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English (Extension 2) Major Work Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

  1. How can the English Extension 2 teacher best advise students on whether their proposed Major Work meets syllabus requirements?

    The three required assessment tasks are:

    • the Viva Voce (addressing the proposal)
    • the Report
    • the Draft Major Work.

    The weighting for each is detailed in Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (p 7). In constructing the requirements and criteria for each task, there should be a direct relationship with the course outcomes that the task is addressing. Marking guidelines, which relate to the course outcomes, should be developed for each task. The English Extension 2 Support Document and Notes from the Marking Centre are important reference documents for students and teachers. Further, the English Extension 2 Major Work may not be submitted for assessment or examination in any other HSC course. For details regarding the parameters for each of the forms of Major Works, refer to Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (pp 11–17).

  2. Do Major Works need to observe word and time limits?

    The word limits and running/performance times are mandated in Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014). Students must adhere to these word limits. Major Works that fall outside these specifications demonstrate a lack of effective control of form for purpose and audience as described in the English Extension 2 marking guidelines. Word limits do not include the bibliography, footnotes or appendices. These need to be used judiciously and not as a means of expanding the work. Their use should be justified in the Reflection Statement.

  3. What do the marking guidelines mean by ‘original’? How does a student demonstrate original work?

    Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (p 9) states that the Major Work ‘must be conceived and executed by the student under the supervision of the English teacher’, with its development ‘determined by negotiation between student and teacher’ and ‘formalised in writing’. This means that the Major Work is wholly the student’s own work, requiring the student to develop the concept, undertake an appropriate independent investigation, and complete the drafting of the work.

    ‘Original’ refers to the insights and exploration of form presented in the work – for example, offering a fresh and engaging perspective on a concept or text, which may have been previously explored by other composers, in an appropriate medium for the intended audience and purpose. This is addressed in points one and three in the marking guidelines. Originality is developed through textual integrity. Textual integrity is defined in the Stage 6 English Syllabus as being The unity of a text; its coherent use of form and language to produce an integrated whole in terms of meaning and value (p 100). It is the deliberate, effective and conscious shaping of meaning through compositional choices that seamlessly connect purpose, audience and form. The Major Work should have a clearly defined purpose targeting a specific audience and ongoing investigation into form and concept should underpin its development. This should be documented in the Reflection Statement and be clearly apparent in the Major Work itself.

    ‘Original’ can be demonstrated by the student’s independent investigation as evidenced in the Major Work and documented in the Reflection Statement and Major Work Journal, which documents the process of composition and investigation.

    Sound, visual and digital media have particular requirements concerning the development of original material and the use of other people in their presentations. Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (pp 14–17) provides the requirements for each medium.

    All appropriated or non-original material must be acknowledged. Each medium has specific requirements about the process of acknowledging non-original material and these requirements are outlined in Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (pp 14–17).

    Students are reminded of the principles of All My Own Work, which should guide their approach to research, the development of ideas and the citing of sources.

  4. How does the student demonstrate that the Major Work is an extension of study in English (Advanced) and English Extension courses?

    The syllabus requires that the Major Work be an extension of the knowledge, understanding and skills of the Advanced and Extension courses and be clearly identifiable as a project within the English key learning area. It is critical that students clearly explain the links between the Major Work and the Advanced and Extension courses in the Reflection Statement. The Major Work may be based on the Preliminary and/or HSC patterns of study. As students undertake the HSC coursework for Advanced and Extension 1, the knowledge, understanding and skills may shape the development and direction of the Major Work.

    There is an expectation that students’ knowledge, understanding and skills will continue to be refined over the duration of their study of the HSC English courses and that these will underpin all aspects of the Major Work process and be clearly documented in the Reflection Statement as well as the Major Work Journal.

    As students draw links to the Preliminary and/or HSC courses, they should explain the genesis of their ideas and how these are an extension of their work in English (Advanced) and English Extension. Students should also explain how the skills developed in these courses have been utilised in the composition of their Major Work. In so doing, they should explain the connections between these points and their extensive independent investigation, and the role that each has played in the development of their Major Work.

    Students’ sustained independent investigation, into both form and concept, should go beyond the resources and texts accessed in coursework in order to be a true extension of both courses. This investigation provides the basis for the student’s original approach to the subject matter and form of the Major Work.

  5. Is a bibliography or reference list required?

    A bibliography (a list of sources used in the investigation process) or a reference list (a list of texts cited within the work) should be provided as appropriate to the medium and context of the Major Work and according to the principles of All My Own Work. A bibliography or reference list is not a mandatory course requirement.

  6. How should the bibliography and footnotes be formatted?

    The syllabus does not mandate any particular system of referencing or citation for bibliographies, reference lists, footnotes or endnotes. Care should be taken to be consistent in the application of whatever style is employed. The style should be appropriate and informed by purpose, audience, medium and/or the intended point of publication.

  7. How important is the student’s investigation into form?

    The student’s substantial, independent investigation into form is critical to success in English Extension 2 and should be discussed explicitly in the Reflection Statement and evident within the Major Work. The English Extension 2 marking guidelines highlight the importance of this investigation in terms of achieving textual integrity and skilful communication of developed ideas. Digital tools, software, programs and equipment used for editing, construction or manipulation should be discussed in the Reflection Statement. For example, voice-manipulation software that has been employed in speeches or radio drama should be acknowledged and explained in the Reflection Statement in terms of the intended purpose and effect.

  8. Does the Reflection Statement have to be a formal exposition?

    The Reflection Statement is intended to be a personal, critical reflection on the process involved in composing the Major Work. It ‘may be written in either a formal or an informal register’ (Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014), p 11).

  9. What is the purpose of the Major Work Journal? What should be included in the journal?

    All English Extension 2 students are required to keep a Major Work Journal. This process journal documents the student’s ‘ongoing, systematic and rigorous investigation into their chosen area’ (English Stage 6 Syllabus, p 85) and must include ‘a written statement containing a clear statement of the intention agreed to by the student and the teacher/school’ (Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014), p 10). The journal also has a role in establishing the authenticity of the Major Work in that it includes evidence of investigation into a range of aspects of the student’s independent investigation, such as form and concept; critical, imaginative and speculative reflections; drafts and feedback on drafts; annotated bibliographies; copies of assessment tasks; and preparation for these assessment tasks.

    The Major Work Journal provides a strong foundation for students in the completion of all three internal assessments, as well as for the composition of the Reflection Statement. It is also used by teachers to monitor and supervise the development of the Major Work and provide confidence that the work has been conceived and executed by the student. The Major Work Journal must be submitted to the school with the Major Work. Students are reminded to avoid identification of themselves, their school or teachers. Please refer to the English Extension 2 Support Document (pp 9–10) and Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (p 11).

  10. Who looks at the Major Work Journal?

    The journal will be looked at by the supervising teacher throughout the course (see point 11). Markers will only look at the journal if required for verification purposes; in such cases, the BOSTES will contact the school and arrange to collect the journal. The Major Work Journal must be submitted to the supervising teacher with the Major Work by the due date (Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014), p 10). The journal will remain at the school unless required by the BOSTES. As the Major Work Journal ‘will be referenced in the case of appeals being made to the BOSTES’ (Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014), p 9), schools must retain the journals until the end of Term One of the following year.

  11. Who monitors the Major Work Journal?

    The supervising teacher must review students’ journals at least three times at key points during the course for verification purposes. It is advised that the supervising teacher regularly discusses the content of the Journal with the student in order to appropriately support their investigative and compositional processes. It is recommended that these reviews should correspond with the three internal assessment tasks. The ‘journal should be accessible, relevant and accurate in terms of plotting clearly the development of ideas’ (English Extension 2 Support Document, p 9–10).

  12. It is stated in Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2013) (p 9) that the ‘negotiation between student and teacher … will be formalised in writing’. What does this mean?

    Essentially, this documentation signifies that the supervising teacher has given the student approval to explore their chosen concept in the form of their choosing. The documentation should be clearly evident in the Major Work Journal.

    Evidence of this negotiation could take the form of:

    • a copy of the supervising teacher’s feedback on the Viva Voce
    • a mini contract where the student outlines the intention and proposed audience for the Major Work.
  13. Can the student change the concept and/or form of the Major Work during its development? What are the implications for the negotiated agreement between the student and the teacher if the student changes the concept and/or form during the development of the Major Work?

    Yes, changes can be made to concept and/or form during the development of the Major Work. Any changes and/or developments in the Major Work must be documented and explained in the Major Work Journal. These changes must be made in consultation with and endorsed by the supervising teacher at the time. This discussion should be documented and acknowledged when the next of the three compulsory journal checks is made (Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014), pp 9–10).

  14. Does the draft submitted for the final internal assessment task need to be the same as the completed Major Work submitted to the Board of Studies?

    The English Extension 2 Support Document advises that this should be a draft that provides an opportunity for strategic feedback for the student. The final submission of the Major Work will differ from this draft form. Furthermore, the reflection on progress to date should later be ‘developed and adapted’ (p 7) as the basis of the final Reflection Statement.

  15. Are visual images able to be used in a Major Work?

    The use of visual images in the Major Work should be minimal and strategic and needs to contribute to the textual integrity and purpose of the work. However, ‘if these images do not adhere to the specifications of the chosen medium, then the images will not be assessed as part of the work’, as outlined in Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (p 11). Textual integrity is described in the marking guidelines and in question 3 above.

  16. Are types and font sizes able to be varied?

    Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (p 11) states that the Major Work should be presented in Arial or Times New Roman size 12. This ensures that all works are equally accessible and readable. Any variation in the size and/or type of font should only be used to strengthen the overall intention of the Major Work and the rationale for the variation needs to be justified in the Reflection Statement. Such variations should be used strategically and should not be a substitute for the effective use and manipulation of language.

  17. Can a variety of types of texts be used in the Major Work?

    This is acceptable so long as the Major Work complies with the parameters for the form in Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014). Notes from the Marking Centre highlights that, for example, short stories should substantially be prose works.

    So, while graphic novels and children’s picture books are popular forms, they fall outside the parameters for the short story form for English Extension 2 and may be more appropriate as inclusions in digital media or video Major Works. Any use of other forms within the Major Work – for example, sections of poetry within a short story – need to be contextually relevant and clearly justified in the Reflection Statement in terms of the intended purpose and effect on audiences.

  18. Are hybridised forms acceptable Major Works for submission? What category should they be submitted in?

    These types of texts are acceptable. Students should refer to the parameters of each of the Major Work forms, as well as consider purpose and audience in determining the appropriate category. Works that are ficto-critical in nature, for example, are commonly submitted as Critical Responses, but could, depending on purpose and context, be submitted under other forms such as a short story or speech.

  19. Sound Medium Major Works

  20. Does the student have to be the only performer and writer in a sound medium Major Work?

    For speeches and performance poetry, the student must be the principal performer, the sole writer and the sole director/producer. For radio drama, the student presenting the Major Work must be the sole writer and sole director/producer. It is acceptable to use software to manipulate sound to create effects and other voices, and this should be detailed in the Reflection Statement. It is the responsibility of the student to direct or instruct all technical input. If commercial or creative commons sound bites are used, these must be acknowledged in the Reflection Statement as per the principles of All My Own Work and added as an addendum to the print copy of the speeches, radio drama or poetry. Students should refer to Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (pp 14–15).

  21. Does the student need to provide a transcript to accompany the Major Work?

    Yes. This transcript should be consistent with the final edited Major Work.

  22. Is the student able to submit multiple speeches or pieces of performance poetry?

    Yes. Any decisions regarding the structural elements of the Major Work should be based on the intended purpose and audience. The textual integrity of the Major Work should be enhanced by these decisions. Notes from the Marking Centre offers further comment relevant to the specific forms.

  23. Are there scriptwriting conventions unique to radio drama?

    The Board does not stipulate a particular style or format, as this may be contingent on the genre or context of the radio drama the candidate is creating. As part of their independent investigation, students will have the opportunity to research conventions and determine the style most appropriate for the purposes of their Major Work.

  24. What is included in the running time of sound media?

    Sound that is used as an interval or segue is not counted in the running time. For example, sound effects such as significant musical interludes in speeches are not included in the running time. Sound effects such as knocking or screams in a radio drama are included.

  25. Is the student required to specify the audience for the speech or speeches?

    Yes. The student must specify the audience for the speech or speeches (Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014), p 14). Notes from the Marking Centre advises students to clearly establish and justify the context and purpose for their speech. Students may make reference to an internal or external audience. Internal refers to the context and audience created within the world of the text. For example, a student writes a speech in the voice of Ben Hall that is delivered in the context of a 19th-century court. This speech has an internal audience of officers of the court and spectators.

    External refers to the intended audience of the Major Work itself. In this instance, the student intends the speech to be used as a sample related text for the external audience of students studying Australian history, which would be outlined in the student’s Reflection Statement. The external context may therefore be the classroom.

  26. Visual and Digital Media Major Works

  27. What is included in the running time of video and digital media?

    Everything, including credits, counts towards the running time of video and digital media.

  28. What are the guidelines for submitting the Major Work?

    Students must ensure that their video or digital media work can be opened. This should be done by testing it on a number of different types of conventional playing equipment prior to submission. Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014) (pp 16–17) details the requirements for each form.

  29. Can images and music from other sources be used in the Major Work?

    These should be acknowledged in the Reflection Statement according to the principles of All My Own Work and should clearly contribute to the textual integrity of the Major Work. While it is acceptable to use other sources, these should be used in a way that creates new meaning and insight.

  30. Does the student need to provide a script to accompany the Major Work?

    A typed script must accompany visual Major Works, but not digital media Major Works. The script accompanying visual Major Works should be consistent with the final edited Major Work; other formats, such as a storyboard, are not suitable alternatives to a typed script. For digital media Major Works, ‘a hard copy of a flowchart, logic map or storyboard must be submitted’ (Assessment and Reporting in English Extension 2 Stage 6 (2014), p 17).

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