Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Written Task 1 in IB English Language and Literature -- Unpacking the Marking Criteria

Today we're going to take a look at everyone's favourite written task, Written Task 1!

Contrary to popular belief, Written Task 1 is part of your external assessment in IB Lang and Lit. Because it is completed in school and handed in to your teacher, a lot of students think it's part of their internal assessment (IAs). This is simply not true. Your teacher might mark it, and the mark assigned might go on your school report, but ultimately your WT1 is going to be sent off to the IB HQ in Cardiff and from there, sent to some random WT1 examiner somewhere in the world. 

WT1 is worth 20% of your L&L total if you're standard level (SL) or 10% if you're high level (HL). For HL students, the remaining 10% is made up of Written Task 2. 

All L&L students have to produce at least three WT1s. In consultation with your teacher, the best one will be selected for submission to IB.

So how do you write an awesome WT1? Well, let's start with the end: getting an excellent mark. To aim for excellence, we have to unpack the marking criteria. 


The Rationale

Criterion A: Rationale

  • Does the rationale for the written task explain how the task is linked to the aspect of the course being investigated? (Note: The word length for the rationale is 200–300 words. If the word limit is exceeded, 1 mark will be deducted.)

1 -- The rationale shows some explanation and understanding of the aspects being investigated.
2 -- The rationale shows clear explanation and understanding of the aspects being investigated.
The rationale is worth two marks only, but it is also important because it reveals your choices in terms of writing style, etc. The rest of the marking hinges on what you explain in your rationale. In other words, if you are writing a blog entry, say so in your rationale. Then the examiner will know your 'text type' and will be able to determine whether you have used the 'conventions of the text type chosen.' Your rationale should also explain who your intended audience is. Your organization and writing style depend on your intended audience as well as your text type, so the examiner needs to know this information to be able to determine if your organization and writing style are appropriate. 

So for these reasons, think of your rationale as a justification for your decisions in terms of how you structure your written task and what kind of language and style you use. If you're very detailed and clear in your rationale, you will get two marks, but remember the word length is maximum 300 words, so if you're TOO detailed you'll actually only get one mark.


Task and Content

Criterion B: Task and content

  • To what extent does the task show understanding of the topic(s) or text(s) to which it refers?
  • How appropriate is the content to the task chosen?
  • To what extent does the task show understanding of the conventions of the text type chosen?

1-2 --The task shows a superficial understanding of the topic(s) or text(s) to which it refers. The content is generally inappropriate to the task chosen. The task shows a superficial understanding of the conventions of the text type chosen.
3-4 -- The task shows a mostly adequate understanding of the topic(s) or text(s) to which it refers. The content is generally appropriate to the task chosen. The task shows an adequate understanding of the conventions of the text type chosen.
5-6 -- The task shows a good understanding of the topic(s) or text(s) to which it refers. The content is mostly appropriate to the task chosen. The task shows a good understanding of the conventions of the text type chosen.
7-8 -- The task shows an excellent understanding of the topic(s) or text(s) to which it refers. The content is consistently appropriate to the task chosen. The task shows an excellent understanding of the conventions of the text type chosen.

This is the heaviest criterion. In your Lang and Lit course, you're going to study lots of different types of text, both fiction and non-fiction, and during Part 1 and Part 2 of the course (Language) you're going to study those texts under various topics. For example, Part 1 topics might be Language and Gender or Language of Persuasion. Part 2 topics might be Stereotypes or Arts and Entertainment. Your written task has to show that you understand the text it responds to, and if you are writing it in Part 1 or 2 of the course, the topic. In our example above, if you write a blog and you're studying Language of Persuasion, you would write persuasively. If you're studying Stereotypes, your blog might be about a situation where stereotyping took place. These would show your understanding of the topic, and your response to the text would show your understanding of the text.

IB Lang and Lit values focus, and your written content has to be focused entirely on what you state (in your rationale) is the theme and purpose of your text. So if you're writing a blog post on a celebrity's stereotyped Halloween costume that you read about in a text in class, your content should be focused on the stereotypes that were present in that particular text. If you start including details like the celebrity's relationship status or recent trip to the Maldives, then you are off topic and you're going to lose marks. 

The "conventions of the text type chosen" refers to how people usually write the text type you've chosen to write. So still with our example of a blog entry, you need to be familiar with what features blogs usually have and use them. A blog entry is usually short and often has readers' comments, so if you choose it as a written task text type, you should show that you understand the conventions of this text type by writing three short blog entries instead of one long one, or by writing a 500-word blog entry and adding a lot of readers' comments to bring up the word count. Whatever text type you choose, make sure you research and understand what features and writing style it usually has, and make sure your rationale clearly states your text type, too, or it will be difficult for the examiner to give you full marks in this criterion.


Organization

Criterion C: Organization
  • How well organized is the task?
  • How coherent is the structure? 
(Note: The word length for the written task is 800–1,000 words. If the word limit is exceeded, 2 marks will be deducted.)
1 -- Little organization is apparent; the task has little structure.
2 -- Some organization is apparent; the task has some structure, although it is not sustained.
3 -- The task is organized; the structure is generally coherent.
4 -- The task is organized. The structure is mostly coherent.
5 -- The task is effectively organized. The structure is coherent and effective.
Your WT1 organization depends on the text type. Make sure you are familiar with the structure of your chosen text type before you begin writing. For example, a news article in a tabloid is usually written in an inverted pyramid structure, is divided into several short paragraphs, and includes a headline and subheadings.

Language and Style

Criterion D: Language and style 
  • How effective is the use of language and style? 
  • How appropriate to the task is the choice of register and style? (“Register” refers, in this context, to the student’s use of elements such as vocabulary, tone, sentence structure and idiom appropriate to the task; register is assessed on the task itself.) 
1 -- There is little clarity, with many basic errors; little sense of register and style.
2 -- There is some clarity, though grammar, spelling and sentence structure are often inaccurate; some sense of register, style and appropriate vocabulary.
3 -- The use of language and the style are generally clear and effective, though there are some inaccuracies in grammar, spelling and sentence construction; generally appropriate in register, style and vocabulary.
4 -- The use of language and the style are clear and effective, with a good degree of accuracy; sentence construction and vocabulary are varied, showing a growing maturity of style; the register is appropriate.
5 -- The use of language and the style are very clear and effective, with a very good degree of accuracy; sentence construction and vocabulary are good; the style is confident and the register effective.
Let's go right to the top band here. In order to get five marks for language and style, you have to understand and implement a lot of components: clear means the reader can understand everything easily; effective means that your language gets your message across to the reader well. Accuracy means you don't make errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization; sentence construction means putting words together in the correct order in your sentences and vocabulary means you use appropriate words for your text type and writing style and you use the correct words for the meaning you wish to convey --  picking long words out of a thesaurus will not help you get high marks for vocabulary, but being well-read and knowing when it is appropriate to use cool advanced words will. The style is confident means that you are using the appropriate style for your chosen text type, and that you stick to the style throughout. Register refers to how formal/informal and how academic/colloquial your writing is, and for it to be effective, you need to choose the correct register for your text type. For example, a friendly letter will be informal and colloquial, while a broadsheet feature article will be more on the formal, academic side.




7 comments:

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  4. Their are many students in the world, who have problem of English speaking and reading. You can share your article with students at Q&A. That is best medium to share information with students.

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  7. Learning to proofread your work yourself is a a must-have skill. But, it always helps to have a second pair of eyes review your work to make sure you haven't missed embarassing typos, or grammatical and syntactical errors. I'd suggest WordsRU.com for this. It also saves you a lot of time to have your work formatted according to the right style. Saves you a lot of time and allows you to focus on your work.
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