CBSE Class XI / XII English Core Syllabus 2014 – 2015

CBSE Class XI / XII English Core Syllabus 2014 – 2015

CBSE Class XI / XII English Core Syllabus 2014 – 2015 is given below.


Students are expected to have acquired a reasonable degree of language proficiency in English by the time they come to class XI, and the course will aim, essentially, at promoting the higher-order language skills. For a large number of students, the higher secondary stage will be a preparation for the university, where a fairly high degree of proficiency in English may be required. But for another large group, the higher secondary stage may be a preparation for entry into the world of work. The Core Course should cater to both groups by promoting the language skills required for academic study as well as the language skills required for the workplace.

The general objectives at this stage are:

i) to listen and comprehend live as well as record in writing oral presentations on a variety of topics

ii) to develop greater confidence and proficiency in the use of language skills necessary for social and academic purpose

iii) to participate in group discussions, interviews by making short oral presentation on given topics

iv) to perceive the overall meaning and organisation of the text (i.e., the relationships of the different “chunks” in the text to each other

v) to identify the central/main point and supporting details, etc., to build communicative competence in various registers of English

vi) to promote advanced language skills with an aim to develop the skills of reasoning, drawing inferences, etc. through meaningful activities

vii) to translate texts from mother tongue(s) into English and vice versa

viii) to develop ability and knowledge required in order to engage in independent reflection and enquiry At the end of this stage learners will be able to do the following:

i) read and comprehend extended texts (prescribed and non-prescribed) in the following genres: science fiction, drama, poetry, biography, autobiography, travel and sports literature, etc.

ii) text-based writing (i.e., writing in response to questions or tasks based on prescribed or unseen texts)

iii) understand and respond to lectures, speeches, etc.

iv) write expository / argumentative essays, explaining or developing a topic, arguing a case, etc.

v) write formal/informal letters and applications for different purposes

vi) write items related to the workplace (minutes, memoranda, notices, summaries, reports etc.

vii) filling up of forms, preparing CV, e-mail messages., making notes from reference materials, recorded talks etc.

The core course should draw upon the language items suggested for class IX-X and delve deeper into their usage and functions. Particular attention may, however, be given to the following areas of grammar: The use of passive forms in scientific and innovative writings. Converting one kind of sentence/clause into a different kind of structure as well as other items to exemplify stylistic variations in different discourses modal auxiliaries-uses based on semantic considerations.

Specific Objectives of Reading:
Students are expected to develop the following study skills:

  •   refer to dictionaries, encyclopaedia, thesaurus and academic reference material
  •   select and extract relevant information, using reading skills of skimming and scanning
  •   understand the writer’s attitude and bias
  •   comprehend the difference between what is said and what is implied
  •   understand the language of propaganda and persuasion
  •   differentiate between claims and realities, facts and opinions
  •   form business opinions on the basis of latest trends available
  •   comprehend technical language as required in computer related fields
  •   arrive at personal conclusion and comment on a given text specifically
  •   develop the ability to be original and creative in interpreting opinion
  •   develop the ability to be logically persuasive in defending one’s opinion
  •   making notes based on a text

Develop literary skills as enumerated below:

  •   personally respond to literary texts
  •   appreciate and analyse special features of languages that differentiate literary texts from non-literary ones
  •   explore and evaluate features of character, plot, setting, etc.
  •   understand and appreciate the oral, mobile and visual elements of drama
  •   identify the elements of style such as humour, pathos, satire and irony, etc.
  •   make notes from various resources for the purpose of developing the extracted ideas into sustained pieces of writing

Speaking and Listening

Speaking needs a very strong emphasis and is an important objective leading to professional competence. Hence testing of oral skills must be made an important component of the overall testing pattern. To this end, speaking and listening skills are overtly built into the material to guide the teachers in actualization of the skills. Assessment of Speaking and Listening Skills (ASL)

The CBSE had introduced the formal assessment of speaking and listening skills in class XI with effect from the session 2012-13. As a part of the CCE, it is believed that assessment should be used to control and regulate the quality and also to maintain the desired standards of performance in specific areas of learning. As good communication skills raise the self esteem and gives student confidence to face the challenges of life, it is desired that the student acquires proficiency in it by the time he or she completes secondary education. In the present time, speaking and listening are considered to be the essential skills of learning a language which are extensively used in one’s life. Hence, the formal assessment of speaking and listening skills has been added in the overall assessment scheme with a view to bring in a ‘washback’ effect in the teaching process. While the focus of listening skills is to assess a student’s competency in listening for understanding the main points for identifying general and specific information for a purpose, distinguishing the main points from the supporting details, interpreting messages, understanding and following instructions, advice, requests, etc., the linguistic and nonlinguistic features of a language, etc., and appropriate activities may be used for assessing the above mentioned objectives.


The assessment of speaking skills is based on four aspects of a language which include language functions, grammar, lexis or range of vocabulary and phonology. Students will be assessed on a scale of 5-1 where in 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest. If a student performs very well but doesn’t completely fall in the highest category he or she can be marked in between 3 and 5. This will give a student wider range where the performance can be pitched.
The descriptors for three bands are given below for all the four areas:








TaskManagement Contributions are highlyeffe ative functions of the level with spontaneity. Contributions are effective and fulfil the task. Can fulfil the communicative functions of the level. Contributions are adequate and fulfil the task. Can fulfil functions of the level but may not do so consistently. Contributions are limited  and there is some attempt at the task which is not fulfilled and/or may be repetitive. There is almost no contribution and/or contributions may not be related to the task.
Initiation andTurn-taking Is prompt to initiate discussions on the themes/ functions at the given  level appropriately.Contributes spontaneously to keep the interaction

going; takes turn appropriately.

Is easily able to initiate discussions on the themes/ functions at the given  level appropriately.Contributes effectively to keep the interaction going and takes turn appropriately. Is able to initiate discussions  on the themes/ functions at the given level.

Makes an effort to keep the interaction going; takes turn.

Struggles to initiate discussions on the themes/ functions at the given level.

Makes little effort to keep the interaction going;

Does not initiate discussions.



Makes no effort to keep the interaction going.

Appropriacy and Relevance Speaks with a clear sense of purpose and audience in both formal and informal situations.

Contributions are always appropriate to the context/ situation.

Speaks with a fair sense of purpose and audience  in

both formal and informal situations.

May be less confident in formal situations.

Speaks with an awareness of purpose and audience  may not adapt register effectively.

Contributions are appropriate to the context/ situation.

Has unclear sense of purpose and may be unable to adapt register.Contributions may not be connected to the context/ situation. Has hardly  any sense of purpose and cannot adapt to register.






Cohesion  andCoherence

Speed of Delivery sequence

Presents information in a logical  sequence of linked utterances with a clear connection between  ideas, arguments and statements.  Uses a range of cohesivedevices.

Speaks fluently with minimal hesitation.

Has intelligible speed of delivery.

Presents information in a logical  sequence of linked utterances with a connection between  ideas, arguments and statements.  Uses with ease some cohesivedevices.

Speaks fluently with some hesitation.

Has intelligible speed of delivery.

Presents information generally in a logical order but overall progression may not always  be clear.Uses a range of cohesive  devices but some over/ under use.

Coherence  may be affected by hesitancy or rephrasing.

Intelligible speed of delivery

Presents information but without clear progression. Uses limitedcohesive  devices repetitively.

Severe hesitation may impede communication.

Speed of delivery impedes understanding

Presents information with noprogression and/

or little control of organisational features.

May use only isolated words and phrases.







Pronunciation, Stress andintonation Has clear, natural pronunciation that can be easily understood by the listener.Varies stress and intonation in keeping with the task, content and meaning. Presents information in a logical  sequence of linked utterances with a connection between  ideas, arguments and statements.  Uses with ease some cohesivedevices.

Speaks fluently with some hesitation.

Has intelligible speed of delivery.

Is intelligible though there are examples of some mispronunciation.Tries to speak, varying stress and intonation according to

task, content and meaning.

Is not always intelligible and the listener may have to ask for repetition from time to timeFlat intonation and/or inappropriate stress for the task, content or meaning Is not intelligible.

Specific Objectives of Listening:
Students are expected to develop the ability:

  •  to listen to lectures and talks and to be able to extract relevant and useful information for a specific purpose.
  •  to listen to news bulletins and to develop the ability to discuss informally on a wide ranging issues like current national and international affairs, sports, business, etc.
  •   to respond in interviews and to participate in formal group discussions.
  •   to make enquiries meaningfully and adequately and to respond to enquiries for the purpose of travelling within the country and abroad.
  •   to listen to business news and to be able to extract relevant important information.
  •   to develop the art of formal public speaking.

Specific Objectives of Writing

  •  to write letters to friends, pen friends, relatives, etc.
  •  to write business and official letters.
  •   to send telegrams, faxes, e-mails[formal].
  •   to open accounts in post offices and banks.
  •   to fill in railway/airline reservation forms.
  •   to write on various issues to institutions seeking relevant information, lodge complaints, express thanks or tender apology.
  •   to write applications, fill in application forms, prepare a personal bio-data for admission into colleges, universities, entrance tests and jobs.
  •   to write informal reports as part of personal letters on functions, programmes and activities held in school (morning assembly, annual day, sports day, etc.)
  •   to write formal reports for school magazines/events/processes/ or in local newspapers about events or occasions.
  •   to express opinions, facts, arguments in the form a speech or debates.
  •   to draft papers to be presented in symposia.
  •   to take down notes from talks and lectures.
  •   to write examination answers according to the requirement of various subjects.
  •   to summarise a text.

Reading Project

Inculcating good reading habits in children has always been a concern for all stakeholders in education. The purposes to create independent thinking individuals with the ability to not only create their own knowledge but also critically interpret, analyse and evaluate it with objectivity and fairness. This will also help students in learning and acquiring better language skills.

Creating learners for the 21st century involves making them independent learners who can learn, unlearn and relearn and, if our children are in the habit of reading, they will learn to reinvent themselves and deal with the many challenges that lie ahead of them.

Reading is not merely decoding information or pronouncing words correctly. It is an interactive dialogue between the author and the reader in which the reader and the author share their experiences and knowledge with each other. Good readers are critical readers with an ability to arrive at a deeper understanding of not only the world presented in the book but also of the real world around them.

Consequently, they become independent thinkers capable of taking their own decisions in life rationally. Hence, a few activities are suggested below which teachers may use as a part of the reading project.

  •  Short review
  • Dramatization of the story
  • Commentary on the characters
  • Critical evaluation of the plot, storyline and characters
  • Comparing and contrasting the characters within the story and with other characters in stories by the same author or by the other authors
  • Extrapolating about the story read or life of characters after the story ends defending characters actions in the story
  •  Making an audio story out of the novel/text to be read aloud.
  •  Interacting with the author
  •  Holding a literature fest where students role-play as various characters to interact with each other
  •  Role playing as authors/poets/dramatists, to defend their works and characters
  •  Symposiums and seminars for introducing a book, an author, or a theme
    Creating graphic novels out of novel or short stories they read
  • Dramatizing incidents from a novel or a story
  •  Creating their own stories
  •  Books of one genre to be read by the whole class.

Teachers may select books suitable to the age and level of the learners. Care ought to be taken to choose books that are appropriate in terms of language, theme and content and which do not hurt the sensibilities of a child.

Teachers may later suggest books from other languages but dealing with the same themes as an extended activity. The Project should lead to independent learning/reading skills and hence the chosen book should not be taught in class, but may be introduced through activities and be left for the students to read at their own pace. Teachers may, however, choose to assess a student’s progress or success in reading the book by asking for verbal or written progress reports, looking at their diary entries, engaging in a discussion about the book, giving a short quiz or a work sheet about the book/short story. The mode of assessment may be decided by the teachers as they see fit.

These may be used for Internal assessments/Formative Assessments only. It may be noted that this reading project is apart from the long reading texts which have been prescribed for the Term-end Assessments.

Problem Solving Assessment (PSA):

It is a widely acknowledged fact that research and analytical skills, ability to apply basic concept of different subjects, solving application based problems in Mathematics and Science, comprehending and analysing written texts and effective communication are the skills which ensure success in higher studies and professional areas. Given below are the features of PSA:

The features are :

  •  Compulsory for all students of Classes XI and carry 90 marks. There will be 60 items of MCQ type.
  •  No specific syllabus for Problem Solving Assessment (CBSE-PSA)• It will assess Quantitative Reasoning, Qualitative Reasoning and Language Conventions. They would be assessing students’ ability to process, interpret and use information rather than assessing their prior subject knowledge.
  •   The assessment in language will contain items that assess grammar, usage, vocabulary in context and passage-completion, designed to improve the generic and higher order thinking skills.
  •   The CBSE-PSA will be conducted in January-February and students will get a separate certificate for the same.
  •   The students will have the option to improve their PSA score in Class XII, as they can sit for the test with Class XI students of that session in January – February. The best scores will be reflected in the final certificate in case of those applying for improvement.
  •   There will be no separate time tables/periods for teaching or practice of PSA.

Methods and Techniques

The techniques used for teaching should promote habits of self-learning and reduce dependence on the teacher. In general, we recommend a multi-skill, learner-centred, activity based approach, of which there can be many variations. The core classroom activity is likely to be that of silent reading of prescribed/selected texts for comprehension, which can lead to other forms of language learning activities such as role-play, dramatization, group discussion, writing, etc., although many such activities could be carried out without the preliminary use of textual material. It is important that students be trained to read independently and intelligently, interacting actively with texts, with the use of reference materials (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.) where necessary. Some pre- reading activity will generally be required, and the course books should suggest suitable activities, leaving teachers free to devise other activities when desired. So also, the reading of texts should be followed by post reading activities. It is important to remember that every text can generate different readings. Students should be encouraged to interpret texts in different ways.

Group and pair activities can be resorted to when desired, but many useful language activities can be carried out individually. In general, teachers should encourage students to interact actively with texts and with each other. Oral activity (group discussion, etc.) should be encouraged.
CLASS – XI English Core


Reading Comprehension 60 Periods

  • Very short answer and MCQ types questions:

Two unseen passages (including poems) with a variety of questions including 04 marks for vocabulary such as word formation and inferring meaning. The total range of the 2 passages including a poem or a stanza, should be around 900-1000 words. 1. 550-600 words in length (for note-making and summarising) 2. 350-400 words in length (to test comprehension, interpretation and inference) An unseen poem of about 28-35 lines. The passages could be of any one of the following types:

  •  Factual passages, e.g., illustrations, description, reports
  • Discursive passages involving opinion, e.g., argumentative, persuasive
  • Literary passages e.g. extracts from fiction, biography, autobiography, travelogue, etc. In the case of a poem, the text may be shorter than the prescribed word limit.

Writing Skills and Grammar


WRITING 60 Periods

  •   Short Answer Questions: Based on notice/ poster/ advertisement
  • Long Answer Questions: Letters based on verbal/visual input. It would cover all types of letters.
  • Letter types may include:

(a) business or official letters (for making enquiries, registering complaints, asking for and giving information, placing orders and sending replies)

(b) letters to the editor (giving suggestions on an issue)

(c) application for a job with a bio-data or resume

(d) letter to the school or college authorities, regarding admissions, school issues, requirements /suitability of courses, etc.

  • Very Long Answer Question: Composition in the form of article, speech, report writing or a narrative

Grammar 30 Periods

  •  Different grammatical structures in meaningful contexts will be tested. Item types will include gap filling, sentence re-ordering, dialogue completion and sentence transformation. The grammar syllabus will include determiners, tenses, clauses, modals and Change of Voice. These grammar areas will be tested using the following short answer type and MCQ type questions:
  •   Error Correction, editing tasks,
  • Re – ordering of Sentences,
  • Transformation of sentences


Literature and Long Reading Texts 70 Periods

Questions to test comprehension at different levels: literal, inferential and evaluative

1. Hornbill: Textbook published by NCERT, New Delhi

2. Snapshots: Supplementary Reader published by NCERT, New Delhi

The following have been deleted:

Textbooks Name of the lessons deleted  Hornbill

1. Landscape of the Soul

2. The Adventure

3. Silk Road

4. The Laburnum Top (Poetry) Snapshots 5. The Ghat of the only World

  •   Very Short Answer Questions – Based on an extract from poetry to test reference to context comprehension and appreciation.
  •  Short Answer Questions – Based on prose, poetry and plays from both the texts.
  •  Long Answer Question – Based on prescribed texts to test global comprehension and extrapolation beyond the texts to bring out the key messages and values.
  •  Long Answer Questions – Based on theme, plot, incidents or event from the prescribed novels.
  •  Long Answer Question – Based on understanding appreciation, analysis and interpretation of the characters.

Note: Values-based questions may be given as long answers in the writing or literature sections.

Long Reading Texts (Anyone)

With a view to inculcate the habit of reading among the students, CBSE has introduced compulsory reading of a Long Reading Text – Novel in the English Core Course and will be evaluated in the Term-end Assessments. Schools can opt for either one of the texts.

Novels Author The Canterville Ghost Oscar Wilde (unabridged 1906 Edition) Up from Slavery Booker T. Washington (unabridged 2000 Edition)

CBSE Class XI / XII English Core Syllabus 2014 - 2015

Reading Comprehension 30 Marks

Reading Unseen Passages and Note making

Two unseen passages with a variety of very short answer or MCQ questions to test comprehension, interpretation and inference. Vocabulary such as word formation and inference of meaning will also be tested.

The total length of the two passages will be between 1100 – 1200 words. The passage will include two of the following:

a. Factual passages, e.g., instructions, descriptions, reports.

b. Descriptive passages involving opinion, e.g., argumentative, persuasive or interpretative text.

c. Literary passages, e.g., extract from fiction, drama, poetry, essay or biography. A poem could be of 28-35 lines.

  •  The passages can be literary, factual or discursive to test comprehensions. The length of one passage should be between 600-700 words.
  • A third passage of 400-500 words for note-making and abstraction.


Writing Skills 30 Marks

  •  Short Answer Questions, e.g., advertisement and notices, designing or drafting posters, writing formal and informal invitations and replies.
  • Long Answer Questions: Letters based on verbal / visual input.

Letter types include

  •  Business or official letters (for making enquiries, registering complaints, asking for and giving information, placing orders and sending replies)
  •  Letters to the editor (giving suggestions on an issue or opinion on issue on public interest
  •  Application for a job

Very Long Answer Questions: Two compositions based on visual and/or verbal Output may be descriptive or argumentative in nature such as an article, a debate or a speech.


Literature Textbooks and Long Reading Text 40 Marks

Flamingo and Vistas

  •  Very Short Answer Questions – Based on an extract from poetry to test comprehension and appreciation.
  •   Short Answer Questions – Based on prose and poetry from both the texts.
  •  Long Answer Question – Based on texts to test global comprehension and extrapolation beyond the texts to bring out the key messages and values.
  •   Long Answer Question – Based on texts to test global comprehension along with analysis and extrapolation.
  •  Long Answer Question – Based on theme, plot and incidents from the prescribed novels.
  •  Long Answer Question – Based on understanding appreciation, analysis and interpretation of the character sketch.

Prescribed Books

1. Flamingo: English Reader published by National Council of Education Research and Training, New Delhi

2. Vistas: Supplementary Reader published by National Council of Education Research and Training, New Delhi

Note: Long answer questions based on values can be given in the writing section or in the literature section.

Textbooks Name of the lessons deleted

Flamingo 1. Poets and Pancakes

2. The Interview

3. A Road Ride Stand (Poetry) Vistas

4. The Third Level

5. Journey to the End of the Earth

Long Reading Text / Novel Author

Hound of Baskervilles (unabridged 1902) Arthur Conan Doyle

CBSE Class XI / XII English Core Syllabus 2014 - 2015

Click Here for CBSE Class XI / XII Complete Syllabus for Languages

If you have any query regarding this topic please post your queries HERE