1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

AQA AS English Language Paper 2

Discussion in 'English' started by 97ds1, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. 97ds1

    97ds1 New commenter


    Was anyone else surprised with the English Language Paper 2: Language and Diversity? My students left the exam feeling shocked and traumatised as it wasn't what they, or we, were expecting. With AQA only releasing one sample paper, we thought that the format would be similar to the sample paper but the first two questions (the analytical questions) were on social groups and accents and dialects rather than being on gender and occupation like we had previously thought.

    I warned my students that this may well be the case as we haven't had enough guidance from the exam board and they were comfortable with the content of the course but the format of the questions completely threw them, especially the first question about social groups - they were confused as the piece was clearly a gender piece and the last question on the paper was about gender.

    Has anyone encountered this? I just wanted to be able to reassure my students that other people may have found this difficult as well - also I need to be sure that I've not misunderstood and taught them the wrong thing.

    Does anyone know why AQA have only released one sample paper? It's not enough when teaching a new spec! They've released loads for the new KS4 and that's not even examined until next year!

    Many thanks
  2. musicaljim

    musicaljim New commenter


    Question 1 was a bit of a shock. The data given wasn't what we'd expected, but question 2 was fine so not too worried there. Having said that, our students definitely found paper 2 more difficult than 1, which was exactly what we'd expected it to be.

    I do think you've raised an important point here in that AQA have been promising more papers and student responses all year, but to no avail. I've been in touch with them numerous times to ask when we'd expect them, but all they've said is that they have no plans to release them yet, despite the statement here: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/as-and-a-level/exclusive-as-and-a-level-english-resources

    They have said that more sample responses will be "coming soon" for nearly a year now. Feel utterly unsupported by AQA...

    97ds1 likes this.
  3. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    I agree that Paper 2 is definitely the more challenging of the two and that the amount of sample material and answers provided by AQA has been woeful.

    I was quite relieved that I had taught everything on the paper! I do agree that the data for Question 1 was quite gender-focused, but assume gender is considered a social group, so anything the students write should be credited (I think the assessment is a bit more holistic than we sometimes naturally believe).

    Section 3.2.1 of the specification does state everything that could come up in Paper 2, but I fully agree that only having one specimen paper could lead to teachers/students coming to incorrect conclusions about which topics could come up in which sections.
  4. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    We don't teach for the AS and only do full A level but the breadth of stuff for our paper 2 is massive and it's hard covering it all, I agree. I think the skill is them applying what they know in a variety of contexts - at A level they don't even get data. We are beginning to get them to think about all the topic areas more synoptically and it is starting to work with them making the links themselves in lessons.

    We'd possibly like to use the questions (possibly without the data) from AS paper 2 for end of Y12 mock exams given that the spec papers are on the public site so not secure! Would anyone mind typing in the questions so I can look at them as the paper isn't up on eAQA yet?

  5. Rosadoodle

    Rosadoodle New commenter


    I felt exactly the same as you, PianoPete. Section A was a big shock. I was expecting a very similar question to the sample one e.g on a specific topic such as ethnicity. My students really struggled, most of the brighter ones went with the accent and dialect one, which they were prepared for, but some went for the other one! I dread the results...

    I was also surprised by the data given. I was expecting two different kinds of data seeing as the sample one was a chart and a transcript.

    I feel really let down by AQA to be honest. We did the online training event and it was a waste of time. I also paid about 30 quid for the Cambridge text book (which has been some use) and there's all these references to 'online content' but god knows how you get the content!
  6. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    Rosadoodle - if you have the Cambridge book and have paid for the online content you should have a logon for something called Cambridge Elevate. It's great - lots of links to wider reading mentioned in the textbook along with lots of sample answers/responses to the tasks in the book. We love the Cambridge textbook - it's virtually our course manual!
  7. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    The question was never going to be on ethnicity, as that is an A Level-only topic.
  8. Rosadoodle

    Rosadoodle New commenter

    I've got the Cambridge book, I bought it myself off Amazon. I don't know if I've paid for the online content though! How did you get your logon?
  9. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    Cambridge just sent it to me, but then I bought directly from them. I think you can buy the online only from Cambridge. Also, have you downloaded the free pdf teacher guide that goes with that textbook? Again that is on the Cambridge site - really useful for me in planning lessons this year. There is a link at the bottom of this page: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/educati...aqa-student-book?isbn=9781107465626&format=PB
  10. Rosadoodle

    Rosadoodle New commenter

    That's great, thank you! I've downloaded them now.
  11. Oenonejones

    Oenonejones New commenter

    Yes I was surprised and shocked by it. I did assume each of the three topics would have a question. ie One on occupation, one on social group and one on gender. Like you that was what I thought the specimen paper suggested would be the pattern (especially as that was the way it was on the old paper). I also agree that the data for the first question on gender was very badly chosen given that it had nothing in it to comment on genderlect - and very little in the way of representation.

    As the compulsory question (question 2) was also on gender (as was paper 1) it made the whole assessment very heavily skewed towards language and gender.
    My students were fairly well-prepared for the accent and dialect question so I hope they did that one. I'm not a big fan of the description language and social group - I wish it was just called language and class, which is what I mostly taught and then had a sudden panic trying to decide what other social group it could be referring to (I'm pretty certain its not ethnicity til the second year).

    Anyway I think most lecturers and students will be in the same boat when it comes to the mismatch between what they expected on this paper and what they got.
  12. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    I agree "social group" is a broad question but I think that opens it up for students to write about what they know. We actually hadn't done much on "class" and looked at things like teenspeak, communities of practice, social network theory, which hopefully worked well for this question, although I agree the text did skew towards gender, but I think the age of the girls reading the magazine is relevant too. A very interesting one.

Share This Page