IB@Nesbru vgs

Satelite site for the IB Diploma programme at Nesbru videregående skole

Language A: literature (English, Norwegian)

Prior learning

There are no formal requirements for students undertaking the group 1 courses. The languages studied in group 1 are normally the students’ best languages. Each course offers the opportunity for continued language development and the acquisition of a range of skills including, for example, textual analysis and the expression of literary appreciation. The choice of the specific group 1 course will depend on the students’ interests and the students’ future educational plans.

Nature of the subject

Group 1 courses are designed to support future academic study by developing a high social, aesthetic and cultural literacy, as well as effective communication skills. The study of texts, both literary and non-literary, provides a focus for developing an understanding of how language works to create meanings in a culture, as well as in particular texts.

In the language A: literature course, focus is directed towards developing an understanding of the techniques involved in literary criticism and promoting the ability to form independent literary judgments.

The course is built on the assumption that literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations and experiences of the world. The study of literature can therefore be seen as an exploration of the way it represents the complex pursuits, anxieties, joys and fears to which human beings are exposed in the daily business of living.
It enables an exploration of one of the more enduring fields of human creativity, and provides opportunities for encouraging independent, original, critical and clear thinking. It also promotes respect for the imagination and a perceptive approach to the understanding and interpretation of literary works.

Through the study of a wide range of literature, the language A: literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages, and by considering a range of critical approaches. In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the language A: literature course does not limit the study of works to the products of one culture or the cultures covered by any one language. The study of works in translation is especially important in introducing students, through literature, to other cultural perspectives. The response to the study of literature is through oral and written communication, thus enabling students to develop and refine their command of language.

Difference between SL and HL

The model for language A: literature is the same at SL and HL but there are significant quantitative and qualitative differences between the levels:

  • SL students are required to study 10 works, whereas HL students are required to study 13.
  • Two of the assessment tasks for SL are less demanding than the comparable HL tasks.
In addition, the external assessment criteria for examinations and the internal assessment criteria are clearly differentiated. HL students are expected to show a deeper understanding of content and writers’ techniques than SL students. The requirements for depth of knowledge and understanding, and for demonstrating the skills of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and organization are less demanding at SL than at HL.

Syllabus outline

Part 1: Works in translation

SL students study two works and HL students study three works of translated world literature chosen from titles in the common prescribed literature in translation list (PLT).

Part 2: Detailed study

SL students study two works and HL students study three works from different genres chosen from authors from the prescribed list of authors (PLA) for the language studied.

Part 3: Literary genres

SL students study three works and HL students study four works from the same genre from authors from the prescribed list of authors (PLA) for the language studied.

Part 4: Options

SL and HL students study three works chosen by the school.


Student learning is continuously assessed in the form of class discussions, essays, commentaries and literary analysis, student presentations and bi-annual examinations.

The final assessment from the IB consists of the following components:

The internal assessment component is assessed by subject teacher and moderated externally by the IBO at the end of the course. This component makes up 30% of the final grade and consists of an individual class presentation based on works studied in part 4 and an oral commentary and discussion based on works studied in part 2.

The external assessment component consists of a written assignment and reflective statement based on a work studied in part 1 and two examinations (a literary commentary and an essay) and at the end of the course.

Adapted from the IB Language A: literature guide © International Baccalaureate Organization