Language B Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) are language acquisition courses for students with some previous experience of learning the language. While studying the language, students also explore the culture(s) connected with it.
Higher and standard levels are differentiated by the recommended teaching hours, the depth of syllabus coverage, the required study of literature at HL, and the level of difficulty and requirements of the assessment tasks and criteria.
The range of purposes and situations for using language in the language B courses extends well beyond those for language ab initio.
The course is organized into themes. Three core themes are required: communication and media, global issues, and social relationships. In addition, at both HL and SL, teachers select two more themes from five options provided. Finally, two works of literature are studied at HL only.
Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
- Available at standard (SL) and higher levels (HL)
- The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
- Interactive, productive and receptive skills are developed through contextualized study of language, texts and themes
- Intercultural understanding and plurilingualism are key goals of the course
- Students are exposed to a variety of authentic texts and they produce work in a variety of communicative contexts
- Students are assessed both externally and internally
- External assessment at SL consists of exercises to demonstrate understanding of authentic print texts based on the core themes (receptive skills), a writing exercise based on the options (productive skills), and a written assignment based on the core themes (integrating receptive and productive skills)
- External assessment at HL consists of exercises to demonstrate understanding of authentic print texts based on the core themes (receptive skills), two writing exercises, one based on the core and the other based on the options (productive skills), and a written assignment based on one of the literary texts (integrating receptive and productive skills)
- Internal assessment at both SL and HL tests students’ abilities in listening and speaking in a genuine conversation format (integrating receptive, productive and interactive skills). Internal assessment consists of an individual oral based on the options (presentation and discussion with the teacher), and an interactive oral based on the core (three classroom activities assessed by the teacher)