This is an extract of the full specification, which you can download from this page.
Component 1: Reading
Reading Level 1
Coverage and Range
Read and understand a range of straightforward texts.
Identify the main points and ideas and how they are presented in a variety of texts
|Read and understand texts in detail||R1.2|
|Utilise information contained in texts||R1.3|
|Identify suitable responses to texts||R1.4|
|In more than one type of text.|
Reading Level 2
Coverage and Range
Select, read, understand and compare texts and use them to gather information, ideas, arguments and opinions.
Select and use different types of texts to obtain and utilise relevant information.
|Read and summarise, succinctly, information/ideas from different sources||R2.2|
|Identify the purposes of texts and comment on how meaning is conveyed||R2.3|
|Detect point of view, implicit meaning and/or bias||R2.4|
|Analyse texts in relation to audience needs and consider suitable responses||R2.5|
|In three or more texts.|
This component assesses candidates' ability to read and understand a range of texts. The texts are drawn from real life contexts and include, for example, instructional, informative and persuasive texts such as leaflets, reports or short articles.
Section A asks candidates to read one source and respond to six multiple choice questions at Level 1 and read two sources and respond to twelve multiple choice questions at Level 2. Each question specifically addresses one of the coverage and range statements within the skill standard for reading at that level. This section allows candidates to demonstrate their understanding of texts no matter what their writing ability.
Section B asks candidates to read one further source and respond to questions with short written responses that demonstrate their understanding of the source text. In this section, candidates are expected to comment on how they would respond to the text in a real life context (i.e. to identify the purpose of the text and its anticipated response from readers). They will be expected to utilise information to perform a short task. They are also expected to comment on presentational features.
Component 2: Writing
Writing Level 1
Coverage and Range
Write a range of texts to communicate information, ideas and opinions, using formats and styles suitable for their purpose and audience.
|Write clearly and coherently, including an appropriate level of detail||W1.1|
|Present information in a logical sequence||W1.2|
|Use language, format and structure suitable for purpose and audience||W1.3|
W1.4 and W1.5 must account for 40% of the total assessment in this component.
Use correct grammar, including correct and consistent use of tense.
|Ensure written work contains generally accurate punctuation and spelling and that meaning is clear||W1.5|
In more than one type of text.
Writing Level 2
Coverage and Range
Write a range of texts, including extended written documents, communicating information, ideas and opinions, effectively and persuasively.
|Present information/ideas concisely, logically and persuasively.||W2.1|
|Present information on complex subjects clearly and concisely||W2.2|
|Use a range of writing styles for different purposes||W2.3|
|Use a range of sentence structures, including complex sentences, and paragraphs to organise written communication effectively||W2.4|
W2.5 and W2.6 must account for 40% of the total assessment in this component.
Punctuate written text using commas, apostrophes and inverted commas accurately
|Ensure written work is fit for purpose and audience, with accurate spelling and grammar that support clear meaning in a range of text types.||W2.6|
This component assesses candidates' ability to write a range of texts to communicate information, opinions and ideas. The tasks are based on real life contexts and scenarios and will include, for example, instructional, informative and persuasive texts, for personal, practical and public purposes. The purpose, audience and genre of the required response are specified.
Candidates respond to two tasks. Tasks will include text for letters, emails, notices, leaflets and handouts.
Component 3: Speaking, listening and communication
Speaking, listening and communication Levels
Speaking, listening and communication Level 1
Coverage and Range
Take full part in formal and informal discussions and exchanges that include unfamiliar subjects
|Make relevant and extended contributions to discussions, allowing for and responding to others' input||SL1.1|
|Prepare for and contribute to the formal discussion of ideas and opinions||SL1.2|
|Make different kinds of contributions to discussions||SL1.3|
|Present information/points of view clearly and in appropriate language||SL1.4|
Speaking, listening and communication Level 2
Coverage and Range
Make a range of contributions to discussions in a range of contexts, including those that are unfamiliar, and make effective presentations.
|Consider complex information and give a relevant, cogent response in appropriate language||SL2.1|
|Present information and ideas clearly and persuasively to others||SL2.2|
|Adapt contributions to suit audience, purpose and situation||SL2.3|
|Make significant contributions to discussions, taking a range of roles and helping to move discussion forward||SL2.4|
This component is assessed by controlled assessment.
This component assesses candidates' ability to participate in a discussion at Level 1 and to participate in a discussion and a presentation at Level 2.
The term discussion is used to mean the spoken exchange of information, ideas or opinions between two or more people in a formal or informal context.
The terms formality and informality belong to a sliding scale and are not absolute terms.
Formality in a discussion is likely to involve candidates discussing a serious topic and reporting back on their findings. They will therefore come across quite complex vocabulary in source material and will need to use quite complex vocabulary in their contributions. They will also need to present their ideas in a serious manner, being careful to respect the turn being taken by others.
Informal discussion will have less rigid structures and less structured purposes. It will be the exchange of ideas between equals who are likely to share an interest in the topic under discussion. Presentation of ideas will be less driven by the need to take careful turns, and vocabulary will be varied, including perhaps regional and other variations.
The term presentation is used to mean an extended piece of talk from an individual. The talk should be informative and/or persuasive.
Candidates will take part in more than one discussion and more than one presentation in different contexts. Assessment is based on candidates' performance across the component and should be recorded on the Candidate Record Form (Appendix F).
Speaking, listening and communication Controlled Assessment Advisers are available to give advice on all aspects of the controlled assessment. A rota of advisory visits will include advice on marking of candidates' performance, task setting and record keeping.
The following examples offer guidance on the nature of tasks to be undertaken and you will then set tasks that meet the needs of your candidates and enable a variety of approaches.
Possible discussion tasks for Level 1 include:
- a problem solving activity which encourages a group to discuss and explore different options or points of view and negotiate an outcome. An example task might involve a local issue, ideally a 'real' one, such as an environmental issue. A simulation could involve prioritising a fixed sum of money among various charities. This would constitute a formal task.
- discussions which require the group to interact with a third party (maybe an unknown adult). An example would be a discussion with an employer about the preparations needed before going on a work placement. This would constitute a formal task.
- a discussion of a topical issue, which could be in group format with discussion among a number of participants. Participants would be expected to listen and respond to each others' views. This could be done either formally or informally.
- a group discussion based on a review of a film, book, musical event etc. This would involve listening and responding to others as well as the candidate providing their own views. This would constitute an informal task.
Possible discussion tasks for Level 2 include:
- a group activity which requires the planning of an event or trip. An example would be to plan a trip to London for a group of colleagues based on various promotional literature which is made available. This would be a formal discussion.
- discussions which require the group to interact with a third party (typically an unknown adult). An example would be a discussion with a site manager about ways of improving the working environment within a given context. This would be a formal discussion.
- a group discussion of an issue such as the use of surveillance cameras in the local area. Participants would be expected to listen and respond to others' views. This could be undertaken either formally with a concluding report, or informally.
- a group discussion based on current social and cultural issues arising from topics such as celebrity culture, reality television etc. This would involve listening and responding to others as well as the candidate providing their own views. This would be an informal discussion.
Possible presentation tasks might include:
- a talk on an area of interest. This would need a suitable focus, ie 'Exeter's Day at Wembley' rather than 'Football' and may or may not include formal questions.
- an explanation of a specific process. How to do something, which could be technical or could be more social in its focus. How to book a holiday online, and the choices you face, might be an example, which could be accompanied by an online demonstration.
- an individual review, giving a review or account of a film, book, musical event etc to the rest of the class. This could take the form of a simulated radio/TV programme such as Mark Kermode on Radio 5. It could be recorded for a 'podcast'.
- an individual presentation, such as a request to the local council for a grant for a suitable cause in the neighbourhood. This could involve unknown adults as the audience. There would be an element of role play here, but the main focus would be on the quality of persuasion and argument. The presentation could include use of IT.
- a paired presentation could do any of the above tasks, with each member of the pair taking a clearly defined role.
- a speech in a debate. These should be relatively brief in terms of time. The subjects under debate are often the most successful when linked to issues of current interest. Again they could simulate a TV current affairs programme with more than one student involved at the same time.
- summarising a group discussion, synthesising points of view and perhaps giving a personal view too.
Preparation and planning
Assessment can take place at any point during the course of study.
Having introduced relevant material and studied relevant examples of how speech is used in different contexts:
- you should give candidates the relevant task
- you may wish to provide stimulus materials for group discussions
- you are advised to give the candidates chance to practise speaking, listening and communication in similar contexts to that in which they will be assessed and to prepare ideas after you have given them the task.
You may give feedback to individual candidates during the planning phase.
Candidates complete their discussion or presentation under formal supervision. During task taking, the supervisor may provide limited guidance to candidates. The Component 3 record form allows teachers to record details of activities undertaken and brief notes on any guidance given to the candidate.
The assessment of speaking, listening and communication will take place at different times over the duration of the course. Candidates will need to be informed that assessment is taking place, but clearly all members of a class will not be assessed at the same time.
Candidates must be assessed by a teacher either directly at the time of the response or by viewing an electronic visual recording of a candidate's response.
Prompts or visual slides may be used in addition to any resources you provide.
Candidates will be working with others during the discussion task but will be assessed on their individual performances. Candidates may also work with others during the presentation but will be assessed on their individual performances.
You must judge all controlled assessments using the criteria published in Appendix A of this specification. You should use your judgement to select and apply the criteria appropriately and fairly to the work of candidates.
Candidates should be awarded the appropriate level if they meet the requirements of the descriptors, making allowance for balancing strengths and weaknesses within each response.
Controlled assessment will be moderated by AQA according to the procedures outlined in Section 7