analytical skills, in order to apply them to their own work.

This A-level in Creative Writing expects students to:

  • write regularly in a range of forms and genres in order to explore writing styles and develop technical control 
  • read widely and critically, developing their writing skills by widening their experience of reading
  • share work-in-progress with others, respond productively to feedback and develop drafting and editing skills.

Approaches to teaching

Creative Writing is firmly established as a distinct discipline within higher education, with a discrete and unique pedagogical practice, the involvement of professional writers and links to the creative industries. Creative Writing at degree level is taught primarily by practising writers. It is hoped that the teaching of Creative Writing in secondary schools and colleges will in some ways mirror this practice, with teachers and students working together as writers.

The specification allows flexibility and freedom of choice, for both teachers and students, encouraging courses of study that incorporate the interests and learning requirements of particular students. However, there are some common principles and points of good practice that apply here. It will be helpful to consider the following when constructing courses based on this specification.

1.

Although there is an emphasis on individual creativity in this specification, this does not mean that students can simply be left to their own devices. Effective writing is the product of acquired skills as well as personal invention, and writing skills need to be taught and practised throughout the course.

This specification offers students the opportunity to write in a number of forms, and a number of genres within those forms. If they are to choose their specialisms wisely, especially by the time they reach A2, they need to have experienced writing in many forms and genres.

2.

Writing and reading are parts of the same process, and although reading is not explicitly assessed in this specification, it will form a vital part of the course. Students need to know this, and reading should form part of the early work at AS.

Teachers need to introduce students to a wide range of reading early in the course and, as the course develops, to encourage students to share texts that they have found interesting.

It is worth noting here that this specification offers opportunities to write in various forms and genres, so students need to be introduced to the following: journalism, travel and other non-fiction prose writing, blogs and other web-based writing, a variety of poetic forms, prose fiction, screenwriting and playscript etc. Clearly, some types of writing can be read as whole texts or extracts in class, but students must expect to read longer texts in their own time.

3. The approaches taken to looking at texts will need to be different from those taken in other subjects, where responses to reading are the point of the exercise. In this specification the aim of the reading programme is to produce writing; not writing about texts, but individual writing that emerges from engagement with the writing of others. So, texts need to be explored through thinking about the creative strategies employed and learning about the craft of writing: e.g. the following and bending/breaking of generic rules, the creation and sustaining of distinctive voices, narrative perspective, point of view, characterisation and the writer's possible intentions and outcomes.
4. Regular writing in response to regular reading is strongly advised. Creative Writing students should keep a journal of responses to reading, ideas for writing and first drafts of new writing in the same way that Art students keep a sketch pad.
5. The assessment of this specification places a high importance on technical accuracy in writing, emphasising the point that successful writing has technical competence as well as originality. This means that students must see the need for technical accuracy and be prepared to work with their teachers to improve their technical skills.

Teaching accuracy in writing is not easy, and there is no foolproof method to improve the individual's writing skills. There may be times when it is helpful to have whole class approaches to sentence structure, paragraphing, spelling, punctuation, grammatical agreement, Standard English and dialect forms, and verb tenses. But, on the whole, the best work on improving technical knowledge, skills and accuracy will be done with individuals, taking into account their specific needs.

6. One key tool in teaching Creative Writing is the writing workshop. The collaboration that this requires is particularly suited to teaching classes, either in whole groups or small groups.

The writing workshop encourages students to see that writing involves skills as well as inspiration. Short tasks can be set, shared and discussed within single sessions. Short, timed tasks have the added significance of preparing students for the urgency of delivery that is required in Unit 1.

Another very important feature of the workshop model is the giving and receiving of constructive criticism. A clear goal for the developing writer, reflected in the commentaries written in Units 2, 3 and 4, is to be self-critical. In developing this ability, it can help to share feedback and ideas with others.

The giving of constructive criticism is a skill that can be taught, alongside the productive learning that can come out of receiving feedback in such sessions.

7. The workshop process is further enhanced if teachers of the course are writers themselves, taking part in many of the same processes as their students. This is common in other creative subjects. If the teacher can be seen to be engaging in the same work that the students are doing, this can encourage students and also give the teacher insight into the issues facing relatively new writers.
8. A further impetus to good writing practice can come from engaging with professional, published writers. These can be writers working in a range of forms and professions, such as journalists, novelists or poets.

With funds inevitably tight, it will be important to ensure that any visit will achieve your aims. As with so many initiatives and strategies in this subject, the best outcomes will involve students producing their own work. There is scope here too for students to learn about writing as a profession; in any engagement with a professional writer, you may want to consider opportunities to discuss different career alternatives and the business of publication. A list of possible contacts can be found on the AQA website.

9. Throughout the course the need for students to write regularly, to deadlines, is key. It is important that this sense of delivering work is stressed from the outset, in preparation for examination in Units 1 and 3. Timed exercises should be part of the pedagogy. As collaborative methods evolve, students can be encouraged to find their own data and stimuli for timed writing tasks.
10. There are some good practices in this subject which need to be encouraged. Alongside keeping a journal and working at technical skills, new writers should, from the outset, be trained to retain evidence of how their work has evolved. Keeping first drafts of independent work will be one of the necessary safeguards to guarantee authenticity show how work has been developed, and they are required in Units 2 and 4. Compiling an ongoing bibliography will show what is being read, as well as developing a skill required in Unit 4. Keeping to deadlines will be vital.
11.

The following list outlines some important pedagogical principles behind this specification. Students need to:

  • practise writing skills across all forms and in many genres
  • undertake wide and extensive personal reading
  • write regularly and keep a journal
  • improve technical accuracy
  • work in a collaborative environment
  • participate in workshops
  • see their teachers as writers
  • meet and learn from professional writers wherever possible
  • write to deadlines
  • keep an ongoing record of their work.
12. There are now plenty of very helpful books for teachers and students of Creative Writing. Teachers may wish to refer to some of these in preparing classroom exercises and workshop sessions, identifying suitable texts for consideration, or discussing the processes and experiences of writing with their students. A selection of recommended reading can be found on the AQA website.

Unit 1 - Writing on Demand

Introduction

This examined unit is designed to reflect the fact that writing can be creative in ways that are non-literary. It also reflects the fact that creative writing is part of the professional world of work.

Many professional writers write to order, with tight deadlines and tight focus. This makes an examined unit an especially suitable way of assessing this type of writing. The aim of this unit is to give students the opportunity to write to a specific professional brief, showing appropriate writing skills, in limited time.

Content

Students will need to be prepared for this unit by reading and writing a variety of texts from the professional world. Teachers should encourage students to experience a wide range of genres, noting particularly how different writers communicate ideas effectively in different contexts.

There is no prescribed list of text types. Types of writing may include, but are not limited to:

  • journalism in its many forms: e.g. articles, columns
  • writing online: e.g. blog entries, web page content
  • persuasive writing: e.g. writing a pitch, editorial
  • reviews: e.g. reviewing an event or product
  • entries in compendia: e.g. online encyclopedias, synopses
  • creative non-fiction: e.g. travel writing, autobiography.

Mode of Assessment

Assessment will be by one written paper of 2 hours' duration.

Students will answer two questions from a choice of four. Each question is marked out of 30, giving an overall mark for the paper of 60. Both questions will involve the production of texts based on practical writing scenarios. Students will be given a professional writing brief with some specific contexts. Students will be expected to address closely all elements of the brief.

Some tasks may provide information which needs to be incorporated into a response (for example, an editorial task); at other times, students will be writing from their own experience (for example, writing an article).

There will always be a choice of two questions from a choice of four, which will allow students to find contexts with which they are familiar, both through their particular knowledge of the world around them and from their preparation for this unit.

In all tasks, students will be expected to demonstrate an imaginative approach and the technical writing skills appropriate to their chosen task.

Some tasks will give guidance on word counts as part of the brief. Students are expected to address this aspect of the brief by adhering to the word count. However, we do not expect students to count words in the exam and there is reasonable flexibility here. Students should be made aware of approximate word counts in their preparation for this unit.

Students are advised to spend one hour on each of the two questions. It is recommended that, for each question, students spend around 15 minutes reading, thinking and planning.

This unit assesses AO1 and AO2 only. See section 4 for Assessment Objectives in full. The table below shows the percentage weightings of each of the AOs in this unit and in the specification.

Question AO1 AO2 AO3 AO4 Total
Question 1 15 marks (10%)  15 marks (10%) - - 30 marks (20%)
Question 2  15 marks (10%)  15 marks (10%) - - 30 marks (20%)
AS Total 30 marks (20%)  30 marks (20%)     60 marks (40%)
A Level Total (10%) (10%)     (20%)

Unit 2 - Exploring Creative Writing

Introduction

The aim of this coursework unit is to introduce students to regular writing practice across a broad range of forms. In this specification, forms are defined as: prose fiction; prose non-fiction; poetry; script.

This unit introduces the notion of writing craft, with particular focus on the processes involved in developing creative work, such as generating ideas, drafting and redrafting, using different forms and genres, and critical reflection.

Content

In preparation for this unit, students must read and write in all four forms specified above: prose fiction; prose non-fiction; poetry; script. Through regular reading and writing assignments students will develop their expertise as writers. Students should keep drafts of their work, building a portfolio that includes examples across all four forms.

Students must choose two forms on which to focus for their coursework. Although classroom learning will be teacher led, it is the intention of this unit that students are free to develop their own ideas and interests. In preparing their coursework folder, students will identify their strongest work, redrafting as necessary.

The following are examples of types of writing that students and teachers may like to explore. This list is intended as exemplification only and is by no means exhaustive:

  • Prose fiction: short stories, novels, flash fiction;
  • Prose non-fiction: articles, travel writing, blogs, website content, memoir, biography, essays, monologue;
  • Poetry: a variety of poetic forms, prose poetry;
  • Script: radio plays, screen plays, stage plays, dramatic monologue.

Mode of Assessment

Assessment will be by the production of a coursework folder of three pieces of work. Each piece will be marked out of 30 to give an overall mark out of 90 for the unit. The work will be assessed internally by schools/colleges and externally moderated by AQA.

The coursework folder will consist of three elements:

  1. Creative Work 1
  2. Creative Work 2
  3. Commentary.

The two creative elements must conform to the following:

  • The two creative elements must be in two different forms. Students may choose two of the following: prose fiction; prose non-fiction; poetry; script.
  • The word guidance is 3000 words in total for the two creative elements.
  • The work submitted for each creative element must be a minimum of 500 words.
  • Each creative element may be made up of shorter pieces: e.g. a collection of poetry or flash fiction.
  • Students must also submit the first draft of all creative work. The first drafts will not be included in the word count and may be consulted by moderators as evidence of redrafting.

Students are also required to submit a reflective commentary that demonstrates critical awareness of their own writing process for both creative elements. This should include: inspiration and aims; influences; choice of form; creative problem solving; responding to feedback and editing. Word guidance for the commentary is 1500 words.

This unit assesses all AOs. See section 4 for Assessment Objectives in full. The table below shows the percentage weightings of each of the AOs in this unit and in the specification. 

  AO1 AO2 AO3 AO4 Total
Creative Work 1 15 marks (10%)  15 marks (10%) - - 30 marks (20%)
Creative Work 2 15 marks (10%)  15 marks (10%) - - 30 marks (20%)
Commentary      15 marks (10%)  15 marks (10%)  30 marks (20%)
AS Total 30 marks (20%)  30 marks (20%)  15 marks (10%)  15 marks (10%) 90 marks (60%)
A-level Total (10%) (10%) (5%) (5%) (30%)

Coursework Guidance

Coursework in this specification involves individual creative writing arising from students' own ideas. Students are encouraged to choose two forms on which to focus, to suit their own skills and interests, in consultation with their teachers.

The following list gives examples of the types of creative writing that students may choose to  submit. This list is for exemplification only and is not exhaustive:

Prose fiction: a short story, the opening pages of a novel, a collection of flash fiction;

Prose non-fiction: an opinion piece or editorial, a travel article, a book review, a blog entry, an extract from an autobiography;

Poetry: a single poem or a collection of poetry in any form (minimum 500 words);

Script: a short film screenplay, a dramatic monologue, the opening scene of a stage play.

In preparing for this unit, students need to study all four forms of writing as outlined in the Content section above, and build their own portfolio of work from which to select appropriate pieces for submission. The model outlined below shows one possible way of working that teachers and students can use to create and identify pieces for submission. This model can be applied across all four forms.

  1. In a classroom lesson on prose non-fiction, students read and discuss two pieces of travel writing, by two different authors, examining how the writers express their experiences and ideas.
  2. As an assignment, students write their own piece of travel writing.
  3. Student work is shared in groups, or in tutorials. Students record any feedback.
  4. Individuals complete a second draft for their portfolio.
  5. In consultation with their teacher, a student selects the piece for submission.
  6. Student works independently on a final draft and accompanying commentary.

While students may work co-operatively in their preparatory work, it is essential that they work independently on their own pieces for their portfolio, exploring their own ideas. Of course, individuals may have their own original creative ideas that they wish to pursue and these can be negotiated with teachers.

Each school or college will be assigned a Coursework Adviser who will be available to advise teachers on any specific matters relating to Unit 2 and Unit 4. Contact details of advisers will be provided when you inform us that you are to use the specification.

The Coursework Adviser will offer guidance on:

  • the parameters of the coursework unit
  • the appropriateness of proposed coursework submissions, particularly any unusual individual ideas
  • how to standardise teachers within your school or college
  • the AQA standardising materials.

Schools and colleges will have access to annual standardisation materials which will provide a growing body of exemplification. There will be thorough on-going specification support provided through CPD training and the AQA teacher resource bank.

Coursework Assessment Criteria

Criteria for assessing creative work.  Each element is marked out of 30: 15 marks for AO1; 15 marks for AO2.

Mark AO1: Develop ideas through creative writing, using an imaginative approach to language and the effective use of chosen form. Mark

AO2: Communicate clearly in accurate, well-crafted writing, with appropriate technical control.
Appropriate technical control here means:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 5
13-15
  • Outstanding development of ideas through an imaginative approach to language
  • Highly developed and sustained use of appropriate forms leading to outstanding overall effect

… all leading to outstanding writing with an inventive realisation of intent

Band 5
13-15
  • Highly developed, well-crafted writing
  • Outstanding technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 4
10-12
  • Confident development of ideas through a skilful approach to language
  • Skilful use of appropriate forms

… all leading to confidently presented writing which imaginatively realises its intentions

Band 4
10-12
  • Confident, crafted writing
  • Skilful technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 3
7-9
  • Clear development of ideas through some effective use of language
  • Competent use of appropriate forms

… all leading to clear writing which realises some of its intentions but may be uneven in quality

Band 3
7-9
  • Clear writing with some evidence of craft
  • Competent technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 2
4-6
  • Basic ideas shown through adequate use of language
  • Underdeveloped use of appropriate forms

… all leading to basic writing with unclear intentions and uneven quality

Band 2
4-6
  • Underdeveloped writing
  • Basic technical control but not consistent

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 1
1-3
  • Ineffective development of ideas and use of language
  • Limited use of appropriate forms

…all leading to ineffective writing

Band 1
1-3
  • Quality of writing hinders meaning
  • Limited/lack of technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing of  relevance
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing  of relevance

 Criteria for reflective commentary. One mark out of 30: 15 marks for AO3; 15 marks for AO4.

Mark AO3: Demonstrate critical awareness of personal writing processes, reflecting on the relationship between ideas,  aims, development and technique. Mark

AO4: Respond to existing  published work as a source of learning, stimulus and creative strategy in producing own writing.

Band 5
13-15
  • Outstanding critical awareness of own writing process
  • Highly developed reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique
Band 5
13-15
  • Outstanding account of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Highly developed reflection on the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 4
10-12
  • Confident critical awareness of own writing process
  • Skilful reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique
Band 4
10-12
  • Confident account of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Skilful reflection on the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 3
7-9
  • Clear awareness of own writing process
  • Competent reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique.  May cover some but not all of these areas. 
Band 3
7-9
  • Clear indication of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Competent description of the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 2
4-6
  • Basic awareness of own writing process
  • Underdeveloped reflection of the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique.  Likely to be description or summary of ideas and/or aims.

Band 2
 4-6

 

  • Basic indication of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Underdeveloped description of the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 1 1-3
  • Limited awareness of own writing process
  • Ineffective reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique.
Band 1 1-3
  • Limited indication of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Ineffective description of the creative strategies learned from their own reading
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing of  relevance
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing  of relevance

Unit 3 - From Reading to Writing

Introduction

Reading widely is an essential part of the development of the creative writer. The purpose of this examination unit is for students to build on the programme of reading and writing begun at AS in order to develop their knowledge of writing craft, their analytical skills and their own writing ability. To do this students will:

  • recognise the learning that can be gained from reading the work of others
  • analyse the authorial craft of other writers through a programme of reading and class discussion
  • learn how to apply their learning to their own work through their own independent writing practice
  • produce a single extended piece of original creative writing in the exam
  • produce an extended commentary in the exam that demonstrates the links between reading and writing.

Students will need to show awareness of the writer's craft in developing their own creative writing skills, so the question paper has two aims:

  • to use published texts as stimuli for creative work 
  • to allow students to demonstrate their ability to analyse aspects of other writers' craft and to show how they apply this to their own writing.

Content

The examination is designed to replicate a writing workshop exercise. This approach to creative work is core to the course and students are to be encouraged to work with published texts throughout. Experience of the writing workshop, of using published texts as inspiration, of responding to writing prompts and of producing creative work within time limits will all be important here.

Learning about the craft of writing is an integral part of the whole A-level course and is assessed in this examination through AO4. By A2, students should have an understanding of a wide range of techniques that a writer might employ to achieve their intentions and to create effects. They should be fully familiar with the conventions of form and genre. The following list (although by no means exhaustive) exemplifies some of the elements of craft that may be considered:

  • language choices
  • point of view
  • speech and dialogue
  • generic conventions
  • style and voice
  • characterisation
  • presentation of ideas
  • narrative techniques
  • poetic techniques
  • structural control
  • metaphor
  • imagery
  • grammatical devices.

Mode of Assessment

Assessment will be by one written paper of 3 hours' duration. Students will answer two questions. Each question is marked out of 30, giving an overall mark for the unit of 60. The two questions are closely linked, and students are advised to approach the examination with this in mind.

The question paper will include five pieces of published creative work across the range of forms. One piece will always be included from each of the four key forms: 

  • prose fiction
  • prose non-fiction
  • poetry
  • script,

+ one other, which may be in any of the forms above.

Each text will be accompanied by a prompt for students' own writing. The prompt will identify a particular aspect of the stimulus text and provide an instruction for Question 1. Students will read the creative texts, and their accompanying prompts, and select one of these texts as a stimulus for the two questions.

Question 1

Students will produce an original piece of writing in response to the stimulus text, and accompanying prompt, that they have selected. In their original piece, students must respond to the instruction given in the writing prompt.

This question is designed to allow students to demonstrate the use of published texts as inspiration for their own writing. Students' original writing does not have to be in the same form or genre as the stimulus text. Assessment here is AO1 and AO2 only and creative pieces will be assessed on their own merit. However, in their responses to Question 2, students must be able to show how the stimulus text has inspired them, so there must be a clear link to evidence that the creative piece has been produced in the exam and not pre-prepared.

There is no word guidance for creative pieces produced in the exam.

Question 2

Students will produce a commentary exploring aspects of the author's craft in the stimulus text that they have selected, and the ways in which they have used the text to inspire their own creative work in Question 1.

The commentary should include:

  • exploration of the author's craft, ideas, technique and use of form and genre, and how this has influenced and informed their own creative piece
  • an examination of the ways in which they have used the text to inspire their own creative piece, making clear the links between the two
  • explanation of their aims and the techniques that they have used to achieve them.

The commentary also allows students to acknowledge that their writing is not necessarily a finished piece and to show how it might be developed further. Equal weighting is given to discussion of the published author's work and of the student's own writing.

Question 1 assesses AO1 and AO2. Question 2 assesses AO3 and AO4. See section 4 for Assessment Objectives in full.

Students are reminded that the two questions are equally weighted and should structure their examination time accordingly.

The table below shows the percentage weightings of each of the AOs in this unit and in the specification. 

  AO1 AO2 AO3 AO4 Total
Question 1 15 marks (5%) 15 marks (5%) - - 30 marks (10%)
Question 2      15 marks (5%)  15 marks (5%) 30 marks (10%)
A-level Total 15 marks (5%)  15 marks (5%) 15 marks (5%)  15 marks (5%)  60 marks (20%)

Unit 4 - The Writing Portfolio

Introduction

The aims of this coursework unit are to: build on the broad exploratory work of Unit 2; deepen students' creative use of language and technical mastery of one chosen form; develop students' creative use of language and technical mastery of one chosen form; develop students' expertise in responding to critical feedback and redrafting creative work; extend students' ability to reflect critically on their own creative process and achievements; and to introduce students to systematic referencing of sources and influences.

Content

This unit offers ample opportunity for independent study. Students should be encouraged to develop their own programme of reading and writing, alongside assignments set in class. Students will ultimately choose one form in which to specialise for their coursework from prose fiction, prose non-fiction, poetry and script.

There is ample opportunity here for workshop sessions. Coursework in this specification differs from some other subjects, where independent work cannot be regularly reviewed. Although creative work must not be assessed by teachers until after final submission, responding to peer feedback and redrafting will form an essential part of the production process.

Mode of Assessment

Assessment will be by production of a coursework portfolio. The portfolio will consist of two elements: original creative work and a reflective commentary with bibliography. The creative work will be marked out of 60; the commentary out of 30; giving an overall mark of 90 for this unit. The work will be assessed internally by schools/colleges and externally moderated by AQA.

The coursework portfolio will consist of two elements:

  1. Creative Work
  2. Commentary with bibliography.

The creative work submitted should demonstrate a developed understanding of the craft of writing within a chosen form. This developed understanding is evidenced through the skills identified in the assessment objectives. In AO1 this will be demonstrated through writing that shows the successful development and realisation of ideas, an imaginative approach to language and the sustained use of a single form, and is original rather than merely imitative. In AO2 it will be demonstrated by the technical control necessary for well-constructed writing. In AO3 it will be demonstrated through showing a critical awareness of personal writing processes. In AO4 it will be demonstrated by showing a sophisticated understanding of how existing published work has been a source of learning and inspiration for a student's original writing.

The creative work must conform to the following.

  • The creative work must be in one of the following forms: prose fiction; prose non-fiction; poetry; script.
  • The chosen form may be one of the two forms assessed at AS but the work must be entirely new.
  • The creative work may be one piece or a number of pieces.
  • The word guidance for the creative work in prose fiction and prose non-fiction is 3000 – 4000 words.
  • The equivalence for poetry submissions is approximately 6-8 poems.
  • The equivalence for script submissions is approximately 15 pages (15 minutes' playing time).
  • Students must also submit the first draft of their creative work. The first draft will not be included in the word count and may be consulted by moderators as evidence of development and redrafting.

The reflective commentary should build on the understanding of process gained in Unit 2 to show a sophisticated grasp of how a piece of writing is developed from inspiration to final draft. As with Unit 2, this should include: inspiration and aims; influences; choice of form; creative problem solving; responding to feedback and editing. Additionally, it should include an evaluation of the success of the piece(s) in terms of the author's aims and intentions.

The commentary has a word guidance of 2000 words, and must be accompanied by a bibliography. The aim of the bibliography is to evidence students' programme of reading and to develop academic referencing skills that may be used in further study. The first draft and bibliography are not included in the word count.

This unit assesses all AOs. See section 4 for Assessment Objectives in full. The table below shows the percentage weightings of each of the AOs in this unit and in the specification.

  AO1 AO2 AO3 AO4 Total
Creative Work 30 marks (10%)  30 marks (10%) - - 60 marks (20%)
Commentary     15 marks (5%)  15 marks (5%) 30 marks (10%)
A-level Total 30 marks (10%)  30 marks (10%)  15 marks (5%)  15 marks (5%) 90 marks (30%)

Coursework Guidance

Coursework in this specification involves individual creative writing arising from students' own ideas. In this unit, students have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the craft of writing through focused study and writing practice in one of the four forms. Students will choose to specialise in one form, to suit their own skills, in consultation with their teachers. When deciding on individual specialisms, students should consider their own interests, ideas and preferences.

The following list gives examples of the types of creative writing that students may choose to submit. This list is for exemplification only and is not exhaustive:

Prose fiction: a short story or collection of short stories, the opening pages of a novel;

Prose non-fiction: An extract from a travel book, a collection of articles, the opening pages of a biography or autobiography;

Poetry: a collection of poetry in any one poetic form, or a variety of poetic forms;

Script: the opening pages of a feature film script, the opening pages of a stage play, a dramatic monologue.

As part of their preparation for this unit, students will continue to look at examples of writing across the four different forms in the classroom, with particular focus on the methods that different writers have used and the conventions of different forms. At the same time they will work independently towards choosing the one form in which they will specialise. The model outlined below shows one possible way of working that teachers and students can use to develop pieces for submission. This model can be applied across the four forms.

  1. Students as whole group read and discuss writing in the four forms
  2. In tutorials students discuss their individual ideas with their teachers
  3. Students experiment in their chosen form producing first drafts of two or three ideas as appropriate
  4. Students workshop first drafts in small groups and/or individual tutorials
  5. Student works independently on a final draft for submission.

At A2 students should be working independently on their creative pieces from early in the course.

Each school or college will be assigned a Coursework Adviser who will be available to advise teachers on specific matters relating to Unit 2 and Unit 4. Contact details of advisers will be provided when you inform us that you are to use the specification.

The Coursework Adviser will offer guidance on:

  • the parameters of the coursework unit
  • the appropriateness of proposed coursework submissions, particularly any unusual individual ideas
  • how to standardise teachers within your school or college
  • the AQA standardising materials.

Schools and colleges will have access to annual standardisation materials which will provide a growing body of exemplification. There will be thorough on-going specification support provided through CPD training and the AQA teacher resource bank.

Coursework Assessment Criteria

Portfolio submission of creative work in a chosen form. One mark out of 60: 30 marks for A01; 30 marks for AO2

Mark

AO1: Develop ideas through creative writing, using an imaginative approach to language and the effective use of chosen form.

Consider:

  • Convincing realisation of ideas
  • Originality and creativity in language use
  • Use of genre within chosen form
Mark

AO2: Communicate clearly in accurate, well-crafted writing, with appropriate technical control.

Appropriate technical control here means:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 5
25-30
  • Outstanding development of ideas through an imaginative approach to language
  • Highly developed and sustained use of a single form, leading to outstanding overall effect

… all leading to outstanding writing with an inventive realisation of intent

Band 5
25-30
  • Highly developed, well-crafted writing
  • Outstanding technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 4
19-24
  • Confident development of ideas through skilful approach to language use
  • Skilful and sustained use of a single form

… all leading to confidently presented writing which imaginatively realises its intentions

Band 4
19-24
  • Confident, crafted writing
  • Skilful technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 3
13-18
  • Clear development of ideas through some effective use of language
  • Competent use of a single form

… all leading to clear writing which realises some of its intentions but may be uneven in quality

Band 3
13-18
  • Clear writing with some evidence of craft
  • Competent technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 2
7-12
  • Basic development of ideas  through adequate use of language
  • Underdeveloped use of a single form

… all leading to basic writing with unclear intentions and uneven quality

Band 2
7-12
  • Underdeveloped writing
  • Basic technical control but not consistent

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
Band 1
1-6
  • Ineffective development of ideas and use of language
  • Limited use of a single form

…all leading to ineffective writing

Band 1
1-6
  • Quality of writing hinders meaning
  • Limited/lack of technical control

Consider:

  • Textual organisation and cohesion
  • Consistency of technical approach
  • Use of spelling and punctuation
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing of  relevance
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing  of relevance

Reflective commentary with bibliography and evidence of redrafting. One mark out of 30; 15 marks for AO3, 15 marks for AO4.

Mark AO3: Demonstrate critical awareness of personal writing processes, reflecting on the relationship between ideas,  aims, development and technique. Mark

AO4: Respond to existing  published work as a source of learning, stimulus and creative strategy in producing own writing.

Band 5
13-15
  • Outstanding critical awareness of own writing process
  • Highly developed reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique
Band 5
13-15
  • Outstanding account of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Highly developed reflection on the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 4
10-12
  • Confident critical awareness of own writing process
  • Skilful reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique
Band 4
10-12
  • Confident account of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Skilful reflection on the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 3
7-9
  • Clear awareness of own writing process
  • Competent reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique.  May cover some but not all of these areas. 
Band 3
7-9
  • Clear indication of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Competent description of the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 2
4-6
  • Basic awareness of own writing process
  • Underdeveloped reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique.  Likely to be description or summary of ideas and/or aims.
Band 2
4-6
  • Basic indication of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Underdeveloped description of the creative strategies learned from their own reading
Band 1
1-3
  • Limited awareness of own writing process
  • Ineffective reflection on the relationship between ideas, aims, development and technique.
Band 1
1-3
  • Limited indication of the influence of published writing as stimulus and inspiration for their own work
  • Ineffective description of the creative strategies learned from their own reading
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing of  relevant
0 Marks
  • Nothing written or nothing  of relevant