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Tony Hitch and Jo Bickerstaff- Dec 2020

Essential English 2021 Common Internal Assessment

Hello fellow Essential English teachers

Earlier this week we received news from the QCAA that the topics for the 2021 Common Internal Assessment are:
1. the influence of social media
2. the role of the media.

The QCAA has provided definitions for both 'social media' and 'the media'. These will need to be your touchstones as you work with your students throughout Unit 3.

It is very interesting to note the distinction between these two topics which comes through the consideration of the term 'influence' with 'social media' whereas 'role' is attached to 'the media'. While 'role' is a term that is typically considered free of any subjectivity, 'influence' invites connotations, be they positive or negative. Which of these connotations did you initially make?

Our experiences with the 2020 CIA tell us that students will benefit from having some familiarity with the topics they will encounter. MacMillan Essential English QCE Units 3 and 4 provides a number of opportunities for students to do this. Specifically, this resource deals with:

-how the media has evolved over time
-the manipulation of the media during elections
-misinformation in the media and fake news
-bias in the media
-how social media is used to promote activism
-meme theory
-understanding web design and how people read web pages
-the influence of YouTube

Knowledge of these topics, however, is not what students are assessed on for the CIA. Our syllabus tell us that the assessment objectives for this task are:

3. explain representations of identities, places, events and concepts in response to stimulus
4. explain the ways cultural assumptions, attitudes, values and beliefs about community, local
or global issues underpin texts and influence meaning
5. explain how language features and text structures shape perspectives on community, local or
global issues in media texts and invite particular responses
6. select and use subject matter to support perspectives in response to stimulus texts
9. use language features to inform audiences

MacMillan Essential English QCE Units 3 and 4 provides a number of ways to support students to engage with these objectives as they prepare to respond to the various types of stimulus (visual and non-visual) they will encounter in the CIA. In Particular, they will benefit from examining how:

 -representations can be constructed both consciously and subconsciously
 -colours can be used to explain images
 -a framework can be used to unpack and interrogate stimulus, with students taking on the roles of   -text navigator, text interpreter, text interrogator and text investigator
 -context is significant when examining texts

Best of luck as you work with your students to prepare them for not only the CIA but the other assessment tasks in Units 3 and 4.

Tony and Jo