Paper 1 guided literary analysis literary commentary
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Paper 1: Guided Literary Analysis Literary Commentary. Session 3. Goals, Process, Assessment:.

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Paper 1: Guided Literary Analysis Literary Commentary

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Paper 1 guided literary analysis literary commentary

Paper 1: Guided Literary AnalysisLiterary Commentary

Session 3


Goals process assessment

Goals, Process, Assessment:

  • Goal: Students show how they, as readers, have made their own meaning from a previously unseen text; they are required to analyse a passage and produce an interpretation supported by an evaluation of the writer’s choice of language, technique and style. HL students construct a literary commentary.

  • Process: practice during two-year course.

  • Assessment: externally assessed, according to different sets of criteria at SL and HL. A combined mark out of 20, based on four criteria.


Assessment details

Assessment details

  • Task: compare the assessment details for SL and HL, referring to pages 36 and 44 of the Literature Guide.

  • How are students at SL and HL assessed differently?


Sl hl response to an unseen passage

SL & HL: response to an unseen passage

  • Students choose either poetry or prose

  • SL write for 1.5 hrs; HL write for 2 hrs

  • SL are given two guiding questions

  • HL are not given guiding questions

  • SL write a “guided literary analysis”

  • HL write a “literary commentary”


Sl and hl

SL and HL

  • Weighting: 20%

  • Paper 1 consists of two previously unseen passages; students write a literary commentary on one of these passages. One passage will be poetry; the other will be taken from works such as:

    • A novel or short story

    • An essay

    • A biography

    • A journalist piece of writing of literary merit


Sl and hl1

SL and HL

  • The passages for analysis may be either a complete piece of writing or an extract from a longer piece, and wherever possible they will not have been written by authors listed on the PLA nor be taken from works likely to have been studied in class


Standard level guided literary analysis

Standard Level: Guided Literary Analysis

  • Examination: 1 hr 30 minutes

  • Two guiding questions are provided: one on understanding and interpretation, and the other on style. Students are required to respond to both questions in their commentary. Students may also respond to other aspects of the text (see p. 29, Guide).


Sl sample material

SL sample material

  • Poem: “Ballad of Birmingham”

  • Which of the “writer’s choices” – of language, structure, technique and style – would you hope or expect the student to explore in response to the questions?

  • What other questions might you recommend for this passage?


Higher level literary commentary

Higher Level: Literary Commentary

  • Examination: 2 hours

  • The term “literary commentary” is used to refer to a close reading of a passage that is presented in the form of an essay. Students need to explore aspects such as content, technique, style, structure, theme and language and they are assessed on their ability to:

    • Demonstrate understanding of thought and feeling in the passage through interpretation that is supported by detailed reference to the passage

    • Analyse and appreciate how the passage achieves its effects


Applying the assessment criteria

Applying the assessment criteria

  • Task: read the HL student sample on pages 62-65 of your workbook, and give the script a mark out of 20.

  • Moderation in pairs / groups

  • What marks might this script be rewarded if assessed by the SL criteria?

  • If this were a SL exam, what two guiding questions might you anticipate? Formulate two guiding questions, using the guidelines on page 29 of the Guide.


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