The 'A' level specification is built on a central organising principle: that the exploration of reading processes can be an interesting and enriching way to approach literary texts. Within this central idea, Literature is seen as consisting of possible groups of texts which can be categorised and whose meaning can be negotiated in many different ways. In AS the focus is on comparing the ways in which stories are told and thereby construct different realities.
Students are likely to be studying the following:
- 'Othello' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' – coursework
- 'The Great Gatsby', 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time', Hardy poems, Auden poems – examination texts
At A2 this foundation is extended in two main ways: by looking in more detail at the way texts reproduce cultural meanings; and by considering the ways in which texts can be subjected to different types of critical approach, yielding different and potentially challenging interpretations.
Progression from AS and A2 can be seen as follows.
At AS students will:
- Pay close attention to how narrative works in texts
- Make connections across texts through exploring their narratives
- Be introduced to notions of genre through the study of drama
At A2 students will, as part of the potential for stretch and challenge:
- Broaden their understanding of genre and categorisation
- Extend their independent reading
- Extend their awareness of critical methods and readings
This specification offers the following for candidates and their teachers:
- Accessibility to the full ability range within AS/A2
- Continuity from the previous specification of English Literature , allied to exciting new ways of looking at texts
- Clear development from AS to A2 and clear connections between AS and A2
- Particular focus on genre in a number of different senses of the word
- Particular focus on meanings in texts and how they are made
- Particular focus on different interpretations of texts
- Flexibility in means of assessment through examination and coursework
- A varied and interesting selection of set texts, aimed to suit varied circumstances in the range of centres
- Flexibility in the ways of teaching texts
- Transparent ways of examining the reading of texts
- A full preparation for further study of the subject
- A pre-released anthology of accessible critical reading counting as one text
- An AQA published poetry anthology accompanying the specification to cover some of the text requirements
At 'A' Level English Language, students are introduced to the study of language and are taught a linguistic framework with which to analyse texts. Students also explore the social contexts of language, including language and power, language and gender and language and technology. Coursework at AS gives students an opportunity to develop their own writing skills as they produce two original pieces of writing.
At A2, the knowledge and skills of AS are built on and students explore the changing face and history of the English language and child language acquisition.
They then have the opportunity to pursue a linguistic project where they investigate an area of personal interest and write an informative media text.