Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers

The AS specification is designed to be taken over one or two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course. The A-level specification is designed to be taken over two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course.

Assessments and certification for the AS specification are available for the first time in May/June 2016 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

Assessments and certification for the A-level specification are available for the first time in May/June 2017 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

These are linear qualifications. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all exams in May/June in a single year. All assessments must be taken in the same series.

Our AS and A-level exams in English include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:

  • draw together their knowledge, skills and understanding from across the full course of study
  • provide extended responses.

All AS and A-level components offer only extended response questions.

All materials are available in English only.

Aims

Courses based on these specifications must encourage students to develop their interest in and enjoyment of English as they:
  • develop and apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation
  • develop and apply their understanding of the concepts and methods appropriate for the analysis and study of language
  • use linguistic and literary approaches in their reading and interpretation of texts, showing how the two disciplines can relate to each other
  • engage creatively and critically with a wide range of texts
  • explore the ways in which texts relate to each other and the contexts in which they are produced and received
  • develop their skills as producers and interpreters of language.

In addition, A-level specifications in English Language and Literature must encourage students to develop their interest in and enjoyment of English as they undertake independent and sustained studies to develop their skills as producers and interpreters of language.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all AS and A-level English Language and Literature specifications and all exam boards.

The exams and non-exam assessment will measure to what extent students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Apply concepts and methods from integrated linguistic and literary study as appropriate, using associated terminology and coherent written expression
  • AO2: Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in texts
  • AO3: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which texts are produced and received
  • AO4: Explore connections across texts, informed by linguistic and literary concepts and methods
  • AO5: Demonstrate expertise and creativity in the use of English to communicate in different ways.

Weighting of assessment objectives for AS English Language and Literature

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1 Paper 2
AO1 23.33 6.67 30
AO2 20 3.33 23.33
AO3 - 20 20
AO4 6.67 6.67 13.33
AO5 - 13.33 13.33
Overall weighting of components 50 50 100

Weighting of assessment objectives for A-level English Language and Literature

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1 Paper 2 Non-exam assessment
AO1 16 6 6 28
AO2 8 14 6 28
AO3 12 4 4 20
AO4 4 4 4 12
AO5 - 12 - 12
Overall weighting of components 40 40 20 100

Assessment weightings

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students' final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

AS

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Paper 1: Views and Voices 75 x1 75
Paper 2: People and Places 75 x1 75
    Total scaled mark: 150

A-level

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Paper 1: Telling Stories 100 x1 100
Paper 2: Exploring Conflict 100 x1 100
Non-exam assessment: Making Connections 50 x1 50
    Total scaled mark: 250

Non-exam assessment marking criteria

Updated

Investigation

AO1

AO1: Apply concepts and methods from integrated linguistic and literary study as appropriate, using associated terminology and coherent written expression.

Level

Mark

Students are likely to

5

13–15

  • Offer a thorough and perceptive account of literary and non-literary material.
  • Use methods, including secondary reading, productively and with perception.
  • Guide readers carefully and intelligently.
4

10–12

  • Offer a clear account of literary and non-literary material.
  • Use methods, including secondary reading, in clear, relevant and appropriate ways.
  • Produce well structured writing.
3

7–9

  • Offer a straightforward account of literary and non-literary material
  • Use methods, including secondary reading, in a straightforward way
  • Produce writing that is generally organised.
2

4–6

  • Offer a basic account of literary and non-literary material.
  • Use methods, including secondary reading, in a basic way.
  • Write with basic organisational skills.
1

1–3

  • Offer a very limited account of literary and non-literary material.
  • Use methods, including secondary reading, in a limited, unclear and/or unhelpful way.
  • Write with very limited organisational skills.
0

0

  • Offer no account of literary and non-literary material and/or secondary reading.

AO2

Updated

AO2: Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in texts.

Level

Mark

Students are likely to

5

13–15

  • Produce a thorough, open-minded and perceptive analysis.
  • Show perceptive insight when recognising how meanings are arrived at.
  • Cover material evenly.
4

10–12

  • Produce a good analysis with some depth and thoughtfulness.
  • Show some tentativeness about how meanings are arrived at.
  • Cover material evenly.
3

7–9

  • Produce an analysis which may be descriptive rather than analytical in places.
  • Explore meanings in a straighforward way.
  • Cover material fairly evenly.
2

4–6

  • Produce an analysis which is overly descriptive.
  • Explore meanings in a basic way.
  • Cover material unevenly.
1

1–3

  • Produce an analysis which is limited and/or which simply paraphrases materials used.
  • Explore meanings in a very limited way.
  • Cover material unevenly.
0

0

  • Offer no analysis of how meanings are arrived at.

AO3

AO3: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which texts are produced and received.

Level

Mark

Students are likely to

5

9–10

  • Show perceptive understanding of the relationship between texts and their contexts.
  • Cover dimensions of contexts with perception.
4

7–8

  • Show a clear understanding of the relationship between texts and their contexts.
  • Cover dimensions of contexts in a clear and relevant way.
3

5–6

  • Show an awareness that contexts are important to consider.
  • Cover some dimensions of contexts in a straightforward way.
2

3–4

  • Show a basic understanding of contexts.
  • Refer to contexts only in the broadest terms, with few specific references.
1

1–2

  • Show a very limited awareness of contexts.
  • Offer no specofic comments on contexts.
0

0

  • Offer no account of context whatsoever.

AO4

AO4: Explore connections across texts, informed by linguistic and literary concepts and methods.

Level

Mark

Students are likely to:

5

9–10

  • Establish and justify links between texts in a perceptive way.
  • Write perceptively about how the study of each of their chosen texts illuminates each other.
4

7–8

  • Establish and justify links between texts showing good understanding.
  • Write clearly about how the study of each of their chosen texts illuminates the other.
3

5–6

  • Establish and justify links between texts in a straightforward way.
  • Write with some ideas about how the study of each of their chosen texts illuminates the other.
2

3–4

  • Establish and justify links between texts in a basic way.
  • Write very broadly about how the study of each of their chosen texts illuminates the other.
1

1–2

  • Establish and justify links between texts in a very limited way.
  • Offer limited thoughts on how the study of each of their chosen texts iluminates the other.
0

0

  • Offer no exploration of connections across texts.
Note: this mark scheme is written on the assumption that students have attempted to study both a literary text and non-literary. Students are automatically to be given 0 if:
  • they write about only one text, either literary or non-literary
  • they write about two texts but both are literary (eg no non-literary material is studied)
  • they write about two texts but both are non-literary (eg no literary material is studied).