Ib World Literature Essay Marking Criteria

External assessment

Assessment criteria are used to assess students for all assessment tasks. The assessment criteria are published in this guide.

For paper 1 there are four criteria.

For paper 2 there are five criteria.

For the written assignment there are five criteria.

The descriptors are related to the assessment objectives established for the language A: literature course. Different assessment criteria are provided for the written papers at SL and at HL. The part 1 written assignment has the same criteria at SL and at HL.

The external components contribute 70% to the final assessment at SL and at HL.

Note: All responses, written and oral, must be in the language A of the examination.

Written examination papers

At SL and at HL there are two examination papers that are set and assessed externally. They are designed to allow students to demonstrate their competencies in relation to the language A: literature assessment objectives and to specific parts of the syllabus. Paper 1 is linked to the skill of literary analysis and paper 2 is linked to the works studied in part 3: literary genres. At HL, paper 1 also requires students to demonstrate their competency in writing a literary commentary.

In both examination papers students are expected to support their answers with specific references to literary texts—in paper 1 with references to the unseen passage, and in paper 2 with references to the works studied in part 3. Retelling of the plot or content of a work or extract is not expected in any component of the assessment.

Written assignment

At SL and at HL students are required to complete an assignment of 1,200–1,500 words, with a reflective statement of 300–400 words, based on a work studied in part 1 of the course and assessed externally. Reflection on an interactive oral is part of the assignment and some of the writing is completed during supervised class time.

If the word limit is exceeded, the assessment of the reflective statement will be based on the first 400 words and the assessment of the essay on the first 1,500 words.

Guidance and authenticity

The written assignment submitted for external assessment at SL and at HL must be the student’s own work. However, it is not the intention that students should decide upon a title or topic and be left to work on the task without any further support from the teacher. It is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that students are familiar with:

  • the requirements of the type of work to be assessed
  • the assessment criteria (students should understand that the work submitted for assessment must address these criteria effectively).

Students should be encouraged to initiate discussions with the teacher in order to obtain advice and information during the initial planning of the written assignment. Students must not be penalized for seeking guidance. However, if a student could not have completed the work without substantial support from the teacher, this should be reported at submission as instructed in the Handbook of procedures for the Diploma Programme.

It is the responsibility of teachers to ensure that all students understand the basic meaning and significance of concepts that relate to academic honesty, especially authenticity and intellectual property. Teachers must ensure that all student work for assessment is prepared according to the requirements and must explain clearly to students that the work must be entirely their own.

As part of the learning process, teachers can give advice to students on a first draft of the task. This advice should be in terms of the way in which the work could be improved, but this first draft must not be annotated or edited by the teacher. After making general comments on the first draft, teachers should not provide any further assistance.

All work submitted to the IB for moderation or assessment must be authenticated by a teacher, and must not include any known instances of suspected or confirmed malpractice. Each student must verify that the work is his or her authentic work and constitutes the final version of this work. Once a student has officially submitted the final version of the work to a teacher (or the Diploma Programme coordinator) for assessment it cannot be retracted.

Authenticity may be checked by discussion with the student on the content of the work, and scrutiny of one or more of the following.

  • The student’s supervised writing from which the topic has been generated
  • The first draft of the written work
  • The references cited
  • The style of writing compared with work known to be that of the student

The requirement for supervising teachers and students to authenticate the work applies to the work of all students. If either the student or the supervising teacher is unable to authenticate the work, the student will not be eligible for a mark in that component and no grade will be awarded. For further details refer to the IB publication Academic honesty and the relevant articles in the General regulations: Diploma Programme.

External assessment details—SL

Paper 1: Guided literary analysis

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Weighting: 20%

Paper 1 contains two previously unseen passages and students are instructed to write a guided literary analysis on one of these passages. A guided literary analysis in this context refers to an interpretation of the passage supported by two guiding questions. One passage will be poetry; the other passage will be taken from works such as:

  • a novel or short story
  • an essay
  • a biography
  • a journalistic piece of writing of literary merit
  • a play.

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.

Two guiding questions are provided—one on understanding and interpretation, and the other on style. Students are required to address both questions in their answer. However, it is anticipated that students may also explore other relevant aspects beyond the guiding questions in order to achieve the higher marks. Attention should be paid to accuracy of expression and coherence of ideas.

The paper is assessed according to the assessment criteria published in this guide. The maximum mark for paper 1 is 20.

Paper 2: Essay

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Weighting: 25%

Paper 2 contains three essay questions for each literary genre represented on the PLA of the language A being examined. Students answer one essay question only.

The essay is written under examination conditions, without access to the studied texts. Each question directs students to explore the ways in which content is delivered through the conventions of the selected genre. Students are required to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between at least two of the works studied in part 3 of the course. The comparison of the works is assessed under criterion B: response to the question (see “External assessment criteria—SL” and “External assessment criteria—HL”).

The paper is assessed according to the assessment criteria published in this guide. The maximum mark for paper 2 is 25.

Written assignment

Weighting 25%

The written assignment is based on a work in translation studied in part 1 of the course. Students produce an analytical essay with reflective statement, undertaken during the course and externally assessed. The goal of the process detailed below is to assist students in producing individual, well-informed essays.

Work submitted

Literary essay 1,200–1,500 words (assessed)

Relevant reflective statement 300–400 words (assessed)

Goal

To produce an analytical, literary essay on a topic generated by the student and developed from one of the pieces of supervised writing

Assessment

A combined mark out of 25 to be awarded for the reflective statement and the literary essay, based on five assessment criteria (A–E)

Process

Four-stage process consisting of both oral and written tasks—see below for more details on each stage

Administration

Copies of all reflective statements and supervised writing to be kept on file

Stage 1: The interactive oral

The interactive oral is a focused class discussion in which all students and the teacher participate. Each student should be responsible for initiating some part of the discussion in at least one of the interactive orals for one work. Students may participate as a group or individually, and teachers may organize the discussion in a variety of different ways.

The discussions should address the following cultural and contextual considerations.

  • In what ways do time and place matter to this work?
  • What was easy to understand and what was difficult in relation to social and cultural context and issues?
  • What connections did you find between issues in the work and your own culture(s) and experience?
  • What aspects of technique are interesting in the work?
Formal requirements

At least one oral must be completed in relation to each work studied in part 1.

The suggested minimum time for discussion of each work is 30 minutes.

Stage 2: The reflective statement

The reflective statement is a short writing exercise and should be completed as soon as possible following the interactive oral. Each student is asked to provide a reflection on each of the interactive orals. The reflective statement on the same work as the student’s final assignment is submitted for assessment.

The reflective statement must be based on the following question.

  • How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?
Formal requirements

Length

300–400 words. If the limit is exceeded, assessment will be based on the first 400 words.

Submission

The reflective statement about the work used in the student’s final assignment (essay) is submitted together with the assignment.

Assessment

The reflective statement is awarded a mark out of 3 using assessment criterion A.

Administration

All reflective statements must be kept on file at the school.

Stage 3: Developing the topic—supervised writing

Supervised writing is intended as a springboard to elicit ideas from the student. From these ideas the student develops a topic and the final essay. The ultimate goal of this stage of the process is to help students to produce good essays with appropriate topics. To this end students are required to respond to each of the works studied in a written exercise undertaken during class time.

For each work studied (two at SL, three at HL) one piece of writing produced during class time is required. The recommended time for each piece of writing is 40–50 minutes and the writing must be in continuous prose. At the end of the lesson the writing must be handed to the teacher and an unedited copy kept on file until the end of the examination session.

Teachers need to provide three or four prompts for each work studied. There must be no opportunity for students to prepare beforehand, so it is essential that students are not given the prompts prior to the lesson.

The aim of the prompts is to encourage independent critical writing and to stimulate thinking about an assignment topic. The prompts may be selected from the list below, from those given in the teacher support material, or teachers may devise their own.

The students will choose one of their pieces of supervised writing and develop that into the essay required for submission. There must be an apparent connection between the supervised writing and the final essay, but students are encouraged to provide their own title and to develop the chosen prompt in an independent direction.

Below are examples of prompts for the supervised writing, showing how that prompt could be applied to a specific work and developed into a suitable essay title.

Prompt

Which minor character plays the most significant role?

Work

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Essay title

Mrs Linde as role model in A Doll’s House

Prompt

Do you think there are some characters in the work whose chief role is to convey cultural values?

Work

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez

Essay title

The Vicario brothers as champions of honour

Prompt

Identify a symbol, motif or strand of imagery (or more than one if you prefer). What role does it play in the work?

Work

Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Essay title

The contrasting roles of ice and snow in Dr Zhivago

Note: Further examples can be found in the teacher support material for the language A: literature course.

Formal requirements

Length

There is no specified length.

Submission

The original piece of supervised writing is not submitted.

Assessment

Supervised writing is not awarded a mark but may be used to authenticate the individuality of a student’s work.

Administration

The task is “open book” and students should have access to the literary works being used for the writing. Annotations are acceptable, but students should not have access to secondary material.

All pieces of supervised writing must be kept on file at the school.

Stage 4: Production of the essay

Each student is required to produce an essay of 1,200–1,500 words in length on a literary aspect of one work. The essay is developed from one of the pieces of supervised writing completed in class, with the guidance of the teacher.

The role of the teacher
  • Provide guidance on the development of the essay topic.
  • Discuss the connections between the supervised writing and the essay.
  • Ensure that the topic is suitable to the length and the focus of the task.
  • Read the first draft of the essay and provide feedback to the student. This may take the form of a conversation and/or a written response on a piece of paper separate from the draft essay.
Completion of the essay for submission by the student

After receiving feedback on the first draft, the student must complete the written assignment without further assistance.

Note: The assignment must be the independent work of the student, and both the student and supervising teacher must authenticate the assignment as such.

Formal requirements

Length

1,200–1,500 words. If the limit is exceeded, assessment will be based on the first 1,500 words.

Submission

The final essay is submitted for assessment along with the relevant reflective statement. The essay should be a well-presented, formal piece of work.

Assessment

The final essay is awarded a mark out of 22 using assessment criteria B, C, D and E.

Administration

The relevant reflective statement must be submitted with the final essay.

External assessment details: School-supported self-taught students—SL

All assessment tasks for self-taught students are externally assessed.

Paper 1 and paper 2 are the same as for taught students. The weightings for each component, as well as the assessment criteria and the marks awarded, are also the same as for taught students.

The alternative oral examination is assessed externally.

Written assignment

The assessment criteria and the marks awarded are the same as for taught students (see “External assessment criteria—SL”).

Stage 1: Journal writing

In place of the interactive oral undertaken by taught students, school-supported self-taught students are required to keep a literary journal in which, for both the works in translation studied in part 1 of the course, they write their personal response to the following questions.

  • In what ways do time and place matter to this work?
  • What was easy to understand and what was difficult in relation to social and cultural context and issues?
  • What connections did you find between issues in the work and your own culture(s) and experience?
  • What aspects of technique are interesting in the work?
Stage 2: The reflective statement

Having decided on which work their assignment will be based, self-taught students are required to write a reflective statement of 300–400 words in length, based on their journal writing for that work. The reflective statement must be in response to the following question.

  • How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through your journal writing?

The reflective statement is awarded a mark out of 3 using criterion A of the assessment criteria for the written assignment. The reflective statement that is sent with the assignment must be on the work used but does not have to be explicitly connected to the topic.

Stage 3: Developing the topic

Self-taught students must choose one of the prompts listed below and apply it to one of the two works studied. Using the prompt as a starting point they should develop an essay title suited to the particular work chosen. Examples of how a prompt can lead to a title are given in the “Written assignment” section of “External assessment details—SL”, and further examples can be found in the teacher support material.

  • What is the impact on the work of a major choice and/or decision made by characters?
  • In what ways are the voices of history and tradition present in the work?
  • Which minor character plays the most significant role?
  • To what extent is the natural landscape important to the impact of this work?
  • Do you think there are some characters in the work whose chief role is to convey cultural values?
  • How does the author convey the sense of time passing in the work?
  • In what ways is the work interested in being realistic?
  • Identify one or more symbol, motif or strand of imagery. What role do they play in the work?
Stage 4: Production of the essay

Each student must produce an essay of 1,200–1,500 words in length on a literary aspect of one work, developed from one of the prompts listed above.

The student must complete the essay on his or her own and submit it for external assessment. When submitted, it must be accompanied by the appropriate reflective statement on each of the works studied.

The final essay is awarded a mark out of 22 using criteria B, C, D and E of the assessment criteria for the written assignment.

Note: The assignment must be the independent work of the student, and the student must authenticate the assignment as such.

Alternative oral examination

The assessment criteria and the marks awarded are the same as for taught students (see “External assessment criteria—SL”).

Section 1: Individual oral commentary

Weighting: 15%

Duration: Preparation 20 minutes; delivery 10 minutes

The individual oral commentary is a literary analysis of an extract taken from one of the works studied in part 2 of the course.

Choice of extract

Self-taught students prepare for section 1 of the alternative oral examination—the individual oral commentary—by using guiding questions supplied by the IB as a basis for choosing extracts from the works studied in part 2. Each extract must be approximately 40 lines in length (or a whole poem or part of a poem that is roughly equivalent to 40 lines). The content must be linked to the question so that, in the oral examination, a close literary analysis can be presented on the extract in response to that question.

Focus and structure

Students should aim to identify and explore all significant aspects of the extract. These include:

  • situating the extract as precisely as possible in the context of the work from which it has been taken (or in the body of work, in the case of poetry)
  • commenting on the effectiveness of the writer’s techniques, including the use of stylistic devices and their effect(s) on the reader.

The commentary should focus on the extract itself, relating it to the whole work where relevant (for example, to establish context). It should not be used as a springboard for a discussion of everything the student knows about the work in question.

A commentary should be sustained and well organized. It should neither be delivered as a series of unconnected points nor take the form of a narration or a line-by-line paraphrase of the passage or poem.

Section 2: Individual oral presentation

Weighting: 15%

Duration: 10 minutes

The individual oral presentation is based on two works studied in part 4 of the course.

Preparation

Prior to the alternative oral examination, the student prepares notes for an oral presentation on two of the three works studied in part 4.

Students may take prepared notes into the examination and these notes are sent to the examiner, along with the recording. The notes must be points only, not the full text of a talk.

Note: Detailed procedures for the school-supported self-taught alternative oral examination can be found in the Handbook of procedures for the Diploma Programme and the additional guidance on self-taught oral procedures on the OCC.

External assessment criteria—SL

Overview

Assessment criteria are used to assess students for all assessment tasks. The assessment criteria are published in this guide. There are different assessment criteria at SL and at HL for paper 1 and paper 2.

The following is an overview of the external assessment criteria at SL.

Paper 1: Guided literary analysis

There are four assessment criteria at SL.

Criterion A

Understanding and interpretation

5 marks

Criterion B

Appreciation of the writer’s choices

5 marks

Criterion C

Organization

5 marks

Criterion D

Language

5 marks

Total

20 marks

Paper 2: Essay

There are five assessment criteria at SL.

Criterion A

Knowledge and understanding

5 marks

Criterion B

Response to the question

5 marks

Criterion C

Appreciation of the literary conventions of the genre

5 marks

Criterion D

Organization and development

5 marks

Criterion E

Language

5 marks

Total

25 marks

Written assignment

There are five assessment criteria at SL.

Criterion A

Fulfilling the requirements of the reflective statement

3 marks

Criterion B

Knowledge and understanding

6 marks

Criterion C

Appreciation of the writer’s choices

6 marks

Criterion D

Organization and development

5 marks

Criterion E

Language

5 marks

Total

25 marks

The following descriptors are for examiner use and for teacher and student information.

Paper 1: Guided literary analysis (SL)

Criterion A: Understanding and interpretation
  • How well does the student’s interpretation reveal understanding of the thought and feeling of the passage?
  • How well are ideas supported by references to the passage?

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

There is very basic understanding of the passage, with mainly irrelevant and/or insignificant interpretation.

2

There is some understanding of the passage but little attempt at interpretation, with few references to the passage.

3

There is adequate understanding of the passage, demonstrated by an interpretation that is mostly supported by references to the passage.

4

There is good understanding of the passage, demonstrated by convincing interpretation that is fully supported by references to the passage.

5

There is very good understanding of the passage, demonstrated by sustained and convincing interpretation that is supported by well-chosen references to the passage.

Criterion B: Appreciation of the writer’s choices
  • To what extent does the analysis show appreciation of how the writer’s choices of language, structure, technique and style shape meaning?

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

There is virtually no reference to the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning.

2

There is some reference to, but no analysis of, the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning.

3

There is adequate reference to, and some analysis and appreciation of, the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning.

4

There is good analysis and appreciation of the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning.

5

There is very good analysis and appreciation of the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning.

Criterion C: Organization
  • How well organized and coherent is the presentation of ideas?

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

Ideas have little organization and virtually no coherence.

2

Ideas have some organization, but coherence is often lacking.

3

Ideas are adequately organized, with some coherence.

4

Ideas are well organized and coherent.

5

Ideas are effectively organized, with very good coherence.

Criterion D: Language
  • How clear, varied and accurate is the language?
  • How appropriate is the choice of register, style and terminology? (“Register” refers, in this context, to the student’s use of elements such as vocabulary, tone, sentence structure and terminology appropriate to the task.)

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

Language is rarely clear and appropriate; there are many errors in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction, and little sense of register and style.

2

Language is sometimes clear and carefully chosen; grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction are fairly accurate, although errors and inconsistencies are apparent; the register and style are to some extent appropriate to the task.

3

Language is clear and carefully chosen, with an adequate degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction despite some lapses; register and style are mostly appropriate to the task.

4

Language is clear and carefully chosen, with a good degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction; register and style are consistently appropriate to the task.

5

Language is very clear, effective, carefully chosen and precise, with a high degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction; register and style are effective and appropriate to the task.

Paper 2: Essay (SL)

Criterion A: Knowledge and understanding
  • How much knowledge and understanding has the student shown of the part 3 works studied in relation to the question answered?

Note: The part 3 works MUST be chosen from the relevant prescribed list of authors (PLA) and be the genre relevant to the question. If not, the maximum mark for this criterion will be reduced to 3.

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

There is little knowledge and no understanding of the part 3 works in relation to the question answered.

2

There is some knowledge but little understanding of the part 3 works in relation to the question answered.

3

There is adequate knowledge and some understanding of the part 3 works in relation to the question answered.

4

There is good knowledge and understanding of the part 3 works in relation to the question answered.

5

There is very good knowledge and understanding of the part 3 works in relation to the question answered.

Criterion B: Response to the question
  • How well has the student understood the specific demands of the question?
  • To what extent has the student responded to these demands?
  • How well have the works been compared and contrasted in relation to the demands of the question?

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

The student shows virtually no awareness of the main implications of the question, and ideas are mostly irrelevant or insignificant. There is no meaningful comparison of the works used in relation to the question.

2

The student shows limited awareness of the main implications of the question, and ideas are sometimes irrelevant or insignificant. There is little meaningful comparison of the works used in relation to the question.

3

The student responds to most of the main implications of the question, with relevant ideas. A comparison is made of the works used in relation to the question, but it may be superficial.

4

The student responds to the main implications of the question, with consistently relevant ideas. An appropriate comparison is made of the works used in relation to the question.

5

The student responds to the main implications and some subtleties of the question, with relevant and carefully explored ideas. An effective comparison is made of the works used in relation to the question.

Criterion C: Appreciation of the literary conventions of the genre
  • To what extent does the student identify and appreciate the use of literary conventions in relation to the question and the works used?

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

Virtually no literary conventions are identified, and there is no development relevant to the question and/or the works used.

2

Examples of literary conventions are sometimes correctly identified, but there is little development relevant to the question and the works used.

3

Examples of literary conventions are mostly correctly identified, and there is some development relevant to the question and the works used.

4

Examples of literary conventions are clearly identified and effectively developed, with relevance to the question and the works used.

5

Examples of literary conventions are clearly identified and effectively developed, with clear relevance to the question and the works used.

Criterion D: Organization and development
  • How well organized, coherent and developed is the presentation of ideas?

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

Ideas have virtually no organization or structure, and coherence and/or development are lacking.

2

Ideas have some organization and structure, but there is very little coherence and/or development.

3

Ideas are adequately organized, with a suitable structure and some attention paid to coherence and development.

4

Ideas are well organized, with a good structure, coherence and development.

5

Ideas are effectively organized, with a very good structure, coherence and development.

Criterion E: Language
  • How clear, varied and accurate is the language?
  • How appropriate is the choice of register, style and terminology? (“Register” refers, in this context, to the student’s use of elements such as vocabulary, tone, sentence structure and terminology appropriate to the task.)

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

Language is rarely clear and appropriate; there are many errors in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction, and little sense of register and style.

2

Language is sometimes clear and carefully chosen; grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction are fairly accurate, although errors and inconsistencies are apparent; the register and style are to some extent appropriate to the task.

3

Language is clear and carefully chosen, with an adequate degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction despite some lapses; register and style are mostly appropriate to the task.

4

Language is clear and carefully chosen, with a good degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction; register and style are consistently appropriate to the task.

5

Language is very clear, effective, carefully chosen and precise, with a high degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction; register and style are effective and appropriate to the task.

Written assignment (SL and HL)

Criterion A: Fulfilling the requirements of the reflective statement
  • To what extent does the student show how his or her understanding of cultural and contextual elements was developed through the interactive oral?

Note: The word limit for the reflective statement is 300–400 words. If the word limit is exceeded, 1 mark will be deducted.

0

The work does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.

1

 
  1. What are you supposed to write about in a world lit essay? I'm doing my essay on antigone but i'm not sure what i'm supposed to write..is it meant to be an argument or..? please help, our teacher hasn't explained anything to us..

  2. Hi, found an example for you:
    http://www.slideshare.net/EmmanuelCa...terature-essay

    Generally you tend to choose a theme within the book that you can base a question on.
    I believe mine was "How have the authors represented the struggle between freedom and imprisonment in ‘The Outsider’ and ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ ?"
    You could however create a statement and say to what extent that statement is true.
    It's not so much an argument as an analysis of an extract(s) of the book(s) with respect to your question. By this I mean you must pick one or more extracts and pick apart phrases within them, discussing the significance of the words the author has used and to what effect. Mention lots of literary features e.g. pathetic fallacy, irony, foreshadowing, personification etc. where relevant and correct. These are like buzzwords for whoever will be marking your paper, it shows you understand what literary features are, an important aspect of the course.
    E.g. 'the author uses the weather to convey a sense of confinement because the sun is used to highlight the barbed wire and prison bars...' (that's just a quick example, you need to quote and be specific, don't ever be vague).
    If you are struggling to come up with a question write down all of the central issues and themes within your book and see if that gives you some inspiration, for example, a common theme between the two books I studied was imprisonment and that's how I came up with my question.
    I hope this helps and isn't too confusing

  3. Please help me also. I need to write my World Lit on either " A Christmas Carol" or "Tamas".

    I am not sure of what to write or how to go about the essay.

    Please help me.!

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