INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LITERATURE

GCSE subject criteria set out the knowledge, understanding, skills and assessment objectives common to all GCSE specifications in a given subject. They provide the framework within which awarding organisations create the detail of their specifications, so
ensuring progression from key stage 3 national curriculum requirements and the possibilities for progression to A level.

Subject aims and learning outcomes
This document sets out the learning outcomes and content coverage required for GCSE specifications in English language. In subjects such as English language, where topics are taught in progressively greater depth over the course of key stage 3 and key stage 4, GCSE outcomes may reflect or build upon subject content which is typically taught at key stage 3. There is no expectation that teaching of such content should be repeated during the GCSE course where it has already been covered at an earlier stage.
GCSE specifications in English language should ensure students can read fluently and write effectively. They should be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and they should be able to write grammatically correct sentences, deploy
figurative language and analyse texts.

GCSE specifications in English language should enable students to:
 read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding
 read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
 write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
 use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately
 acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology1, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
In addition, GCSE specifications in English language must enable students to:
 listen to and understand spoken language, and use spoken Standard English effectively.
Spoken language will be reported on as part of the qualification, but it will not form part of the final mark and grade.

Subject content
This document sets out the full range of content for GCSE specifications in English language. Awarding organisations may, however, use any flexibility to increase depth, breadth or context within the specified topics or to consolidate teaching of the subject
content. All texts in the examination will be ‘unseen’, that is, students will not have studied the examination texts during the course. These unseen texts will be drawn from each of the three centuries referred to below.
GCSE English language is designed on the basis that students should read and be assessed on high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Each text studied must represent a substantial piece of writing, making significant demands on
students in terms of content, structure and the quality of language. The texts, across a range of genres and types, should support students in developing their own writing by providing effective models. The texts must include literature and extended literary nonfiction, and other writing such as essays, reviews and journalism (both printed and online). Texts that are essentially transient, such as instant news feeds, must not be included. The number and types of texts, and their length, are not prescribed.

Scope of study
GCSE specifications in English language should require students to study the following content:
Critical reading and comprehension
 critical reading and comprehension: identifying and interpreting themes, ideas and information in a range of literature and other high-quality writing; reading in different ways for different purposes, and comparing and evaluating the usefulness, relevance and presentation of content for these purposes; drawing inferences and justifying these with evidence; supporting a point of view by referring to evidence within the text; identifying bias and misuse of evidence, including distinguishing between statements that are supported by evidence and those that are not; reflecting critically and evaluatively on text, using the context of the text and drawing on knowledge and skills gained from wider reading; recognising the possibility of different responses to a text
 summary and synthesis: identifying the main theme or themes; summarising ideas and information from a single text; synthesising from more than one text
 evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, form, grammatical and structural features: explaining and illustrating how vocabulary and grammar contribute to effectiveness and impact, using linguistic and literary terminology accurately to do so and paying attention to detail; analysing and evaluating how form and structure contribute to the effectiveness and impact of a text
 comparing texts: comparing two or more texts critically with respect to the above.

Writing
 producing clear and coherent text: writing effectively for different purposes and audiences: to describe, narrate, explain, instruct, give and respond to information, and argue; selecting vocabulary, grammar, form, and structural and organisational features judiciously to reflect audience, purpose and context; using language imaginatively and creatively; using information provided by others to write in different forms; maintaining a consistent point of view; maintaining coherence and consistency across a text
 writing for impact: selecting, organising and emphasising facts, ideas and key points; citing evidence and quotation effectively and pertinently to support views; creating emotional impact; using language creatively, imaginatively and persuasively, including rhetorical devices (such as rhetorical questions, antithesis, parenthesis).

Spoken language
 presenting information and ideas: selecting and organising information and ideas effectively and persuasively for prepared spoken presentations; planning effectively for different purposes and audiences; making presentations and speeches
 responding to spoken language: listening to and responding appropriately to any questions and feedback
 spoken Standard English: expressing ideas using Standard English whenever and wherever appropriate.

Assessment objectives

READING (50%)
Read and understand a range of texts to:
AO1  Identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas
 Select and synthesise evidence from different texts
AO2 Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views
AO3 Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts
AO4 Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references

WRITING (50%)
AO5  Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences
 Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts
AO6 Candidates must use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation. (This requirement must constitute 20% of the marks for each specification as a whole.)

SPOKEN LANGUAGE (Unweighted)
AO7 Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting
AO8 Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback to presentations
AO9 Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations.

 

ENGLISH LITERATURE:

Introduction
GCSE subject criteria set out the knowledge, understanding, skills and assessment objectives common to all GCSE specifications in a given subject. They provide the framework within which awarding organisations create the detail of their specifications, so
ensuring progression from key stage 3 national curriculum requirements and the possibilities for progression to A level.

Subject aims and learning outcomes
This content sets out the learning outcomes and content coverage required for GCSE specifications in English literature. In subjects such as English literature, where topics are taught in progressively greater depth over the course of key stage 3 and key stage 4,
GCSE outcomes may reflect or build upon subject content which is typically taught at key stage 3. There is no expectation that teaching of such content should be repeated during the GCSE course where it has already been covered at an earlier stage. GCSE specifications in English literature should develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Through literature, students have a chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been thought and written. Studying
GCSE English literature should encourage students to read widely for pleasure, and as a preparation for studying literature at a higher level.

GCSE specifications in English literature should enable students to:
 read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading
 read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
 develop the habit of reading widely and often
 appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
 write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using StandardEnglish
 acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology1 and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.

Subject content
This document sets out the full range of content for GCSE specifications in English literature. Awarding organisations may, however, use any flexibility to increase depth, breadth or context within the specified topics or to consolidate teaching of the subject
content.
Study of high quality English literature should be the principal focus for this GCSE. GCSE specifications in English literature should be designed on the basis that students’ reading should include whole texts.
In addition to the content in the ‘Detailed study’, the examination must include questions on texts that students have not read previously (‘unseen’ texts).
Scope of study
GCSE specifications in English literature should require students to study the following content:
Detailed study
Students should study a range of high quality, intellectually challenging, and substantial whole texts in detail. These must include:
 at least one play by Shakespeare
 at least one 19th century novel 2
 a selection3 of poetry since 1789, including representative Romantic poetry
 fiction or drama from the British Isles from 1914 onwards.
All works should have been originally written in English.
Within the range of texts above, the emphasis should be on deepening students’ understanding. The texts should be chosen with the key aim of providing students with knowledge to support both current and future study.
To broaden their knowledge of literature, and enhance their critical and comparative understanding, students should read widely within the range above to prepare them for‘unseen’ texts in the examination. These unseen texts may or may not be by authors
whose works students have studied as set texts.

Reading comprehension and reading critically
 literal and inferential comprehension: understanding a word, phrase or sentence in context; exploring aspects of plot, characterisation, events and settings; distinguishing between what is stated explicitly and what is implied; explaining motivation, sequence of events, and the relationship between actions or events.
 critical reading: identifying the theme and distinguishing between themes; supporting a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; recognising the possibility of and evaluating different responses to a text; using understanding of writers’ social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation; making an informed personal response that derives from analysis and evaluation of the text.
 evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, grammatical and structural features: analysing and evaluating how language (including figurative language), structure, form and presentation contribute to quality and impact; using linguistic and literary terminology for such evaluation (such as, but not restricted to, phrase, metaphor, meter, irony and persona, synecdoche, pathetic fallacy).
 comparing texts: comparing and contrasting texts studied, referring where relevant to theme, characterisation, context (where known), style and literary quality; comparing two texts critically with respect to the above.

Writing
 producing clear and coherent text: writing effectively about literature for a range of purposes such as: to describe, explain, summarise, argue, analyse and evaluate; discussing and maintaining a point of view; selecting and emphasising key points; using relevant quotation and using detailed textual references.
 accurate Standard English: accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Assessment objectives
AO1 Read, understand and respond to texts
Students should be able to:
 maintain a critical style and develop an informed personal response.
 use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations.
35-40%
AO2 Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate
40-45%
AO3 Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written
15-20%
AO4 Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation
5%
In each specification as a whole, 20-25% of the marks should require candidates to show the abilities described in AO1, AO2 and AO3 through tasks which require them to make comparisons across texts.