Criteria

Before you write written tasks, you should look at the assessment criteria. This way you know what the examiner is looking for. The best way to become familiar with the criteria is to use them regularly. For each written task that is entered into the portfolio, there should be some form of self assessment, peer assessment and teacher assessment.

Remember: Teachers are not allowed to edit or annotate students' written tasks. This does not mean that teachers cannot give feedback. Rather, teachers can and should tell students how they think they will score according to the assessment criteria. What's more, teachers should be involved in guiding students towards appropriate ideas for the written task.

Written task 1

Here is a summary of what you will want to look for in each criterion at both SL and HL. A handy print out for assessing student work is also provided. For the actual descriptors, we refer you to the IB Language A: Language and Literature guide.

Criterion A - Rationale - 2 marks
It is essential that students include a rationale before the actual task. The rationale must be no fewer than 200 words and no longer than 300 words. The rationale should shed light on the thought process behind the task. Furthermore, it should explain how the task aims to meet one or more learning outcomes of the syllabus.

Remember:  If the word count of the rationale exceeds 300 words, 1 mark will be deducted.

Criterion B - Task and content - 8 marks
The content of a task should lend itself well to the type of text that one chooses. The task should demonstrate an understanding of the course work and topics studied. Finally, there should be evidence that the student has understood the conventions of writing a particular text type.

Criterion C - Organization - 5 marks
Each type of text has a different structure. Nevertheless, all types of texts have conventions and organizing principles. Students must organize their tasks effectively and appropriately. There must be a sense of coherence.

Criterion D - Language and style - 5 marks
The language of the task must be appropriate to the nature of the task. This means that students use an appropriate and effective register and style. Whatever the nature of the task, ideas must be communicated effectively.

Written task 2 (HL only)

The following criteria apply to the criticial response that HL students write on one of the six prescribed questions.

Criterion A - Outline - 2 marks
For the critical response, students are asked to write a brief outline of the task that includes the following:

  • The prescribed question to which the task refers
  • The title of the text, or texts, that the student analyzes
  • The part of the course to which the task corresponds (Parts 1-4)
  • Four or more bullet-points that explain the content of the task

Criterion B - Response to question - 8 marks
To achieve top marks for this criterion, students must explore all of the implications of the prescribed question chosen. The critical response must be focused on and relevant to the prescribed question. Furthermore, the response is supported by well chosen examples from the text(s). 

Criterion C - Organization and argument - 5 marks
The response must be well organized and effectively structured in order to score top marks for this criterion. The response should make a case and develop it thoroughly.

Remember: The critical response must be 800 -1,000 words. If this is not the case 2 marks will be deducted for Criterion C.

Criterion D - Language and style - 5 marks
The response must be written effectively and accurately. Students should use an academic register and strong style.

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Comments 130

Hunter Minks 24 August 2017 - 17:13

Hi,
When should WTs (and IAs, for that matter) be submitted to the IB? I've got my last written task due in March of DP2. Is that too late?

Thanks,

Hunter

Tim Pruzinsky 25 August 2017 - 00:35

Hi Hunter,

Written Tasks are due to the IB on March 15th or before for May exam students. Because they will be choosing from a portfolio of WTs, I think March is too late to have them submit their final WT.

IAs are due April 20th or before.

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 13 September 2017 - 14:47

Hello Tim I know the rationale for WT1 must not exceed more than 300 words,but what is the limit for the actual task itself? Regards,Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 14 September 2017 - 00:45

Hi Elizabeth,

800-1000 words for the Written Task itself.

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 14 September 2017 - 19:26

Thank you!

Can I ask you another question about timelessness and whether Disgrace fits this ideal - it was written quite recently? Regards Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 15 September 2017 - 01:23

Hi Elizabeth,

Can you clarify? What do you mean about "timelessness"? And are we talking about the novel "Disgrace" or the play "Disgraced"?

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 15 September 2017 - 11:29

Hello Tim my apologies.I meant the novel Disgrace. Regards, Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 16 September 2017 - 01:32

Hi Elizabeth,

As for "timelessness," that's always arguable. However, he won the Booker for this novel and he's also won a Nobel Prize, so there are a lot of people out there that think his writing is worth reading. I don't know if that counts as "timeless," but it does offer the backing of the literary community.

When selecting texts, I also think about my students. Would this novel work for them in my context (school system, city, country)? Is this something they should/need to read for a wide variety of reasons?

Best,
Tim

Geoffrey Peake 15 September 2017 - 12:18

Could you clarify that 2 points is deducted if the WT is over 1000 words? Is there any penalty if it is less than 800?

Tim Pruzinsky 16 September 2017 - 01:33

Hi Geoffrey,

Yes, if the Written Task is over 1000 words, 2 points should be deducted from "Organization." The same is true if it is under. Occasionally, examiners will miss this, but that is the what should happen.

Best,
Tim

Geoffrey Peake 17 September 2017 - 11:50

Thanks Tim--much appreciated

Ryan Meczkowski 19 September 2017 - 21:57

Tim and David,

I have a student who wrote an online opinion piece for the Guardian as her WT1. In the spirit of authenticity, she included online ads. Would these ads be counted as part of the 1000 word count?

Thanks,

Ryan

Tim Pruzinsky 20 September 2017 - 07:06

Hi Ryan,

Are the ads in any way related to the content of her WT1? If so, I would count them. If not (it's just a McDonald's advert), I wouldn't.

Best,
Tim

Ryan Meczkowski 20 September 2017 - 16:55

Thanks Tim. One more question: what about if the student includes the tabs that are found at the top of the page to indicate the different sections - World News, Sports, Style, etc. Does the same idea apply - that it counts only if it is related to the content of the WT1?

Tim Pruzinsky 21 September 2017 - 00:41

Hi Ryan,

I tell students to include that in the word count. That's part of their "blog" or online publication. I also tell them they might change them to make it look more specific to their topic. Because an ad is so image heavy (usually), I'm less concerned about it, but the tabs seem to me to be part of the task.

As you can see, this is a huge gray area and some teachers will disagree. The IB hasn't - and most likely won't - put out an announcement for every text type of what is and what isn't included.

Best,
Tim

Rima Moukarzel 21 September 2017 - 19:47

If a student chooses to write an opinion column, does he/she have to imitate a famous columnist? Can't he/she use his/her own style?

Tim Pruzinsky 22 September 2017 - 00:26

Hi Rima,

They do not have to imitate a famous columnist. But it still must look, feel, and read as an opinion column.

Best,
Tim

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 4 October 2017 - 18:56

Hi Tim,

While they may not have to imitate a renowned columnist, I remember one of the exam reports saying that students who tried pastiche scored more. Does that mean that imitating a known columnist's style jacks up their chances of scoring more?

Thanks,
Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 4 October 2017 - 20:16

Hi Lakshmi,

Does it jack up their score? I don't know. The student can include - at the end of the WT - another page titled "Stimulus Material." If they have imitated a famous columnist (let's say Nicolas Kristof of the New York Times), then an example would be helpful to the examiner.

I don't recall any subject report making that blanket of a statement that pastiche scores more, but I could be wrong. Instead of focusing on what will score the highest, I think a focus on the purpose of writing an op-ed in the first place, in relation to the content studied, is more important. The student needs to make that justification very clear, more so than just imitating someone.

Again, they are free to do so, but they also don't have to. The choice is theirs based on the purpose of their WT1.

Best,
Tim

Rima Moukarzel 22 September 2017 - 06:01

Thank you, Tim!

Rima Moukarzel 27 September 2017 - 19:25

My student's task 1(which is supposed to be an article) is more informative; her opinion is indirectly stated. It cannot be an opinion column, right?
Another question: Is it ok that her task is on primary sources that are an advertisement written in Arabic and an article in the Lebanese law?

Tim Pruzinsky 28 September 2017 - 01:29

Hi Rima,

I'll deal with your second question first. No, the primary sources must be originally written in English.

As for writing an opinion column, an article, or an informational brochure, any text type is theoretically okay to write for a WT1. As long as students demonstrate their understanding of the topic, text, and course objectives in the actual text, it's okay.

Best,
Tim

Rima Moukarzel 28 September 2017 - 05:55

That was really helpful!
Thank you, Tim!

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 3 October 2017 - 09:20

Hi David,

When a student writes a written task relating to part 1 or part 2 of the course, should it have a non-literary text as stimulus material or is it acceptable to use a PLA text, part of which relates to a part 1 or part 2 topic as a stimulus material? Also, I faintly remember you saying in one such interaction that a WT 1 does not have to be rooted in a stimulus material (for example, it can relate to an event pertaining to a part 1 or part 2 topic) but that it is preferable to have it anchored in a stimulus material. Please correct me if I got that wrong. If it is preferable to have a WT 1 rooted in a stimulus material, is it acceptable to have multiple small stimulus materials?

Thanks,
Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 3 October 2017 - 17:10

Hi Lakshmi,

For assessment purposes, if it comes from Part 1 or 2 of the course, it should be a non-literary text. It should not be based on literature if it comes from Part 1 or 2.

While I can't speak for David or what he said to you in the past, you should anchor the WT1 in a text. A student can't pull it out of thin air and if students are going to pay close attention to language, a text (and not just a topic) is necessary.

As for several small stimulus materials for WT1, it depends on what the student is trying to accomplish. The short answer is yes, it is possible for a student to use several. The long answer connects to purpose, audience, text type, context and so on. Please do let either of us know if you need any further guidance or clarification as we are here to help!

Best,
Tim

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 4 October 2017 - 18:47

Hi Tim,

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. That clears most of my doubts there. Regarding the last part of your answer, while I do understand that many aspects need to be factored in while guiding a student with written tasks, I am not sure how meticulously they need to show awareness of the features of the text types that they try to imitate. I made a futile attempt to list out all the features of various text types that they need to know and decided to stick with the key or salient features of text types listed on your site. Could you please throw some light on how much a student is rewarded or penalized for this aspect? Also, is a written task likely to be more impressive for the examiner if it is imagined to appear in a reputed international newspaper or magazine, for instance, rather than a national newspaper or magazine?

Many thanks in advance.
Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 4 October 2017 - 20:22

Hi Lakshmi,

A student must know the features of the text type and demonstrate that in their own writing. This make up part of Criterion B. If they fail to do this, they will be knocked in that area.

The most recent subject report says something to that effect. The text type they are writing should look and feel like that text type as you would encounter it in the real world.

For example, if they are writing a speech, and there are huge paragraphs and it reads like an essay, that is a major problem. Most speeches have short, concise paragraphs.

As for your final question, you do not need to make it look like an international newspaper. You do, however, need a newspaper or magazine that is published in English. It doesn't matter where in the world it comes from. However, this goes to audience. If I am writing about the detrimental effects of the language of racial stereotyping in the U.S. and I put this op-ed in a reputable South African newspaper, that makes no sense. They wouldn't publish this. It's not relevant to their readers.

I hope that helps clarify some things for you!

Best,
Tim

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 5 October 2017 - 05:30

Hi Tim,

That makes eminent sense. Thank you so much.

Regards,
Lakshmi

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 5 October 2017 - 10:45

Hi David and Tim,

Is there a list of text types that you would say is appropriate for a written task based on part 1 of the course and a separate list (perhaps with some overlap) of text types recommended for part 2 of the course? Also, given that gender and sexuality come under part 1 while Stereotypes come under part 2, how can a student draw a line of distinction here? Can we give the student some basis through which s/he can say that this is based on part 1 and that is based on part 2 of the course even when topics overlap? Another instance of a clash in topics, at least in my perception, is that propaganda comes under part 1 while speeches and the use of persuasive language comes under part 2.

Look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your ever kind answers.

Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 5 October 2017 - 15:04

Hi Lakshmi,

There isn't a list of text types for each part although the guide does list a ton of them overall. Our course requires students to be ready to write about any text type and students can create any text type for Part 1 or 2. There is no and I can't imagine there ever will be a list.

You have also noticed something that is just a part of our course - language topics don't easily fit into set categories that the IB has given. So, it will be important for you to let your students both know that the parts are arbitrary. At the same time, for purposes of assessment, they will need to be clear to the examiner if something is from Part 1 or 2 of the course. In other words, the parts can blur in your classroom (as you point out) but when it comes time to explain things to the IB, they need to be explicit about the part of the course.

Best,
Tim

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 5 October 2017 - 19:38

Hi Tim,

Appreciate your prompt response. I have a student who wants to do a pastiche of a letter published by a Jewish intellectual of the yesteryear objecting to the anti-Semitic propaganda by Nazis. In her letter written from her grandfather's point of view, she wants to highlight how the use of persuasive language in propaganda makes some people bear the brunt of it all. Incidentally, her grandfather was forced to flee his country of origin due to a similar propaganda. I'm not sure if her task falls under part 1 for exploration of propaganda or part 2 for the exploration of persuasive language. What would you think is best, given that we have to work with the system and tell the examiner where it comes from?

Many thanks,
Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 6 October 2017 - 07:29

Hi Lakshmi,

This sounds like a very creative response and very personal to the student. I would put it in Part 1. However, my larger concern is this: why would this supposed person be writing in English? And who would be reading it in English? This part confuses me.

Best,
Tim

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 6 October 2017 - 09:45

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the response again and sorry for the endless questions. The student and her grandfather come from countries with a heavy English-speaking population, that is Pakistan and India. So the realistic aspect of that is not a concern. Would be extremely grateful if you could explain why you would put it as a part 1.

Thanks
Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 6 October 2017 - 10:54

Hi Lakshmi,

Thanks for clarifying. I'd put it in part 1 simply because under the topic "language and power" in the guide on page 18, it lists "propaganda." As well, it feels less media focused and more connected to "language in a cultural context." Is it arbitrary? Yep. But, we have to place it somewhere and it feels better placed in Part 1 to me because of the above reasons.

Best,
Tim

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 6 October 2017 - 11:20

Hi Tim,

Finally, my head is clear about these divisions. No, it does not sound arbitrary. But it is surprising to see how not staying anchored in the fundamental aspects of the course and its "parts" can easily make us veer off to the wrong side.

Deeply indebted.
Lakshmi

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 9 October 2017 - 10:33

Dear Tim and David,

May 2017 report says the following:
"For an examiner, the ideal rationale places the task in the context of the taught course, explains the particular purpose, the audience aimed at, its context and the conventions of the text type followed." Does the last part mean that students can choose to follow only some of the conventions of the text type they are emulating?

Regards,
Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 10 October 2017 - 04:17

Hi Lakshmi,

What you quote is discussing the rationale. It only has to do with the rationale. It was to help teachers in instructing students how to write the rationale.

I also don't think it's okay for a student to follow some conventions, but not all conventions of a text type.

Best,
Tim

Katherine Adisa 18 October 2017 - 04:05

Hi folks, My colleague and I are having a discussion about choices for the WT1. We are in Part 2 and have been studying rhetoric in political speeches. For his task, the student wants to write a speech for President Moon. Unfortunately, he does not speak English, only Korean so past speeches of his have been looked at in translation. I feel the student should not write a speech for President Moon because he would not be giving a speech in English. Can the student use this for his paper 1

David McIntyre 18 October 2017 - 09:40

Hi Katherine,

I would recommend that the student does not write this WT - we agree.

I don't understand your final question, however; what is the relationship between President Moon and Paper 1.

Thanks for clarifying.

David

Katherine Adisa 18 October 2017 - 21:04

My apologies, I am multi-tasking here. I meant to say 'for this written task.

Benedict Campbell 30 October 2017 - 23:44

Can I ask if the outline is part of the final word count?

Tim Pruzinsky 31 October 2017 - 07:10

Hi Ben,

No, the outline for WT2 is not part of the final word count.

Best,
Tim

Andrew Paetzhold 2 November 2017 - 16:55

Tim and/or David,

I have a student that wants to do a WT1 for Part 4. They're proposal is to create poetry in the style of Eavan Boland using the content of a novel (The Life and Times of Michael K).

I know students are not allowed to combine text types for their WT1, but are they allowed to combine texts in the way I described? If they are allowed to do it, have you seen a WT that successfully did this?

Andrew

Tim Pruzinsky 2 November 2017 - 23:37

Hi Andrew,

If I understand it correctly, the student wants to create a poem or series of poems. Poetry would be the text type here. However, he wants to write in the style of Boland using the novel studied in class as inspiration. I haven't seen this before.

However, I see no reason why this can't work if done with care. Make sure the rationale is very clear about audience, purpose, and effect. If the rationale is clear - and presents a compelling argument for the task itself - it could turn out well. As for success, I tend to think that good writing is good writing and the IB rewards students for it (regardless of the text type).

Best,
Tim

Carola Beyer 6 November 2017 - 09:35

Dear Tim/David,

In response to one of Shakespeare's sonnets, which we studied for part 4, one of my students wrote a series of Diary entries from the point of view of "the dark lady" to whom the sonnet is addressed. She tried to write the entries in Elizabethan English but not very successfully. So my questions is, would it be necessary to write in Elizabethan English?

Carola

Tim Pruzinsky 6 November 2017 - 23:40

Hi Carola,

I don't think so. Obviously, if she pulled this off, it could be a fantastic WT1. However, if the rationale states why she wrote in contemporary English (the purpose of it and how it connects to her objective in the diary entries), she could be okay.

It's imperative that she makes a compelling case for contemporary English in the rationale though. If she does this, it frames the examiner's thinking about the WT.

Best,
Tim

Petrina McGregor 21 November 2017 - 09:28

Dear Tim/David

I have a student who has written an interesting WT1 in the role of George Orwell - imagining Orwell was still alive and commenting on current use of political rhetoric by POTUS45. He uses and references some of Orwell's words and phrases - if he were to cite these, it would spoil the authentic "feel" of his WT. Do you advise him to cite them anyway?

Tim Pruzinsky 21 November 2017 - 23:53

Hi Petrina,

They are not his words - he must cite them. If they spoil the authenticity of the task, so be it. If he wants to footnote it, okay. But somehow, someway, he must show that this is not his own work. If not, he is passing off the words of Orwell as his own and could be in deep trouble with the IB.

Best,
Tim

Sadia Chunawala 30 November 2017 - 04:32

Hi David and Tim

My student is planning to do a WT1 as a short play script where the characters in the play put up a humorous play for a fundraiser but have the humour finally fall flat because they didn’t get contexts right. During this play the characters will make references to the Ted Talk by Peter McGraw called ‘What Makes Things Funny’ (which is the text the WT1 is based on). She is working on Part 1 – Language and Humour, and the language outcome she will be looking at is: ‘Analyse how audience and purpose affect the structure and content of texts’.

Will this work as a WT1?

Thanks and Regards
Sadia

Tim Pruzinsky 30 November 2017 - 07:35

Hi Sadia,

It could. It could go terribly as well. But remember that students have a variety of tasks to pull from before sending their final one off, so I would cautiously say to go for it and see what happens! Sometimes, we are pleasantly surprised.

Best,
Tim

Jane Barker 30 November 2017 - 10:51

HI all,

I am sorry if this question has been asked before but we are trying to wrap our heads around the type of feedback we can give to students. Do you think it would be permitted to give written feedback as long as it's not on the task sheet itself? In my school, we go through huge lengths to avoid giving written feedback but I am wondering if that is really necessary.
Thanks for your advice.

Tim Pruzinsky 30 November 2017 - 23:37

Hi Jane,

This is a huge problem all over the world and in most schools. I always advise to stick to the spirit of things - you aren't editing or correcting, but at the same time, you are guiding the student in the right direction. I think professionals know when they have gone too far and done the work for the student and I think they know when they are providing feedback and support for learning. It's important to keep that in mind.

With that said, yes, give written feedback on a separate sheet of paper if that is what you and your department agree upon. Every school will do something slightly different and so instead of me wading into department matters, I'd rather advise that you all come to an agreement in which you believe you are sticking to the spirit of the assessment - and not giving students an unfair advantage - but also one that helps in the learning process.

Best,
Tim

David McIntyre 1 December 2017 - 06:38

I concur with Tim, Jane. He is quite right; this is a huge problem. I think in part the problem arises because we are told what we cannot do as teachers, but not really told the limits of what we can do. An additional problem is class/cohort size; in a very large class, it is difficult to speak with each student at length to provide meaningful feedback. Whilst my own practice has always been oral feedback (and an insistence in departments I have run), I sometimes wonder what difference it makes. Oral or written? Can't you communicate the same thing? The main thing, of course, is to guide (young, sometimes struggling) students without doing the work for them. It's a fine line.

David

Ryan Meczkowski 6 December 2017 - 19:10

Tim and David,

Do titles count towards the 1000 word count? A student of mine used the prescribed question as the "title" of her WT because she felt like the paper looked naked without it. She is also trying to stay under 1000 words, not counting the title. I am trying to determine if I should t lo her to remove it from the assignment. Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Ryan

Tim Pruzinsky 7 December 2017 - 00:19

Hi Ryan,

In this instance, I think it's okay not to have it count. Why? It's just the prescribed question. All it does it let the examiner know what question she is dealing with.

Best,
Tim

Mohammed Bhuiya 7 December 2017 - 10:57

Hi Tim and David,
a) If a student wants to do a WT2 on the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe, for example, is there a minimum number of stories that must be referred to?
b) Related to the above, I only came in as a Grade 12 teacher this year. For their first year of the IB course, they had a different teacher who left suddenly and we're unsure if everything was done properly. One issue is that of choice of texts for Part 4. It seems that rather than choosing one author and 5-10 short stories (so to constitute a 'work'), my predecessor taught several different authors (one story by Frederick Douglas, one from Harrison Burgess, one from O Henry, etc.). Is this an issue for WT2 or the course in general, or is the requirement that a work consist of 5-10 short stories from ONE author just a requirement for the English Language course, not the Lang and Lit one? We are assuming it is an issue, and are squeezing in a mini-unit so the requirements are met.
c) Most of the sample answers for WT2 on your website and elsewhere are based on one text, and that's what I'm most comfortable advising students about. However, some students would like to base their WT2 on short stories. Can you refer me to model answers for this type of response? Can you advise how students would have to approach the task in order not to be disadvantaged compared to where they are writing about one text only?

Many thanks for your great advice and support,

Mohammed

David McIntyre 7 December 2017 - 11:38

Hi Mohammed,

(a)/(c) The students can refer to one story. Moreover, I would recommend that the students only responds to one text. Trying to answer the question and show an understanding of a text is not easy in 1000 words. Concision is difficult for most students (and most writers in general I would suggest). Perhaps for this reason we do not include samples that refer to more than one text. My strong recommendation, then, is that students consider only one text for WT2.
(b) I guess it doesn't help if I tell you that I have heard similar stories so many times. Nevertheless, I'm sorry. You are correct: It is an issue. Since this relates to Part 4, it impacts on IOCs. The IOC must include both/all works, and the IOC should be done when all the texts have been studied. Adding a one author mini-unit makes some sense. In the interest of making time work, however, you could skim and skirt a number of stories, but give greater attention to those stories you (but not your students) know will be included in the IOC. Arguably, this is not 'in the spirit of things', but my own view is that you are simply trying to ameliorate a difficult situation - not one of your own making - in the best interests of the kids you teach (and who have much else to study beyond English).

Best of luck Mohammed. Let me know if you require further help or support.

Cheers,

David

Mohammed Bhuiya 8 December 2017 - 16:51

Thanks David,

I'm still a little unsure about a few points. Please could you just clarify the following:
1. What is the requirement for works to be studied in Parts 3 and 4? What is the definition of works, especially related to short stories?
2. W.r.t. the IOC can you clarify how many stories must be referred to? So if we decide that six of Poe's stories are going to be selected, do students have to refer to all six? I have not prepared or read about IOCs before and so am unfamiliar with the requirements.
3. Back to my original question, and using the same example of Poe. If a student wants to choose one of Poe's short stories for WT2, he is fine to select just ONE short story for analysis? He will not be penalised for failing to refer to a minimum of 5 (which I presume is the requirement for the IOC only)?

Thanks again,
Mohammed

David McIntyre 11 December 2017 - 09:55

Hi Mohammed,

1. The details of requirements for works studied is given in the study guide. Pages 13, 17, 20-23 should be read carefully. The definition of a work is given in the Prescribed List of Authors (PLA booklet), designating the number of poems, short stories, novellas etc. that constitute one literary work.
2. You can decide this. You do not need to choose all short stories. A representative sample is fine. It is probably not okay, however, to share with students in advance of the IOC which stories you will choose. Some teachers/schools may take this approach; in my view, it is not in the spirit of the task.
3. You are correct; he may choose just one short story, and this is the approach I would suggest/recommend.

Best regards,

David

elizabeth smith 15 December 2017 - 15:04

Dear David

I have a question about the written tasks. I have a student who has based her WT1 on the novel Lucy ( which was used for the IOC) and her WT2 is on A Doll`s House (one of the paper 2 texts). Is it acceptable that although the texts are from different parts of the course they are similar in genre?

Regards

Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 17 December 2017 - 01:54

Hi Elizabeth,

It's okay that she's written these, but you can't send both of these tasks to the IB. The IB wants one from the language portion of the course and one from the literature portion. So she will have to choose which one of the literature WT's she likes from the two you've mentioned, and then she will have to send a language WT.

Many teachers do this, in that they have students write two literature (one WT1 and one WT2) and two language (one WT1 and one WT2) so the students get an interesting matrix to choose from.

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 19 December 2017 - 21:41

Dear Tim

Thank goodness I checked and the clarification is much appreciated. I wondered if you could offer me guidance on the following two question:
Firstly, I have a student who is basing her WT2 on the novel Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid. She has decided to write a letter to Lucy from her mother who lives in Antigua. How vital is it that my students includes Creole? We learn from the novel that this is what the mother speaks?

My second question is based on the novel 1984 and one of my students wants to write a short story based on some of the ideas/themes that the novel poses. Is this feasible.

Much appreciation

Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 20 December 2017 - 01:47

Hi Elizabeth,

For the first question, I would guess that a small bit of Creole would make it more authentic. Endearments and/or admonishments would be a good time to include it, I would guess.

As for the second question, this is feasible. The rationale is key here and will allow the student to be explicit about his or her purpose and audience.

Best,
Tim

Zena Youseph 22 December 2017 - 13:57

Dear Tim and David,
Hi there, I'm new to I.B and really need help and guidance with Written Task 1. First question is:
1. I have a student who wants to do a written task based what looks like a spoof (fake) sexist vintage Hardee's ad, with the tagline 'Women Don't Leave The Kitchen1!' she wants to assume the role of a feminist writing to the company complaining the ad is sexist and promotes dangerous female stereotypes and gender roles. Can she use this ad if it's not a genuine Hardee's ad and is just a spoof/parody? She wants to link it to the topic of language and gender that we covered in part 1.
2. I have another student who wants to write a journalistic article analysing the language used and societal/marriage customs in relation to women in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for her Part 1 Written task, linking it also to language and gender. Is this okay? By the way, both these students are SL.
Please help!
Thanks so much.
Kind Regards,
Zena

David McIntyre 28 December 2017 - 10:34

Hi Zena,

1. I would advise against this. It could assume, I think, that the writer doesn't get irony. However, there are so many 'genuine' ads that are sexist, and since this is so, I would advise that the student find a suitable one to use as the basis for her WT. A spoof is not required, unless the writer wants to make some kind of point about a spoof.
2. This is not okay as a part 1 WT. The text (I assume) was studied in pt3 or 4, and cannot therefore constitute a pt1 WT. Potentially, it can be included as a pt3 or 4 WT.

Not a lot of good news, but clarity I hope.

Kind regards,

David

elizabeth smith 2 January 2018 - 22:54

Dear Tim

One of my students has decided to write a short story based on Orwell's 1984. The only issue is that he has decided to focus on gender which is not one of the central concerns of the novel. It was studied as part of language and power unit. Would it not be better if he was, for example, write a short story from a female perspective on the dystopian world that is 1984?

Best Wishes

Elizabeth

David McIntyre 3 January 2018 - 08:35

Hi Elizabeth,

The central point, I think, is that the student reveals an understanding of an aspect of the novel. This may be the representation of women in the text. Julia, of course, is the main female character, but she is not the only one. It would be possible, for example, for the student to assume (some kind of) a feminist perspective and write for an (actually existing) literary magazine (many of which are online), discussing the representation of women in the novel. You have to decide if you think this is a good idea or not, but I have seen this kind of task done effectively in the past.

I think too that you have to nudge the student towards the basis for an effective written task rather than simply presenting them with ideas - and that is, from experience, not always easy.

Kind regards,

David

elizabeth smith 4 January 2018 - 14:56

Dear David

I omitted to wish you a Happy New Year!

Thank you very much for your response and advice.

Regards

Elizabeth

Nusrien Khan 6 January 2018 - 08:03

Hi David/Tim,

This is the first time I am teaching this course and would just like to ask a few questions about my students' WT1s please.

Student 1 has chosen to write an opinion column for 'The Global News' about child labour. His rationale highlights that the purpose is to raise awareness of this. His primary source is a poster that shows a child carrying a heavy load etc. My question is, should he make reference to the poster in his rationale? ( I believe so). He does state that his WT is 'connected to my study of Part 2' but doesn't make mention of the learning outcome or topic: should he do this? And is it necessary to mention the part of the course (in the rationale) if the learning outcome and topic are mentioned? (I'm thinking of word count here).
Also, should the student write his name and the date on his opinion column as you might find in the real world?

Student 2 is also writing an opinion column based on part 2. As his primary source, he is using an old advertising poster of Santa Clause smoking a 'Luckies' cigarette. His rationale stipulates that he wants to show how propaganda is used to persuade people to smoke. I'm not sure if this falls under propaganda. Would you please advise which learning outcome and topic this might fall under?

In more general terms, how should students reference/cite their research? should this be on the WT itself? And which method of referencing is preferred? What about the primary source, ie, the image. Should this be included in the WT (at the end perhaps?) or should it just be referenced?

I'm getting a little overwhelmed... Please pardon my confusion. Your guidance is much appreciated.

Thank you very much,
Nusrien

David McIntyre 7 January 2018 - 14:46

Hi Nusrien,

Student 1: This idea seems only partly appropriate. An opinion column as a text type is fine. Writing about child labour is not fine; this is not a part 2 topic option. A part 2 written task should be about a part 2 topic option. The student can mention the learning outcome in their rationale. I recommend that the student mentions the precise part of the course that the task is connected to, and references the source poster (including it as an appendix if possible). Students should aim to write apparently authentic texts. If a byline and date are an aspect of a text type, then the student should include this.

Student 2: I'm not sure this is an example of propaganda. However, it could form parts of many units of study; for example, language and persuasion, language and power, the language of advertising.

References should follow the written task. Any conventionalised referencing system can be used. As I mention above, primary sources can be included as appendices (and may assist the examiner), but this is not a requirement.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

David

elizabeth smith 8 January 2018 - 23:05

Hello again David

I really need to be sure that my student is on the right tracks.He is adamant on writing a short story and below I have outlined his rationale. In light of your knowledge of the IB rules, do you feel this would work:

Inspired by George Orwell’s 1984, I wrote a short story about a dystopian, yet generally happy and prosperous world. In it, women are devoid of most rights and strongly-contrasting gender roles are imposed upon them. To show this, I explored the relationship between a husband and a wife in this world. Through the narrative style that indirectly shows the wife’s thoughts, I have conveyed her subconscious awareness of her dependence on her husband. She comments that she cannot go shopping without her husband and that the husband pays for everything in the house. The prevalence and importance of men in leading roles in society was shown by subtly naming the news channel “M.A.N.”, naming the husband’s car a “Manden three” and an institution as the “Ministry of Man”. Dystopian works often depict the characters as unaware of living in a dystopian society. I have done this by showing that the couple is generally happy and affectionate and that the woman supports the segregation of the genders, as seen in the very last sentence. By plunging the readers directly into the story and by providing a ‘twist’ in the story as the readers learn of the truth of this society, I have followed the structure of a short story. This work of fiction uses elements of history to teach of discrimination that women experienced in the past and was thus created for those interested in learning of the treatment women used to and, in underdeveloped countries, still receive.

Kind Regards

Elizabeth

David McIntyre 9 January 2018 - 09:49

Hi Elizabeth,

This seems like a very creative idea, and I dare say the student is quite able. The task is motivated, and there is a sense that the student will try to replicate the short story genre. However - and it is a BIG however - the student is not showing an understanding of the literary work studied. He needs to do this. If he does not, he will not do particularly well in criterion B (although A, C, and D may be largely unaffected). The student should not use his literary study as a catalyst for creative exploration (alone); he must also reveal understanding of Orwell's novel.

I hope this is clear.

David

P.S. I hope to publish a teaching idea connected to Nineteen Eighty-Four on Thursday - you may (or may not!) be interested. :)

Thomas Crieghton 9 January 2018 - 04:05

Hi David/Tim,

I'm writing hoping you can clear up a few questions I have regarding WT2. I have 9 HL students in my class and the majority of them have chosen to write an essay in response to Q2. Is there a problem with this or is there a limit to the amount of students who can tackle the same question? In addition, two of these students have chosen to analyse the same advertisement as part of their WT2. Obviously their essays are completely different in terms of content; however, I am wondering if it acceptable to have two students write an essay on the same text? I have advised them that it is a bad idea- given the fact that the examiner will directly compare the two responses. One more student has decided to write his WT2 on a propaganda cartoon poster created by North Korea in 1989 (with the aim of showing how the poster was interpreted by both North Koreans and South Koreans). The poster has Korean writing on it. Am I right in assuming that the text for a WT2 should be written in English? Although the writing itself does not account for much in terms of the student's response to the question itself, is this a problem?

Apologies for the long list of questions. I'm just trying to make sure I don't mislead my students.I'm looking forward to your response.

Kind Regards,

Thomas

David McIntyre 9 January 2018 - 09:58

Don't apologise for your questions, Thomas.

It is fine if every single student in your cohort responds to the same WT question. It would also be fine if they considered the same text (ad or otherwise) as the basis for their response. This would be unusual, and should probably not be coerced by the teacher, but as long as it was the independent work of individual students, it would not be problematic. Also, examiners do not compare; they use the marking criteria and consider work on its merit. In fact, the work of your students may go to a number of examiners.

You are correct - a N. Korean propaganda poster is not really germane in an English course.

I hope this helps.

David

elizabeth smith 9 January 2018 - 19:17

Hello David

Thank you for your sound advice - as always. I am definitely interested in your teaching idea on 1984.Where will it be posted on your site?

Best Wishes

Elizabeth

Srilakshmi Balakrishnan 10 January 2018 - 10:08

Hi David and Tim

Is it acceptable to base WT 2 on a PLA text that was not studied in the course? The guide says it should be based on a PLT text or something that was studied in class.

Thanks in advance.
Lakshmi

Tim Pruzinsky 10 January 2018 - 23:48

Hi Lakshmi,

It should be something that was studied in the course. So at HL, one of the six texts in Parts 3 and 4 or four texts at SL.

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 11 January 2018 - 20:05

Hello David
I was wondering if you could kindly offer me further guidance with the following
If students have used an image ( not theirs) as part of their magazine article is there an official way of referencing this?

Some of my students have written an online article and I was seeking clarification on what is and is not included in the word count?

Best Wishes

Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 11 January 2018 - 23:53

Hi Elizabeth,

The referencing of the image is a must (any acceptable referencing style is okay), but the reference itself is not included in the word count. Some will footnote, others will use MLA or APA. At a minimum, they must indicate it isn't their own and where they got it from.

Best,
Tim

GIOVANNI TOVAR 12 January 2018 - 16:23

Dear Tim,

It is possible to write wt1 and wt2 for submission; both based on literature? both based on part 3 and 4? or is it mandatory to have 1 based on part 1 or 2?

GIOVANNI TOVAR 12 January 2018 - 19:36

Dear Tim,

To explain in detail my concern. My students chose for their WT1, 1 of the books in part 3 and created their WT1; one of them interviewed one of the characters from his perspective aiming to reveal the death of one of the characters, therefore, changing the plot.

Tim Pruzinsky 13 January 2018 - 03:04

Hi Giovanni,

It is mandatory for students to submit a WT from Part 3 or 4 (Literature) and a WT from Part 1 or 2 (Language). It doesn't matter which one is which, but there must be a balance between the two.

I hope that clarifies things for you in moving forward.

Best,
Tim

Noah Mass 15 January 2018 - 04:49

Hi Tim:

You've answered this one dozens of times, I'm sure--possibly from me at one point, as well--but I need to ask once more. Does the outline for WT2 have any particular word count limit? And does the word-count for the WT2 apply to just the task itself or does the outline get added to it?

--Noah

Tim Pruzinsky 15 January 2018 - 07:35

Hi Noah,

The outline doesn't have a word count, but make sure it's an outline and not such a detailed plan that is is a mini-essay in disguise.

As for the word count of 800-1000 words, it applies to just the actual essay itself and not the outline. And don't worry about asking a question that's been asked before. We're here for that type of support!

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 17 January 2018 - 11:09

Dear Tim

One of my students has written a blog as WT1. Would the use of numbers ( i.e. the dates that blogs contain) included in the word count?

Many Thanks, as always

Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 18 January 2018 - 07:21

Hi Elizabeth,

If it's part of the actual blog - and this sounds like it is - I would count it.

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 17 January 2018 - 12:32

Hello again Tim

I have another quick question.As I understand it students should not comment on the strengths and weaknesses of their Written Tasks in their rationale?

Regards

Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 18 January 2018 - 07:21

Hi Elizabeth,

There's no need for them to do this. They have such little space as is and it's not a requirement.

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 18 January 2018 - 07:30

Hello Tim,

Just writing to say thank you.

Regards

Elizabeth

elizabeth smith 19 January 2018 - 12:15

Hello Tim

I have a cohort of 12 students, do you know how many students will be selected for the sample?

With regards the completed rationales and written tasks as I understand it there must be no names ( including that of the school) just the candidate number?

Kind Regards

Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 21 January 2018 - 12:35

Hi Elizabeth,

I don't know off the top of my head. Your IB Coordinator will know and will let you know who was selected to be moderated. My guess if from 5-10, but again, I don't recall.

As for the WT's, there should be no identifying information on them at all. That also means no candidate numbers. The system "knows" who is who. You can name the pdf or doc files with the names of the students, but nothing on the actual WTs.

Best,
Tim

elizabeth smith 21 January 2018 - 17:31

Dear Tim

Thank you very much for this information.

On a different note,do you know how I can access the Grade boundaries for Paper 1 and 2? I have for example just marked a mock paper 2 and used the marks for each criterion but I am unclear as to how these are converted to a grade.

Best Wishes

Elizabeth

Tim Pruzinsky 22 January 2018 - 07:47

Hi Elizabeth,

You'll have to find the subject reports for that specific year. They will be on My IB (the old OCC).

Best,
Tim

Emily Prager 22 January 2018 - 05:11

Hi,
Can you elaborate on the Outline for WT2? Does it require a thesis statement? is there a form you must use? If the student changes the essay a bit in writing it, are they marked down?
Thanks,
Emily

Tim Pruzinsky 22 January 2018 - 08:08

Hi Emily,

The outline doesn't "require" anything other than the bullet points listed in the guide. It's okay if it deviates a bit and if changes occur. That's not an issue. Finally, students should use the Written Task form from you IB Coordinator (1L&LWT). It will ask for very simple information from them about the task (prescribed question). I recommend you tell them what to fill in for the "programme summary."

Best,
Tim

Nathan Mees 31 January 2018 - 01:51

Tim:

I have student that is wanting to focus a WT2 over a film. This seems like a bit of a stretch on what a "text" is in relation to the course. Should I direct her to a different text (articles or adverts along the same subject line) or let her proceed with the film?

--Nathan

Tim Pruzinsky 31 January 2018 - 02:52

Hi Nathan,

Was the film studied in class or is it just a film they want to analyze? Is there a clear connected to one of the topics you've covered in the course or are they just finding something online that someone else did?

I ask these questions because it matters that the WT2 connect to a topic in the course. It doesn't have to be studied in class, but if there isn't an instant clear connection, something is probably amiss. And while a film is considered a "text" in our course - almost anything meets the definition - it's a slippery slope for some students because not all films are legitimate.

Some documentaries work really well. Many Hollywood films don't. Go with your gut and don't be afraid to tell a student no. I don't know what the film is and what you've studied, so it's hard for me to give more concrete advise. But I almost always say to trust yourself.

Best,
Tim

Tara Bradford 8 February 2018 - 06:19

Hi Tim,

I need some clarification for WT1 for SL.

What I understand is that they need to have three WTs in their portfolio and only one of those gets sent to IB. Those three can be in response to any work from any part of the course-- am I correct in thinking this? Also, What does the exact spread need to be? One from part 1, one from part 2, and one from part 3/4?

Lastly, If I do a literary text for a part 1 topic (language and the individual: T.S. Eliot's 'Prufrock') can a student do a written task on this focusing on the part 1 outcomes of Language in a Cultural Context? Eliot's poetry was not studied in any other part of the course and the poem was brought in purely for the topic of individuality in language.

Thank you!

David McIntyre 8 February 2018 - 09:02

Hi Tara,

Three, written tasks, and each one must relate to a different part of the course. Inevitably, then, one will come from part 1/2 and another from part 3/4, and the student can submit any one of these (i.e. the one that is determined to be best).

Your second question is more complicated. Some poetry could inform parts 1 and 2: Why not? What is literature for? Is literary language different from other kinds of language? However you/the student need to exercise some caution: If the student uses the poem to express something intrinsic or fundamental about language and any part 1 topic option studied, that is probably fine. If, however, the student's written task is intended to show something about the poem and genre of poetry, this is almost certainly not fine.

I hope that clarifies.

David

Jane Hazle 11 February 2018 - 22:40

Hi David and Tim,

I have a student who has written a Part 1 WT1 in response to Richard Rodriguez's Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood. The student has written a series of diary entries as if she is the young Rodriguez, and in the entries, she delves into his feelings as he confronts English as a young boy.

Here's my question. The first entry (quite brief) is written all in Spanish, and then subsequent entries are written using more and more English until the final entry is entirely in English. Is it okay to use Spanish in her written task? Should she include footnotes with translations? I don't think she wants to do that because she is trying to create the feelings within the reader who doesn't know Spanish that Rodriguez felt when encountering English-speakers.

Thank you,

Jane

Tim Pruzinsky 12 February 2018 - 11:24

Hi Jane,

I don't think it's a good idea for her to be writing in Spanish. I understand - completely - her purpose and rationale. Unfortunately, for assessment purposes, this is one of the times where authenticity and assessment for the IB don't match. I wouldn't send this for assessment purposes.

Best,
Tim

Jane Hazle 15 February 2018 - 00:45

Thanks, Tim. In the future, I will caution against this idea since it may come up again if a student wants to consider language and identity as the focus of a Part 1 WT1.
Jane

Jane Hazle 15 February 2018 - 02:10

Tim,

I have another Part 1 WT1 question: If a student writes a blog, should they use a blogging template (like WordPress or Blogger) and then make a PDF of the blog post? Same with brochures--should the student use a 3-column brochure template and borders, etc? If they choose one of these "alternative format" text types for submission to IB, is it acceptable to submit a pdf or will they have to save their blog post (or brochure) in some other way for submission to IB?

On the other hand, I have one student who identified his Part 1 WT1 as a blog post, but wrote it using a conventional Google Doc with 1" margins. Is this acceptable for submission or should he copy and paste his blog post into a blogging template?

I really appreciate the guidance. Thank you,

Jane

Tim Pruzinsky 15 February 2018 - 22:29

Hi Jane,

I like when a blog looks like a blog or a brochure looks like a brochure. I don't think it takes that much time and it just comes out so much more professional looking (and authentic). So yes, I would say use a template in both cases. And in these circumstances - although I think I do it in most if not all - I have students pdf their work. It relieves me of any worries about formatting issues in the IB examining software. I don't think there are any, but I just feel more comfortable in pdf.

And keep the questions coming. We are here to help!

Best,
Tim

Jane Hazle 16 February 2018 - 00:41

Tim,

Thanks again for the helpful information and quick response.

Jane

Rima Moukarzel 18 February 2018 - 13:17

Hello,
Students should not write their names or candidate numbers on the the tasks' cover sheets. Right? What should their cover sheet include then?
Thank you!

Tim Pruzinsky 19 February 2018 - 23:32

Hi Rima,

You are correct: no names, school names, or candidate numbers. In fact, they don't need a cover sheet. If you include one, put the title of the task, if it's WT1 or WT2, the text type, the word count, and so on. But the IB cover sheet does this for you, so it is redundant.

Best,
Tim

Rima Moukarzel 20 February 2018 - 20:08

Thank you a lot, Tim!

Rima Moukarzel 23 February 2018 - 20:22

Hello,
Do the students have to supply their tasks with titles?

Tim Pruzinsky 25 February 2018 - 02:09

Hi Rima,

It depends on the text type. Most articles in newspapers have titles. So too for blogs and op-eds. Diary entries rarely have titles. If the text type has a title - in general - then students should follow that convention.

Best,
Tim

Joy Baranoski 27 February 2018 - 16:43

Hi, I want to make sure about the Form that must be turned in when students submit WTs: Do the students fill everything out, or are teachers responsible for part of it?

Thanks,
Joy

Tim Pruzinsky 27 February 2018 - 23:37

Hi Joy,

At my current school, we fill out the top portion. This is to ensure consistency. We've found that - not surprisingly - students don't always listen to our instructions when we made them do the whole thing themselves.

So, we fill out the what we've studied portion for them (so that it is correct) and then they fill out the rest. It's easy enough to add that info, save it, and send it to them for them to complete, save, and submit back to us. You can do this however you want though as there are no rules about it. Do what works best for you and your department in your context.

Best,
Tim

Swapna Sharma 13 March 2018 - 08:30

Hello Tim
Is there a particular format for the WT1 Rationale? Font face, size, margins etc.
Thanks.
Swapna

Peter Pfister 16 March 2018 - 05:12

Hello Gents,
More and more often my students want to recreate text types that they themselves read and these of course are digital- music forums, Buzzfeed articles, Goodreads - and I heartily endorse this. Two issues on which I would love to hear your thoughts: First, these texts tend to be very visual and so the students like to include pictures and images and avatars to make the texts look authentic. Secondly, the level of discourse on these sites has sunk (along with the culture as a whole) to include expletives and abbreviated expletives (wtf, af). I am wondering about the parameters for both. There are the file size issues coupled with the expectations for citations/bibliographies and then the limits of appropriateness. I have told them to use low resolution images and keep them to a minimum, and then I ask them to replace taboo words with euphemistic symbols and then explain in their rationales that due to the assignment being academic in nature they toned the original TT down. Any thoughts?

David McIntyre 16 March 2018 - 09:12

Hi Peter,

Excellent, intelligent questions...

I encourage students towards authentic, creative replication. This includes image. It is the case, however, that students are not marked on the inclusion of image, even it the artwork is their own, and you are right to suggest that images (too) should be referenced. I can only suggest that you continue to encourage the use of image where apposite, and that they are referenced, but with the understanding that the act of doing so will not attract marks (but, arguably, there is a formative contribution that may develop understandings relevant to other assessment components).

With regard to taboo language, I would suggest that it is used where it is germane to text and context. I think - this is my view - that language study ought to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. Hopefully, kids learn social and linguistic competence too, but I guess this is developed in less formal ways. An examiner may be 'offended' by profane language, but I would suggest that this should not (must not!) impact negatively on a student's work if the language is authentic in context. This said - and you'll know this - kids will sometimes use profanity when, in a sense, it is neither here nor there. In such instances, you cannot of course ask that it is removed from a WT, but you can ask the student what contribution the lexical choice makes to the piece of writing.

I hope this helps,

David

Peter Pfister 20 March 2018 - 01:35

Thank you very much. Always helps to bounce a concern off of seasoned colleagues!

Louise Brooke 25 March 2018 - 18:35

If a student fails to paragraph, are marks deducted from D or from C?

Tim Pruzinsky 26 March 2018 - 00:47

Hi Louise,

Most likely in C. If this is a Written Task 1 though, paragraphing depends on the text type. Op-eds will often have one sentence paragraphs. Blogs can have some long paragraphs. However, if the student doesn't paragraph at all, wow, that's an issue, but it is an of organization and language is assessed separately in D.

Best,
Tim

Kelly Gustin 27 March 2018 - 11:54

Hi Tim,
This is my first year teaching IB Lang&Lit and I have found this site to be enormously helpful. My question is this: What are your thoughts about students creating a series of fake social media posts as written task 1? For example, we just had the Parkland students who marched on Washington to protest a lack of safety due to gun violence, and the march was largely organized across social media. So, in response to a news story about that very phenomenon, could a student create a Facebook post suggesting going to the march with a lengthy "conversation" among followers in the replies to the original post where the commenters demonstrate a series of fallacious appeals promoting their take on the march, the cause, and the students who have organized it?

David McIntyre 27 March 2018 - 13:29

Hi Kelly,

I'm not entirely sure this will work. Here's why:

The text type (a Facebook post + replies) seems fine. However, the WT needs not only to be rooted in a topic option, it also needs to show an understanding of that topic option (and this is assessed in criterion B). Suppose, you have in class worked on the (important) phenomenon we call 'fake news'. This seems entirely apposite. However, the WT you suggest, unless I am not understanding you, does not explicitly show awareness of fake news. At best, there is some kind of implicit understanding of fake news. The student is not, as such, writing about fake news. Rather, she is writing about, in this instance, a march on Washington.

I think, speaking personally, the nature of the WT and criteria that preclude the student from writing the kind of task you describe is unfortunate. However, it is what it is, and my advice would be that you ask the student to choose a task that shows understanding of (here) fake news. Possibly the initial idea can be modified in a way where it is possible to show this kind of understanding, but I am not sure.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

David

Kelly Gustin 27 March 2018 - 15:53

Hi, thank-you for your quick response! Specifically what we have been studying is bias and the use of fallacious appeals. In my example, I would imagine the student would explicitly state in the rationale that they intend to demonstrate specific fallacious appeals (i.e. straw man argument, emotive language, appeal to pity) in the replies to the original post. What we have studied in class are examples of how biased writers often resort to these types of appeals in trying to make their point, and in letters to the editors, comments under news stories, and in posts on social media, we often see people also resort to these types of appeals. Having said all of that, I am not sure if I am responding to your concerns, or if I am missing the point. :)

David McIntyre 28 March 2018 - 09:47

Hi Kelly,

I take your point entirely. And, one might suppose that with a rationale that explains this, it would be adequate. However, it isn't if the content of the WT is not (also) about a topic option. So, to go back to my initial post, fake news is news. Thus, if the student were to write about (for example) fake news (thus showing an understanding of the topic - one that is germane to the course of study) AND demonstrated an awareness of the ways in which biased/fallacious argumentation is linguistically constructed, then the student would, potentially, do better in criterion B. High marks in this criterion are not possible if the subject matter is irrelevant to the course of study. In this way, media bias is a topic option, but marching to Washington isn't.

Does this make sense to you? Let me know, if not.

Kind regards,

David

Kelly Gustin 28 March 2018 - 15:19

It makes perfect sense. Thank you so much!!

David Neill 16 April 2018 - 07:31

Are students allowed to use secondary sources? If so, does it matter what their primary source is in regards to the permission of using secondary sources? The guide states, " Where a complete shorter text is chosen (for example, a newspaper article or an advertisement from a magazine) students may refer to other texts to support their response." Does this imply that it's not allowed for a source like a novel?

Also, would it be allowed to use a source like Schmoop or "Cliff Notes" as long as the student has an original analysis and those sources are only being used for context of composition background information? Thanks in advance for your help!

David McIntyre 16 April 2018 - 09:27

Hi David,

Students may use secondary sources for any WT. Where secondary sources are used (including Schmoop et al.), these must (always) be referenced.

Kind regards,

David

Kavitha Krishna 18 April 2018 - 14:11

Hi there,

I would like to clarify one of my student's Written Task ideas. This student would like to write a column addressing First Nations stereotypes in the movie the Ridiculous 6. The task is certainly connected to our course content. In Part 2 of the course, we explored various stereotypes and misrepresentations of First Nations people in the media. We read articles and blogs and watched a several short video clips.

My question is that we did not specifically watch this movie. Is it okay for a student to respond to a primary text that was not explicitly studied in class. Also, can that text be a movie, or would you suggest that the student tries to find the screenplay. I feel that responding to the actual movie would be more authentic but wanted make sure. Thanks for your help!

Tim Pruzinsky 19 April 2018 - 00:55

Hi Kavitha,

It is absolutely okay for a student to respond to a primary text that was not studied in class (for Parts 1 and 2 of the course). Every teacher has a different "policy" and the IB doesn't clarify this and so know that it is okay if you are comfortable with it.

As for your second question, I think it's okay that the text is a movie. I see this as a standard column that would appear in the Toronto Star, for example, arguing a point about First Nations stereotypes. In other words, it looks like the student is on the right path!

Best,
Tim

Kerri Bundy 26 April 2018 - 14:53

Hi there,
I have a student rewriting the ending of Othello for his WT1. Followng the script text type, he needs to write the name of each character to distinguish who is speaking. Would those names count toward his word count? Thanks so much!

Tim Pruzinsky 27 April 2018 - 01:31

Hi Kerri,

It's part of the text type and is essential to understanding it. I'd count it for those reasons.

Best,
Tim

Kerri Bundy 27 April 2018 - 03:54

Many thanks!


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