Pupils study the WJEC GCSE English Language and WJEC GCSE English Literature specifications at Key Stage four.
The GCSE specification for English Language aims to address recommendation 18 of the final report of the Review of Qualifications for 14 to 19-year olds in Wales (Welsh Government, 2012). Pupils develop their literacy skills, build explicitly on the levels of literacy that are developed in Key Stage 3 and a greater emphasis is placed on the quality and accuracy of writing and on core writing skills such as spelling, punctuation and grammar than in previous specifications. The qualification is assessed predominantly through externally marked assessments that are consistent across Wales. The questions and tasks on the exam papers are designed to enable candidates to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do.
The GCSE specification in English Literature is based on the conviction that the study of literature should centre on an informed personal response and a critical understanding of a range of texts in the genres of prose, poetry, and drama.
The English Language qualification is made up of two equally weighted externally assessed units, and one internally assessed unit. The two externally assessed units test reading and writing skills, whilst the internally assessed unit tests oracy skills. Varied question types and clear rubric will aim to make this un-tiered assessment accessible to learners of different abilities. A key aim of this specification is to encourage candidates to produce high-quality texts in their writing responses. To help learners achieve this, WJEC’s assessment materials will ensure that high-quality writing will be studied as part of the Reading assessment which may be beneficial to learners as a model for their own Writing.
The English Literature qualification is made up of two externally assessed units, and one internally assessed unit. The two externally assessed units test learners’ knowledge and understanding of a novel from different cultures, “Of Mice and Men”, contemporary unseen poetry, a literary heritage text, “An Inspector Calls” and a contemporary novel, “Heroes”. The internally assessed unit tests learners’ knowledge and understanding of a play by Shakespeare and Welsh writing in English via the completion of two essays.