Welcome to IB Lang & Lit!
General Objectives: the study of the texts produced in a language is central to an active engagement with language and culture and, by extension, to how we see and understand the world in which we live. A key aim of the Language & Literature course is to encourage students to question the meaning generated by language and texts, which, it can be argued, is rarely straightforward and unambiguous. Helping students to focus closely on the language of the texts they study and to become aware of the role of each text’s wider context in shaping its meaning is central to the course.
The Language & Literature course aims to develop in students skills of textual analysis and the understanding that texts, both literary and non-literary, can be seen as autonomous yet simultaneously related to culturally determined reading practices. The course is designed to be flexible—teachers have the opportunity to construct it in a way that reflects the interests and concerns that are relevant to their students while developing in students a range of transferable skills. An understanding of the ways in which formal elements are used to create meaning in a text is combined with an exploration of how that meaning is affected by reading practices that are culturally defined and by the circumstances of production and reception.
In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the Language & Literature course does not limit the study of texts to the products of one culture or of the cultures covered by any one language. The study of literature in translation from other cultures is especially important to IB Diploma Program students because it contributes to a global perspective, thereby promoting an insight into, and understanding of, the different ways in which cultures influence and shape the experiences of life common to all humanity.
There are four assessment objectives at SL and at HL for the Language & Literature course:
1) Knowledge and Understanding
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of texts
- Demonstrate an understanding of the use of language, structure, technique and style
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the various ways in which the reader constructs meaning and of how context influences this constructed meaning
- Demonstrate an understanding of how different perspectives influence the reading of a text.
2) Application and Analysis
- Demonstrate an ability to choose a text type appropriate to the purpose required
- Demonstrate an ability to use terminology relevant to the various text types studied
- Demonstrate an ability to analyze the effects of language, structure, technique and style on the reader
- Demonstrate an awareness of the ways in which the production and reception of texts contribute to their meanings
- Demonstrate an ability to substantiate and justify ideas with relevant examples.
3) Synthesis and Evaluation
- Demonstrate an ability to compare and contrast the formal elements, content and context of texts
- Discuss the different ways in which language and image may be used in a range of texts
- Demonstrate an ability to evaluate conflicting viewpoints within and about a text
- At HL only: Produce a critical response evaluating some aspects of text, context and meaning
4) Selection and use of appropriate presentation and language skills
- Demonstrate an ability to express ideas clearly and with fluency in both written and oral communication
- Demonstrate an ability to use the oral and written forms of the language, in a range of styles, registers and situations
- Demonstrate an ability to discuss and analyze texts in a focused and logical manner
- At HL only: Demonstrate an ability to write a balanced, comparative analysis
Distinction between Standard Level [SL] and Higher Level [HL]: The model for Language & Literature is the same at SL and HL, but there are significant quantitative and qualitative differences between the levels.
In the literature sections, the number of texts prescribed is greater at HL than in SL. In the language sections students are generally expected to cover many more texts of all kinds at HL than in SL.
Two of the assessment tasks at SL are significantly easier than the comparable tasks at HL. The first is the Paper 1 textual analysis, where SL students address and analyze only one passage, while HL students make a comparative analysis of two passages. The second is the Written Tasks, where HL students must produce four tasks, rather than the three produced by SL students. Two of these tasks are submitted for external assessment at HL, while only one is submitted at SL. One of the assessed tasks submitted at HL must be a critical response that addresses one of six set questions and requires students to explore the values, attitudes and beliefs that are implied in the texts they select for this task.
Standard Level [SL]
External – 70%
Paper 1: Textual Analysis (90 minutes) The paper consists of two unseen texts. Students write an analysis on one of these texts. (25%)
Paper 2: Essay (90 minutes) Part III In response to one of six questions, students write an essay based on both the literary texts studied in part 3. The questions are the same as HL but the assessment criteria are different (25%).
Written Task 1 – Parts I & II Students produce at least three written tasks based on material studied in the language components of the course. Students submit their best-written task for external assessment (20%) This task must be 800–1,000 words in length plus a rationale of 200–300 words.
Internal – 30%
Individual Oral Commentary [IOC] Part IV Students comment on an extract from a literary text studied in part 4 of the course. (15%) Students are given two guiding questions.
Further Oral Activity [FOA] Parts I & II Students complete at least two further oral activities, one based on part 1 and one based on part 2 of the course. The mark of one further oral activity is submitted for final assessment. (15%)
Higher Level [HL]
External – 70%
Paper 1: Comparative textual analysis (120 minutes) The paper consists of two pairs of unseen texts. Students write a comparative analysis of one pair of texts. (25%)
Paper 2: Essay (120 minutes) Part III In response to one of six questions students write an essay based on at least two of the literary texts studied in part 3. The questions are the same at SL but the assessment criteria are different. (25%)
Written Tasks [WT1] Parts I & II, [WT2] Parts III & IV Students produce at least four written tasks [WT1] based on the language material studied in the course.Students submit one of these tasks for external assessment (10%).
One of the tasks submitted must be a critical response to one of the prescribed questions for the HL additional study of literature: this is called written task 2 [WT2]. Each task must be 800–1,000 words in length; task 1 should be accompanied by a rationale of 200–300 words. Students submit this task for external assessment (10%).
Internal – 30%
Individual Oral Commentary [IOC] Part IV Students comment on an extract from a literary text studied in part 4 of the course (15%). Students are given two guiding questions.
Further Oral Activity [FOA] Parts I & II Students complete at least two further oral activities, one based on part 1 and one based on part 2 of the course. The mark of one further oral activity is submitted for final assessment (15%).