Language in use  
English Language & Linguistics

English Language



Assessment Objectives

These are of prime significance in the new specifications

Candidates should be able to:
AO1 communicate clearly the knowledge, understanding and insight appropriate to the study of language, using appropriate terminology and accurate and coherent written expression.

For example:
• write an article for the school magazine arguing the case for the teaching of the history of language in schools.
• write a paper to the governors of your school explaining the benefits that a knowledge of language has for all students in the sixth form and giving examples of deconstruction of a science or history text book.

AO2 demonstrate expertise and accuracy in writing for a variety of specific purposes and audiences, drawing on knowledge of linguistic features to explain and comment on choices made

For example:
• choose a text and rewrite it for a different audience or purpose. Comment linguistically on the changes you have made.
• choose a topic and write two different articles for different audiences or purposes. Comment linguistically on the differences between the two.

AO3i know and use key features of frameworks for the systematic study of spoken and written English

For example:
• show how the introduction of vocabulary in one of the following areas has followed the pattern of loan words into English: clothes, food, animals and birds, sport and games
• choose six ambiguous sentences and explain linguistically how their structure differs and how this affects their meaning.

AO3ii apply and explore frameworks for the systematic study of language at different levels, commenting on the usefulness of the approaches taken.

For example:
• using examples of children's language, including virtuous errors, show how a child's acquisition of language develops
• using examples of non-standard varieties of English show how they are structured and consistent, though they differ from standard English

AO4 understand, discuss and explore concepts and issues relating to language in use.

For example:
• record a short example of spontaneous speech taken from real life or the radio and explain the differences between this and formal written English.
• standard English spoken differs from Standard English written. Explain using linguistic examples.
• it is no more appropriate to use formal standard English with a close friend in private than it is to use a colloquial local dialect with a regional accent when addressing the Queen. How far do you think this is true?

AO5i distinguish, describe and interpret variation in the meanings and forms of spoken and written language according to context.

For example:
• compare and contrast articles on the same subject in different newspapers.
• choose a piece of recorded speech no more than two minutes long and transcribe it as accurately as you can, including all non-fluency features. Write a second version of this in Standard written English. Comment linguistically on the changes you have made.

AO5ii analyse and evaluate variation in the meanings and forms of spoken and written language from different times according to context.

• compare two versions of a biblical text written at different times and comment on the changes you identify.
• compare two music reports from different times and comment on the changes you identify.

Percentage assessment weightings will vary according to the examination boards decisions. A high weighting of 25% or 30% will produce an emphasis which will probably be tested in several different units. In any one unit, several different assessment objectives are likely to be tested.

Note that where an AO is split into two parts the first is the AS and the second the A level.

It's important to look at the weightings of the assessment objectives as this will suggest the time you teach that element of the course and in turn what the students think the course is about and which parts of it are more important than others. Experienced teachers may have to review the balance of their course to account for the emphasis the new syllabus places on particular areas.