Spanish A level

A-level Spanish aims to consolidate and further extend the skills already taught at GCSE and to introduce Spanish literature and Spanish films, making this a very varied and interesting course.

We are following the new WJEC specification and scheme of assessment in Year 12 which was introduced in September 2016. Much of the course topic content is similar to the old syllabus but the cultural element has now re-appeared. The AS examination at the end of the first year will now be worth 40% and the A2 examination 60%, instead of 50% for AS and 50% for A2. The information below relates to the new course.

Entry Requirements

A good grounding in Spanish is essential – preferably an A*, A or B at GCSE. Spanish can be combined with any other subjects, both Arts and Sciences as it is a useful tool to have in whichever field you wish to enter. Universities look favourably on potential students who have studied a language as they feel it shows an open mind and a willingness to embrace other cultures.

Course Content

The specification we follow is the WJEC Syllabus. All students will be entered for the AS examination at the end of the first year.

AS level (one year) and Year 1 A-level content:

1 Social Issues and trends –Being a young person in Spanish-speaking society
• Family structures, traditional values, friendships/relationships
• Youth trends, issues and personal identity
• Educational and employment opportunities

2 Understanding the Spanish-speaking world
• Regional culture and heritage in Spain, Spanish-speaking countries and communities
• Spain and Latin American countries in a European context
• Literature, art, film and music in the Spanish-speaking world

Year 2 A-level content:
1 Social Issues and trends – Diversity and difference
• Migration and integration
• Cultural identity and marginalisation
• Cultural enrichment and celebrating difference
• Discrimination and diversity

2 Political intellectual and artistic culture – the two Spains:1936 onwards
• El franquismo – origins, development and consequences
• Post-Civil War Spain – historical and political repercussions
• The Spanish Civil War and the transition to democracy (represented in the arts, cinema, literature and photography)
• Spain – coming to terms with the past?

Practical Assessment:

There will be no internal assessment that leads to marks that contribute towards the AS or A-level grades.

Assessment

AS Spanish examination (after 1 year of study):

Unit 1: Speaking
Non-exam assessment: 12-15 minutes (plus additional 15 minutes preparation time) 12% of qualification 48 marks (visiting examiner).
Task 1: Arguing a point of view based on a written stimulus card (5-6 minutes).
Task 2: Discussion based on a second written stimulus card (7-9 minutes).
Learners are not permitted to use dictionaries in any part of the assessment.

Unit 2: Listening, reading, translation and critical response in writing: Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes 28% of qualification 84 marks.
Section A: Listening.
Section B: Reading.
Section C: Translation – from Spanish into English/Welsh.
Section D: Critical response in writing.
Learners are not permitted to use dictionaries in any part of the assessment.

A-level Spanish examination (after 2 years of study):

A Level (the above plus a further 3 units).
Unit 3: Speaking.
Non-exam assessment: 11-12 minutes18% of qualification 72 marks (visiting examiner)
Independent research project.
(a) Presentation of independent research project (2 minutes).
(b) Discussion on the content of the independent research project (9-10 minutes).
Learners are not permitted to use dictionaries in any part of the assessment.

Unit 4: Listening, reading and translation.
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes 30% of qualification 100 marks.
Section A: Listening.
Section B: Reading.
Section C: Translation – from English/Welsh into Spanish.
Learners are not permitted to use dictionaries in any part of the assessment.

Unit 5: Critical and analytical response in writing (closed-book).
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes 12% of qualification 40 marks.
One essay question–based on the study of one literary work taken from the prescribed list.
Learners are not permitted to use dictionaries or texts in any part of the assessment.

Where does it lead?

Students who wish to study languages at university have a wide variety of options such as BA Honours, Joint Language Honours or the possibility of combining MFL with either Art studies, Business, Marketing, Law, International Politics, Technology, Philosophy, Linguistics or Media. Some universities offer the opportunity to study at an Erasmus partner university. A high percentage of recent students at St Michael’s have studied Spanish alongside Science subjects at A level and have then, during their medical courses in university, been better equipped to choose electives based in Spanish speaking countries. The list of opportunities is very varied and reflects the fact that Spanish is a valued A-level which is well received in all areas of work.

Reading List

• Sigue AS – John Connor and David Mort
• Sigue A2 – John Connor and David Mort
• Ponte al dia – Mike Thacker, Monica Morcillo Laiz and Fernando Perez Cos
• A Spanish Learning Grammar – Pilar Munoz and Mike Thacker
• Accion Gramatica – Phil Turk and Mike Zollo
• El otro arbol de Guernica – Luis de Castresana
• Ghosts of Spain – Giles Tremlett

Useful websites:

There are many, the following is a short selection:
www.spanishrevision.co.uk/a_level/index.html
www.bowdoin.edu/~eyepes/newgr/ats
www.trinity.edu/mstroud/grammar
www.elmundo.es
www.elpais.es
www.yahoo.es

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