As English Literature Coursework Ary
Such a task might seem more demanding than tackling a single unseen text, because of the range of materials to combine.However, the critical and contextual sources also support the reading to give a few clues as to how to structure the answer, so that what appears to be a complication actually assists all candidates in providing them with relevant material.When politicians and regulators met with chief executives of exam boards and selected subject experts to determine the direction of the "reformed" linear qualifications, teachers and senior examiners were notably absent.It wasn’t an auspicious beginning as the content and configuration of assessment objectives assumed centre stage.The biggest surprise was the reduction from 12 texts to eight and a compulsory unseen text to allow for "appropriate depth of study" – a stark contrast to the overpacked GCSE and augmented specifications in other subjects, and an overdue recognition that challenge and rigour don’t necessarily come from piling on the content.Previously, the timescale for AS and A level was so compressed that I always felt we were spending too much time on selecting bits for question themes and losing a sense of the whole text.
At this stage, any additional material in terms of contexts and critics needs to be carefully judged to illuminate the text, not overwhelm it.With increasing awareness that cheating can occur just as easily in the exam room as in non-examination assessment, maybe we should revisit the meagre weighting of 20 per cent for coursework. At best, students continue to provide fascinating combinations of texts and refreshing ideas for titles.At the other extreme, some centres have taught both texts and then set the questions. It’s not good for making literature a breathing, creative subject and it’s unfair on teachers prepared to adapt to any reasonable choice from candidates.It’s interesting that we’ve come to speak of the new specifications as "reformed", a recognition that change was not solely about innovation, but recapturing elements of past courses that appealed to politicians educated pre-Curriculum 2000.When applied to meat and fish "re-formed" means that the natural fillets are somewhat mashed up and moulded into marketable shapes.Keats was an accidental and enriching addition to my repertoire.Has any poet provided more deeply felt intellectual discussion of the poetic discipline?Prior to starting the new specification, it seemed as if there were open vistas of teaching time, but in the first run-through, it didn’t feel like that.The second run-through of a linear course has taught me the value of forgetting and relearning texts to provide richer knowledge and understanding of literature.And, indeed, the first report on the examination from 2017 highlighted the danger of using too many critics because, in the time allowed, the application of other views tended to be superficial.I like the rationale behind the compulsory inclusion of a post-2000 text – that it would "embed the sense that literature is a living subject". There has been considerable enthusiasm in the department for the "poems of the decade 2000-10" because of their freshness.