Before you conduct a further oral activity, you should become familiar with the corresponding assessment criteria. You can become familiar with the criteria through self-assessment, peer assessment or teacher assessment. You can start using the assessment criteria by assessing the sample oral commentaries in this section of the Subject Site.

Here is an overview of the four criteria used to assess the further oral activity. For a more detailed description, you can consult the official IB English A: Language and Literature guide. There you will notice that the descriptors are exactly the same for Standard and Higher Level students. Differentiation between levels is made by the IB when applying different grade boundaries.

Remember: For each further oral activity a reflective statement must be written. Although reflective statements are not assessed, they will serve as important windows into the planning and performing process. Furthermore these reflective statements must be kept on record within the school.

Further oral activity

Criterion A - Knowledge and understanding of the text(s) and subject matter or extract - 10 marks
The student shows an excellent knowledge of the text(s) or topics. The student understands how the meaning of the text(s) relates to the subject matter.

Criterion B - Understanding of how language is used - 10 marks
The student shows how language is used to create an effect on an audience. There is an understanding and appreciation of how language creates meaning.

Criterion C - Organization - 5 marks
The further oral activity is effectively and coherently structured. There is strong evidence of organization. 

Criterion D - Language - 5 marks
The language used by each student is varied, appropriate and accurate. While the nature of each activity may differ, all activities require a certain register from participants.

Remember: Although you may perform your further oral activity as a group, you will be assessed individually. Be sure that you have spoken long enough to be assessed. Keep in mind that teachers can only assess what they see, and not the process leading up to the performance.

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Comments 26

Rima Moukarzel 18 September 2017 - 20:57

Do students have to deal with seen texts(tackled in class) for their FOA? Can they choose the topic and get texts from outside the syllabus? I have average IB students and I am kind of worried. Which do you think is a safe type of FOA? Is it the PowerPoint presentation?

Tim Pruzinsky 19 September 2017 - 00:51

Hi Rima,

Every teacher does it a bit differently in terms of text selection. Some teachers want students to deal with a similar text type (an ad, let's say), but one they haven't studied in class. Others are much more open and just want students to work with something in Part 2 of the course, for example.

As for the style, I really leave it up to the students. I am a fan of creatively engaging the class, but that's a personal preference. Every single teacher likes something different. The key is not to focus on what we like, but to give them an opportunity to succeed and show their knowledge/analysis. Play to their strengths so they can shine.

However, if this is your first time going through it, I would advise you to set it up in a way that makes you feel most comfortable. That way, it takes the stress and anxiety off of you which will take the added stress and anxiety off of them.


Rima Moukarzel 19 September 2017 - 05:53

So Tim, I don't know if I understood well, my student gets to choose two topics from Part 1 and Part 2 on unseen texts (same text type, though) and the type of presentation he/she is comfortable with (whether oral presentation, debate,etc.)

Tim Pruzinsky 19 September 2017 - 11:20

Hi Rima,

Let me try again since there was some miscommunication. Ignore my previous post. I've put it in number order to make sure I am clearer this time.

1. Students must complete 2 FOAs. One comes from Part 1 and one from Part 2. These happen at different times in the course. You choose of the timing as long as it is before the marks are due to the IB.

2. For their first FOA - for example, in Part 1 - students can do it on texts studied in class or texts of their own choosing that relate to what was studied. There can be one or more texts and one or more different text types. That's up to you to decide. And then for the students to figure out. In this case, it is not unseen. They will have time to prepare, work on it, and so on.

3. The style of the FOA is up to the student(s). It should match the purpose. If they are discussing language and identity, maybe they have a "chat" at an imaginary coffeeshop where they depict two different authors and how they view their identity. Maybe they just do a powerpoint. It's up to you to guide them.

Please do let me know if that is more helpful.


Rima Moukarzel 21 September 2017 - 18:42

Thank you, Tim! It is clear now!
One last question: can they pick literary texts related to the topics in Part 1 and Part 2?

Tim Pruzinsky 22 September 2017 - 00:19

Hi Rima,

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that Part 1 and 2 assessments should be focused on texts that are not literature. That doesn't mean you can't study a poem here or there, but that their WT and FOAs from this section are not based on a whole text studied by the class.


Leigh Henderson 29 October 2017 - 06:01

I am new to DP and trying to mark the FOAs. Only a few of my students have referred to the text that they analysed and most didn't actually mention a specific text but rather spoke generally about the style and language used in certain contexts. For example, one group did a gameshow/role play analysing regional accents and in my opinion it was excellent as they spoke about the historical and social reasons for the differences (showing a very clear understanding). Another group did a chat show about the differing opinions on language change in the digital age but no mention of a particular text. When I look at the rubric both Criteria A & B mention 'the text'. Can you please give me some direction.
Thanks very much

Tim Pruzinsky 30 October 2017 - 07:44

Hi Leigh,

I think students can show knowledge about a topic - in this case regional accents - without a text, as I trust what you saw in their FOA. However, they cannot do well in crtierion B as they need to refer to how language creates meaning. Without a text, I don't know how they do this. I also wonder how they support their ideas/arguments/understanding(s) without evidence from a text.

In other words, they really should be basing their analysis of regional accents or language changes in a digital age in a text or texts so they can talk about how the writer created meaning using detailed examples and references to them to support their overall knowledge and understanding.

I hope that helps to clarify things, but do ask more questions if things are still unclear.


Peter Thompson 1 November 2017 - 14:39

Hi Tim,

Sorry to ask another question. If a student has read some of their FOA from a Powerpoint Slide (despite me explicitly telling them not to do this!) would just one criteria be penalised? I guess it could effect each of A,B,D but I just wondered if there was a precedent for this? Thank you very much for your time on this, Peter

Tim Pruzinsky 1 November 2017 - 23:29

Hi Peter,

You really shouldn't double penalize a student. I understand how this could apply to several criterion, but pick one, be harsh since you were explicit about your expectations in that one, but don't hit him in more than one because of it.

And please do ask as many questions as you want! That's why we're here!


Peter Thompson 2 November 2017 - 09:37

Thanks, Tim. That's helpful

Sangina Khudododova 14 January 2018 - 12:48

Hi, I have a quest, if the student is doing his/her FOA on a video clip, will the video clip length will be also added to the 15 mins of presentation? or it is not considered? Thank you!

Tim Pruzinsky 14 January 2018 - 23:48

Hi Sangina,

Technically, the IB doesn't have a strict time requirement for the FOA. If a short video clip is used, I see it as an integral part of the FOA and would count it toward the overall time. Another teacher might see it differently. I don't think it matters as both of us would be using the same marking criterion to decide if there was enough analysis, for example.

In other words, it's up to you and what works in your situation in this case as the IB hasn't explicitly spelled it out for us.


Sarah Thompson 13 February 2018 - 21:18

Hi Tim,
Could you please tell me how the IBO stand on giving the marks to the students for both the FOA and the IOC? I have heard a variety of reasons why not but would like to know the official stance on this. Thanks

Tim Pruzinsky 13 February 2018 - 21:46

Hi Sarah,

I'm not sure I fully understand. Do you mean letting the students know the score they got? Or do you mean how we give marks? If it's the first, every school I have worked at does something different and you will need to follow school policy here even if we know the IOC will get moderated and scores may (usually) drop.


Mohammed Bhuiya 12 March 2018 - 16:18

Hi Tim/David,
I take it that there are no restrictions on use of notes from lessons or class, like there is with the IOC? Thanks

Tim Pruzinsky 13 March 2018 - 01:12

Hi Mohammed,

The FOA is not as tightly regulated as the IOC. Still, students should not read from a script even if they produce one to help them figure out their content. Think of it instead as a prepared oral activity where the student or students had time and space to prepare accordingly.


Mohammed Bhuiya 15 March 2018 - 08:47

Okay, thanks. Another question about the source text for the FOA. If in class, for example, we analysed a speech of Michelle Obama in detail, is there anything stopping the students doing a presentation on the same topic? That seems too easy as they could reproduce all the teacher-assisted learning on a text covered very recently. Is original analysis a requirement? And if so, should it then be a text perhaps referred to in class but not studied in detail? Kind regards.

Tim Pruzinsky 16 March 2018 - 00:19

Hi Mohammed,

Yes, there is absolutely something that can stop a student from doing something - in an FOA, a WT, or something else: you! Tell them texts studied in depth in class are off limits if that's how you want to run your class and your FOAs. That's perfectly acceptable.


Leslie Fleetwood 16 March 2018 - 12:17

Hi Tim,
just to clarify/elaborate on your answer on 13th March. Is it just to be inferred that students are not to read from a pre-written script or is it stated somewhere by the IB? Secondly, if they should read from a script (which, obviously is less engaging, and questionable regarding the student's true knowledge), where are they to be marked down - language criterion?
Thanks, Leslie

Tim Pruzinsky 17 March 2018 - 01:49

Hi Leslie,

Scripts are a super contentious issue! Some teachers have students write them (me), but not use them in the FOA. Some teachers have students write them and allow them to be used in the FOA. And some teachers are aghast that I've even written the previous two sentences. In other words, there is no clear and definitive guidance from the IB on this one.

If a student did have a script, and you have questions about their knowledge, organization and/or language, you can mark them down in whatever criterion you think fits, including all three. While you don't want to triple penalize a student, you also don't want to award him or her for work that was substandard to a student who did not have a script.


Bairavi Subramoney 30 April 2018 - 09:08

Hi Tim,

I trust that you are well. I just wanted some clarification. I had a student do a speech as an FOA. She took it from the perspective of 'manipulation of language is used to persuade and entertain'. She made some small references to the 3 literary texts we have studied in part 3 of the course while trying to explain how language is used (kind of spoke about the titles and why they were called so) But did not specifically touch upon any thing else from the course in specific. In her speech, she tried to show through her own language usage, how she can persuade audience, but it was vague and not centered on an actual topic in Part 1 or 2 of the course. I am unsure as to how to mark it as i find it difficult to see where her speech specifically met with criteria A and B of the rubric.
How would i then grade her? I know it might be bit hard to say as I dont think my explanation was very clear. But if a student tried to do something creative in an FOA, but did not really touch upon any of the topics in Part 1 or 2 specifically while trying to meet with a specific learning outcome, how would i grade it?

I hope I have made sense in my question. Thanks for your response Tim.

David McIntyre 1 May 2018 - 07:21

Hi Bairavi,

You need to use the marking criteria to assess this (and any) FOA. You cannot be guided by learning outcomes if these are not assessed.

FOAs can be creative, but it sounds like the student's understanding was at best implicit. I think for this FOA to have worked better the student would have needed to provide some kind of subsequent meta commentary on what she said. As it is, and on the basis of the detail you provide, I would not be awarding particularly high marks for this FOA.

What you (as the teacher) may have done, in this instance, is to ask subsequent follow up questions to elicit clarification and understanding. I don't see that as problematic.

No harm done. The student will have further opportunity to improve her FOA mark.

Kind regards,


Bairavi Subramoney 12 June 2018 - 12:22

Thanks for your feedback David.
Yes, on further questioning the student she was not really able to answer my questions. And she has not scored a very high mark in this round.
No real harm done though as she has another opportunity.

Chonticha Amkham 2 June 2018 - 21:52

Hi Tim and David,

Not having submitted his proposal for an FOA, one of my students showed up for his FOA presentation with self-written poems and a full analysis of them. His focus was the mechanics of children’s poems. In my opinion, this topic doesn't correspond with parts 1 and 2. Could you please confirm whether my judgement is correct?

Another question, had he chosen poems from a real author to comment on, would that then be permissible for an FOA or would it be regarded as parts 3/4?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Tim Pruzinsky 3 June 2018 - 05:08

Hi Chonticha,

On page 61, the guide says this: "Students are expected to choose their activity in consultation with the teacher and link it to one (or more) specific learning outcome(s)."

This student did not consult with you. If he did, you would have given your opinion and told the student to change his topic. If you think this topic doesn't work - and you have every right to think that - communicate that to the student. You don't need to second guess yourself in this situation.

As for your second question, FOA's must come from Part 1 or 2 of the course.


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