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IB moderator evaluation & notes

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1 IB moderator evaluation & notes
Student IB Oral Commentary on John Donne’s A Valediction Forbidding Mourning IB moderator evaluation & notes

2 Criterion A: Knowledge and understanding of the poem: 4/5
Student shows real engagement with the poem. Good knowledge and good understanding of its content, for example the significance of the various conceits. Genuine attempt to place the poem meaningfully alongside other examples of Donne’s intellectual love poems, and to show how the poem would fit into the accepted critical notions of the metaphysical group of poets and the conventions and ideas of the time.

3 Too much understanding is missing or passed over of the way the poem’s conceits are ordered and built up to persuade the persona’s wife or lover to not mourn his departure & absence; thus, while solidly a 4, this Commentary fails to address this critical component for it to reach the level of “excellent” required for 5 Marks.

4 Criterion B: Appreciation of the writer’s choices: 4/5
Valid and generally detailed interpretation of the thought and feeling in the poem… However, student does not show full awareness of the argument that Donne is using to convince or reassure. Ample awareness of the individual images… But the occasional misreading would have been avoided if the student had perceived more of the logical or intellectual connections that the poet asserts between them.

5 The lack of Donne’s sense of wit—and a full understanding of the links between the images in his conceits—stops the student from grasping the exciting force of the unusual metaphors, for example, when she sees richness rather than expansion as being the central ground of the gold leaf comparison. Ample awareness of literary devices… However, the precise nature or effect of these devices is not always analyzed. Remarks about rhyme, meter, caesura and monosyllables suggest that the student is on the right road but still has some way to go before real exploration and appreciation of effect take precedence over literal explanation. The component parts of critical analysis are beginning to fall into place but are not yet as strong as her clear engagement with and enjoyment of the poem.

6 Criterion C: Organization & presentation of the commentary: 3/5
Student places the poem within the larger context of metaphysical poetry and establishes it within an ostensible dramatic setting. She then discusses some key characteristics, such as the measured argument” and the “blend of thought and feeling”. However, it appears she has no further structure in place & seems to move around the poem at random, picking on details of imagery, thought and diction in a serendipitous way.

7 References to supporting details, though, is central to her presentation, which settles finally on an agenda of characteristics of metaphysical poems in general… However, focus is too broad for a Commentary, which should focus on explaining the effects of this poem in particular, referring to its relevance to a broader school of thought as part of establishing context.

8 Use of language: 4/5 This is a very articulate student with great clarity in her language, for example expressions such as comparing the persona’s love with that of “mundane” people, the ideas are “domiciled,” & noting the role of “elemental forces.” Among techniques addressed are imagery, onomatopoeia, the a-b-a-b rhyme scheme, & caesurae. Several statements are begun then reworded mid-sentence; thus, concision suffers & some points become obscured.

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