Carr, Evans, Oakshott and Rudge: the benefits of AEA history


By David Waters, published 31st August 2007

Sometimes the only way to go beyond the exam is to take another, more difficult, test. For the top—the very top—A2 students, there is such a test available. The Advanced Extension Award [AEA] is a history paper which encourages students finishing their school careers to think about history in a unified way. They are encourage to fit the periods and cultures that they study into a broader theoretical framework, and to think about history in broader terms. This is, though, definitely a history (rather than a philosophy of history, or an historiography) paper. David Waters sets out a compelling rationale for enabling students to study for and to sit this paper —whether or not they intend to read history as part of their degree. Waters also shares his department’s experience of the AEA, providing practical ideas for sessions as well as an overall scheme of work. His students have benefited from greater understanding of their actual A2 papers (which they study at the same time), from greater appreciation of the broad scope of history, and from improving their writing by working towards a genuinely challenging standards. Could the way to go beyond the test be to test more?

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