The language ab initio course is a language acquisition course for students with little or no experience of the language.
The course is organized into three themes: individual and society, leisure and work, and urban and rural environment. Each theme comprises a list of topics that provide students with opportunities to practice and explore the language and to develop intercultural understanding.
Through the development of receptive, productive and interactive skills, students develop the ability to respond and interact appropriately in a defined range of everyday situations.
Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
- Only available at standard level (SL)
- The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150
- Interactive, productive and receptive skills are developed through contextualized study of language, texts and themes
- Intercultural understanding is a key goal 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 consists of exercises to demonstrate understanding of authentic print texts (receptive skills), two short writing exercises (productive skills), and a written assignment (integrating receptive and productive skills)
- Internal assessment tests students’ abilities in listening and speaking in a genuine conversation format (integrating receptive, productive and interactive skills). Internal assessment consists of a presentation and follow-up questions based on a visual stimulus, and a general conversation with the teacher based in part on the written assignment
Read about group 3: individuals and societies
- Read (skim, scam, read for detail) and understand four written texts
- Up to 40 questions: true/false, multiple choice, short answer, table-filling, gap-filling, matching (words, summaries, ideas, people from texts, parts of sentences)
- Level C text is most difficult
- Texts may include some vocabulary lists to help with comprehension
- All questions and responses are in target language (Spanish)
- You will need to deduce meaning of words from context,understand grammatical structures and functions in context, and be aware of cohesive devices
Paper 2(taken in May): "Written Productive Skills" (Written Production) (25%)
- Two writing exercises coming from any one of the twenty topics within the three themes (Individual & Society; Leisure & Work; Urban & Rural Environments)
- Tasks and responses are in target language (Spanish)
- Section A Short writing task (7 points): minimum of 50 words; one question to be answered from a choice of two; task could ask you to respond in a variety of ways: advertisement, blog, email, entry/post on social media, invitation, list, menu, message/note, notice, postcard, poster
- Section B Extended writing task (18 points): minimum of 100 words; one question to be answered from a choice of three; task could ask you to respond in a variety of ways: article, blog, brochure, diary, email, entry/post on social media, essay, interview, formal/informal letter, report, review, speech/presentation
Click here to see documents from the 2014 Ab Initio Spanish exam.
Written Assessment(Started in mid semester 1, submitted by early March): "Receptive & Productive Skills" (20%)
The Ab Initio Written Assignment (Tarea escrita) allows you to develop intercultural understanding by reflecting on differences and similarities between cultures. Through this assignment you will describe aspects of the target language culture(s); compare aspects of the target language culture(s) with similar aspects in your culture(s); and develop language competencies. See the document at the right for a detailed explanation of the assignment, the expected timeline, the themes from which you can choose, the expected timeline & the rubric that will be used to score your assignment.
Your written assignment is a 200-350 word paper written in the target language and divided into three parts:
- A “Description”—A description of your chosen topic in relation to a specific aspect of the target culture(s)
- B “Comparison”—A comparison of the differences and/or similarities of your chosen topic in target culture(s) and your culture(s)
- C “Reflection”—A reflection related to your chosen topic.
Internal Assessment(25% of total IB test score)
The Spanish Ab Initio Individual Oral enables you to demonstrate what you can communicate verbally with your Spanish. In it you will demonstrate your skills and your knowledge of the language and its cultures and how it compares to your culture.
What is it and what happens during the oral?
- It is based on themes (Individual & Society, Leisure and Work, Urban and Rural environment)
- You will have two color photographs (never seen by student) with caption or title linked to the themes listed above
- You select one photograph of the two
- You may write brief annotations (up to 10) on a note card. Note card will be provided.
- Supervised preparation (15 minutes)
- Presentation of the photo (1-2 minutes)
- Questions section (2-3 minutes)
- Conversation section (4-5 minutes)
- It is recorded & scored by me and externally moderated (scored)