Rubric Changes to the English Advanced: Module B: Critical Study of Texts

So apparently, the rubric for English Advanced Module B: Critical Study of Texts has now changed in 2009.

You can see the English Advanced Paper 2 rubrics here. This is somewhat important for both students and particularly tutors to realise.

The differences are set out below.

Old Rubric
1. Demonstrates understanding of the ideas expressed in the text.
2. Evaluates the text’s reception in different contexts.
3. Organises, develops and expresses ideas using language appropriate to audience and purpose.

New Rubric
1. Demonstrates an informed understanding of ideas expressed in text.
2. Evaluates the text’s language, content and construction.
3. Organises and develops ideas using language appropriate to audience and purpose.

So what does this mean? Well…really, these changes only confused us more!

What I have gathered is that, with the new rubric:

  1. You write about what you think the text is about (which should be informed by knowledge about the context and its various receptions).
  2. You focus more on evaluating the text’s ideas and techniques (rather than how it was received in different contexts).

It is important to consider how this affects the coming HSC questions and how they will be different from past HSC questions, which I have discussed in another post (Speeches).

In that post, I talked about:

As you’ll see, each question falls into a certain “type” of question:

  1. Question about the enduring power of the speeches (remain relevant over time)
  2. Question about relating speeches to particular audiences/contexts
  3. Question about rhetorical (speech) techniques and ideas in the speech

What must generally be covered (no matter what the question is) in your response are:

  • What are the ideas and values expressed in the speech?
  • What techniques (rhetorical and language) are used?
  • How do the above 2 points relate to the speech’s original context, different contexts or continuing context (its continuing value over time).

I’ve struckthrough the parts that are now no longer a focus, because of the changes to the rubric.

Thus, the coming HSC questions (for Module B: Critical Study of Texts – Speeches) are unlikely to be similar to the past 2002 – 2004 HSC questions, or the 1st of Questions used by school (as seen in this post).

26 comments for “Rubric Changes to the English Advanced: Module B: Critical Study of Texts

  1. Fariba
    August 8, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    hi there your notes are really helpful!

    Just one question about the changing of the rubric:
    “Evaluates the text’s language, content and construction” – what is the criteria that we use to evaluate the language, content and structure? Are we looking at its effectiveness in terms of serving its purpose or expressing the ideas in the speech?


    • tutortales
      August 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      Both I believe. You should also evaluate it in terms of how well it stands as a timeless speech.


  2. Sam
    September 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Hi there! Your notes are great! Can you put up notes for Gwen Harwood poetry?- as it another critical study text. Thanks!

    • tutortales
      September 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

      Thanks – I have tutored Gwen Harwood for Module B before, so I’ll have a look at what resources I’ve got.


  3. simon maiden
    April 21, 2010 at 8:32 am

    You are right about module B requirements changing.

    However many schools encourage 70% of the essay on how the text might resonate for a contemporary responder;

    another persective; (20%)

    an academic reading (10%).

    Not engraved in stone but possibly encouraged by the use of the rubric “informed understanding.”

    It can be argued that a deeper appreciation and thus a more informed understanding is gained from moving beyond merely one’s own context.

    Thus many schools still encourage more than one perspective, an inherent part of the notion of a critical study.

    You might like to have a look at the module B practice essays and trial exam essays for 2009/2010.

    Kind Regards

    Simon Maiden

  4. josh
    September 13, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    hey there,
    sorry but i am still confused about what exactly we have to include in our essays? i always thought that we only had to talk about the techniques and that their receptions would be optional.
    also, how many speeches do you advise we talk about? my teacher has told us to keep it to only two speeches.
    also, is there a chance that they can ask us on a specific speech?

    • tutortales
      September 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Josh, there is VERY little chance that they would ask about a specific speech. If you have a look at the past HSC questions, I don’t believe they’ve ever done so:
      Your teacher is correct – you should focus on only writing about 2-3 speeches in your essay. The content of your essay should mainly be ideas and techniques. Analysis of critics and reception is not necessary, but you may wish to refer to them. As you see in the 2009 HSC question, the Module is now more about what YOU interpret as the meaning of the speech. So in your essay, you may simply wish to argue your view with reference to techniques. Or you may also wish to argue your view with reference to a critic/reception (which opposes or supports your view).


  5. Jane
    September 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I love this website, I have used it for so many essay questions and resources for Advanced English.

    I was just wondering if you had any access to some essay questions for the W. B. Yeats’ Poetry section for this module.

    Thanks so much!

    – Jane

  6. Jack
    September 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Hi, I’m just a bit confused about how we should go about preparing for this module (I’m studying Speeches). Basically I’ve just written a few very broad paragraphs about how Sadat and Suu Kyi use language and techniques to promote their purpose, and then I just mould that into whatever question they give. What else can I include?
    Could you give me a few tips on some better things I could take into the exam?

  7. josh
    September 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    just a quick question regarding the structure of my speeches essay. my teacher has advised us to structure it like the following;


    do you think this is a smart way to do so? i was more keen on structuring it according to the different ideas and values. what is your advice?

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 10:11 pm

      I would structure it by speech actually – so discuss each speech in a separate paragraph. However, essentially, you should structure it so it makes sense to you. TT

  8. Steph
    October 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I’m abit worried that they’re going to ask us a question about specific speeches because the BOS are so unpredictable. Is it likely to happen because of the changes in the rubric?

    • tutortales
      October 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

      I believe it’s HIGHLY unlikely and they wouldn’t do it, because of the change in rubric. TT

  9. Mark
    October 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Hey, I just wanted to ask how much of our essay should be based on our interpretation as compared to anaylsing another production or film etc?

    • tutortales
      October 14, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      Most of it should be based on your own interpretation. It is not necessary to refer to readings/productions now, I believe – unless you want to and believe it adds to your argument. TT

  10. xander
    October 16, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Hi TT, what does it mean by personal response? Do i say something like “I feel that..” using first person?

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm

      Personal response is your personal interpretation of the text – what you believe it is about, what it means, what it is arguing. You don’t have to use 1st person (personally, I never write essays in 1st person). TT

  11. winner
    November 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    concerning context – how do we integrate that into our essays. do we actually analyse and talk about the context’s significance etc.
    or just mention it briefly to help aid our discussion of whatever concepts etc
    or something else?

  12. skay
    November 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Hi TT. I was wondering if you ever found anything on Gwen Harwood Poetry? Many thanks.

  13. pat williams
    November 28, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Hi TT,
    I have to make a speech on In the Skin of a Lion that demonstrates my understanding of the novel. “Choose a passage(1-2 lines) and discuss how this passage relates to your personal interpretation of the text. Your discussion may include comment on: Charactures, ideas, structure, language features, context, values, textual integrity, significance.” What I’m not sure about is do I have to mention other readings like Marxist, post colonial and what about other critics views?
    Thank you

    • tutortales
      November 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

      You don’t have to – but you may if you want to use it to contrast or support your personal interpretation. Those readings may also help you to develop your understanding of the text. TT

  14. Hamish
    July 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

    For the now revised module…can you get away with preprepared essays in most instances…or do questions tend to target certain themes. ie. i have studied keating and pearson inside and out…is that a bad idea?

  15. September 1, 2012 at 5:25 am

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