Structure of English

Structure of English


In Unit 1 students explore how meaning is communicated through the relationships between language, text, purpose, context and audience. This includes how language and texts are shaped by their purpose, the audiences for whom they are intended and the contexts in which they are created and received. Through responding to and creating texts, students consider how language, structure and conventions operate in a variety of imaginative, interpretive and persuasive texts. Study in this unit focuses on the similarities and differences between texts and how visual elements combine with spoken and written elements to create meaning. Students develop an understanding of stylistic features and apply skills of analysis and creativity. They are able to respond to texts in a variety of ways, creating their own texts and reflecting on their own learning.

In Unit 2, students analyse the representation of ideas, attitudes and voices in texts to consider how texts represent the world and human experience. Analysis of how language and structural choices shape perspectives in and for a range of contexts is central to this unit. By responding to and creating texts in different modes and mediums, students consider the interplay of imaginative, interpretive and persuasive elements in a range of texts and present their own analyses. Students examine the effect of stylistic choices and the ways in which these choices position audiences for particular purposes, revealing attitudes, values and perspectives. Through the creation of their own texts, students are encouraged to reflect on their language choices and consider why they have represented ideas in particular ways.

In Unit 3, students explore representations of themes, ideas and concepts through a comparison of texts. They analyse and compare the relationships between language, genre and context, comparing texts within and/or across different genres and modes. Students recognise and analyse the conventions of genre in literary and non-literary texts and consider how those conventions may assist interpretation and how they may be challenged. Students compare and evaluate the effect of different mediums on the structure of texts and how audiences respond to them. Understanding of these concepts is demonstrated through the creation of imaginative, interpretive and analytical responses.

In Unit 4, students examine different interpretations and perspectives to develop further their knowledge and analysis of purpose and style. They challenge perspectives, values and attitudes in literary and non-literary texts, developing and testing their own interpretations though debate and argument. Through close study of individual texts, students explore relationships between content and structure, voice and perspective and the text and its context. This provides the opportunity for students to extend their experience of language and of texts and explore their ideas through their own reading and viewing. Students demonstrate understanding of the texts studied through creation of imaginative, interpretive and analytical responses.

Organisation of content

Content descriptions in each unit in English are grouped under an organising framework that presents key aspects of learning that underpin each subject. Organisers vary between subjects according to the distinctive focus of each subject. The organising framework in English is:

  • Texts in contexts
  • Language and textual analysis
  • Engaging and responding
  • Creating texts
  • Reflecting.

Organisation of achievement standards

The achievement standards have been organised under two dimensions that underpin key aspects of responding to or creating texts. This structure applies to all subjects in senior secondary English.

Dimension 1 Responding to oral, written and multimodal texts
Dimension 2 Creating oral, written and multimodal texts

Senior secondary achievement standards have been written for each Australian Curriculum senior secondary subject. The achievement standards provide an indication of typical performance at five different levels (corresponding to grades A to E) following the completion of study of senior secondary Australian Curriculum content for a pair of units. They are broad statements of understanding and skills that are best read and understood in conjunction with the relevant unit content. They are structured to reflect key dimensions of the content of the relevant learning area. They will be eventually accompanied by illustrative and annotated samples of student work/ performance/ responses.

The achievement standards will be refined empirically through an analysis of samples of student work and responses to assessment tasks: they cannot be maintained a priori without reference to actual student performance. Inferences can be drawn about the quality of student learning on the basis of observable differences in the extent, complexity, sophistication and generality of the understanding and skills typically demonstrated by students in response to well-designed assessment activities and tasks.

In the short term, achievement standards will inform assessment processes used by curriculum, assessment and certifying authorities for course offerings based on senior secondary Australian Curriculum content.

ACARA has made reference to a common syntax (as a guide, not a rule) in constructing the achievement standards across the learning areas. The common syntax that has guided development is as follows:

  1. Given a specified context (as described in the curriculum content)
  2. With a defined level of consistency/accuracy (the assumption that each level describes what the student does well, competently, independently, consistently)
  3. Students perform a specified action (described through a verb)
  4. In relation to what is valued in the curriculum (specified as the object or subject)
  5. With a defined degree of sophistication, difficulty, complexity (described as an indication of quality)

Terms such as ‘analyse’ and ‘describe’ have been used to specify particular action but these can have everyday meanings that are quite general. ACARA has therefore associated these terms with specific meanings that are defined in the senior secondary achievement standards glossary and used precisely and consistently across subject areas.

The language modes

The processes of listening, speaking, reading, viewing and writing, also known as language modes, are interrelated. Classroom contexts that address particular content descriptions will necessarily draw from more than one of these modes in order to support students’ effective learning. To acknowledge these interrelationships, content descriptions incorporate the processes of listening, speaking, reading, viewing and writing in an integrated and interdependent way.