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Ib World Lit Essay Rubric

Before you sit the final Paper 2 exam, you will want to have practiced writing and assessing essays in class, using the IB assessment criteria. Self assessment, peer assessment and teacher assessment are good ways to prepare for the final exam, which will be assessed by an external examiner. If you know what examiners are looking for, you can write more effectively.

The overview of the assessment criteria have been slightly reworded from the original descriptors, which we recommend you read in the official Language A: Language and Literature guide. As you read the official descriptors, you will notice a difference between the Standard Level and Higher Level criteria. For example, whereas HL students must have an 'excellent' understanding of the texts to earn full marks for criterion A, a SL student can have a 'very good' understanding of the texts to ear full marks for criterion A. This difference in descriptors applies to all forms of external assessment. For internal assessment, descriptors all read the same. 

Remember: Paper 2 is based on the Part 3 works. In this exam you must respond to one of six essay questions with regards to at least two literary works. For SL students, this means that all Part 3 works must be examined. For HL students, the third work may also be used.

Paper 2 - Essay

Criterion A - Knowledge and understanding - 5 marks
The essay demonstrates an understanding of the works and knowledge of the contexts in which they were written. The student shows how context affects interpretations of the texts.

Criterion B - Response to the question - 5 marks
A Paper 2 essay should focus on the question chosen. The implications of the exam question need to be explored in depth, and the student's response must be relevant to it.

Criterion C - Understanding of the use and effects of stylistic features - 5 marks
In the Paper 2 exam, a connection needs to be made between the author's use of stylistic features and the effect of them on his or her audience. As Paper 2 questions invite students to explore how meaning is shaped by context, answers will have to explain why authors choose for a certain genre, narrative technique or structure.

Criterion D - Organization and development- 5 marks
The essay must develop an answer to the question coherently and effectively. Topic sentences should guide the ideas of paragraphs. Illustrations should be integrated well and explanations should shed light on the subject matter.

Criterion E - Language - 5 marks
The language of the Paper 2 exam should be effective and accurate. The choice of vocabulary and use of grammar should be consistent and appropriate.

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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