Progression & Assessment

Progression and Assessment (Key Stage 3): Progression simply means ‘getting better’. History teachers need models of what progression in history looks like but many contrasting models exist and lively debates continue.  All history teachers therefore need to know enough to understand those debates and join them. History teachers and history education researchers have traditions of defining and testing goals for students, debating how far these should relate to substantive knowledge and/or disciplinary thinking, researching typical routes pupils take towards them and working out optimal paths to help them get there more securely. Read more

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  • Here ends the lesson: shaping lesson conclusions

    Article

    Reflecting on her efforts to improve her trainee’s lesson conclusions, Paula Worth decided to brush up her own. A journey of self-evaluation led her to revisit the Cambridge Conclusions Project. Through its lens, she judged her own lesson conclusions wanting. Worth examines the way in which the final episode of...

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  • Myths and Monty Python: using the witch-hunts to introduce students to significance

    Article

    In this article Kerry Apps introduces students to the significance of the witch-hunts in the modern era, at the time when they occurred, and in the middle of the eighteenth century. She presents her rationale for choosing the witch-hunts as a focus for the study of significance, and shows how her thinking about her teaching has evolved through her evaluation of her students’...

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  • Designing end-of-year exams: trials and tribulations

    Article

    Since the decline of the National Curriculum Level Descriptions, schools in England have been asked to design their own forms of assessment at Key Stage 3. This had led to a great deal of creativity, but also a number of challenges. In this article Matt Stanford reflects on his department’s...

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  • Triumphs Show 167: Keeping the 1960s complicated

    Article

    During her PGCE year, it became evident to Rachel Coleman just how much pupils struggled with the complicated nature of history. They were troubled in particular by the lack of definitive answers, by the range of perspectives that might be held at the time of a particular event or development...

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  • Cunning Plan 167: teaching the industrial revolution

    Article

    ‘Disastrous and terrible.’ For Arnold Toynbee, the historian who gave us the phrase ‘industrial revolution’, these three words sum up the period of dramatic technological change that took place in Britain across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We may not habitually use Toynbee’s description in the classroom, but it is...

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  • Why are you wearing a watch? Complicating narratives of economic and social progress

    Article

    Frustrated by the traditional narrative of the industrial revolution as a steady march of progress, and disappointed by her students’ dull and deterministic statements about historical change, Hannah Sibona decided to complicate the tidy narrative of continual improvement. Inspired by an article by E.P. Thompson, Sibona reflected that introducing her...

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  • Effective essay introductions

    Article

    Struck by the dullness of some of her students’ essay introductions, Paula Worth reflected on the fact that she had never focused specifically on introductions. After surveying existing work by history teachers on essay structure in general and introductions in particular, she turns to the work of historians. Drawing on...

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  • Taking control of assessment

    Article

    Ian Luff recognised that in a post-levels world efforts to devise new assessment systems risked replicating old problems or creating new ones. Drawing on his many years’ experience of teaching and school leadership Luff argues that for assessment in history to be truly useful to teachers and pupils it needs...

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  • Making rigour a departmental reality

    Article

    Faced with the introduction of a two-year key stage and a new whole-school assessment policy, Rachel Arscott and Tom Hinks decided to make a virtue out of necessity and reconsider their whole approach to planning, teaching and assessment at Key Stage 3. In this article they give an account of...

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  • Cunning Plan 162: Transferring knowledge from Key Stage 3 to 4

    Article

    Planning to deliver the new GCSE specifications presents a challenge and an opportunity to any history department, whatever their previous specification. The sweep of history that students will now study at GCSE is much broader than ‘Modern World’ departments are used to; including a medieval or early modern depth study...

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  • Developing independent learning with Year 7

    Article

    Jaya Carrier’s decision to focus on developing a more independent  approach to learning in history at Key Stage 3 was prompted by concerns about her A-level students. In seeking to establish secure foundations for students’ own historical research, Carrier first examined the assumptions of her colleagues and her students. She...

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  • Adventures in assessment

    Article

    In Teaching History 157, Assessment Edition, a number of different teachers shared the ways in which their departments were approaching the assessment and reporting of students’ progress in a ‘post-levels’ world. This article adds to those examples, first by illustrating how teachers from different schools in the Bristol area are...

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  • Assessment Without Levels

    Article

    The removal of level descriptions has generated some head-scratching, questions and conflict - especially when the adoption of a new whole school model does not seem to fit with recognised good practice for assessment and progression in history. Our FAQs guide will help to answer many of those frequently asked...

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  • Pipes's punctuation and making complex historical claims

    Article

    Improve students' historical thinking and written argument Long, unreadable sentences in her students' essays led Rachel Foster to improve her post-16 students' punctuation. Her journey resulted, however, in more than improved punctuation. It led her to theorise what historians are really doing in their ‘signpost sentences'. She found herself showing students how an academic historian anticipates a chunk of argument in a single,...

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  • Do's and Dont's in developing assessment practice

    Article

    Principles and practices to take forwardIn light of our experience since drafting our original plea for ‘Assessment without levels' and in the spirit of the new freedoms offered by the abolition of levels, we offer the series of principles and warnings set out in Figure 3. We hope that they...

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  • Building meaningful models of progression

    Article

    Setting us free? Building meaningful models of progression for a ‘post-levels' world Alex Ford was thrilled by the prospect of freedom offered to history departments in England by the abolition of level descriptions within the National Curriculum. After analysing the range of competing purposes that the level  descriptions were previously...

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  • Using timelines in assessment

    Article

    Bridging a twenty-year gap in their practice, Elizabeth Carr and Christine Counsell bring out the similarities in their use of timelines in their planning, teaching and assessment. What they also have in common is the fact that their experimentation with timelines as a way of strengthening cumulative knowledge emerged in...

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  • Assessment after levels

    Article

    Ten years ago, two heads of department in contrasting schools presented a powerfully-argued case for resisting the use of level descriptions within their assessment regimes. Influenced both by research into the nature of children's historical thinking and by principles of assessment for learning, Sally Burnham and Geraint Brown argued that...

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  • Teaching History 157: Assessment

    Article

    This edition of HA's Teaching History journal is free to download via the link at the bottom of the page (individual article links within the page are not free access unless otherwise stated). For a subscription to Teaching History (published quarterly), plus access to our library of high-quality secondary history materials...

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  • Move Me On 156: Assessment for Learning

    Article

    This issue's problem: Fred North treats ‘Assessment for Learning' as though it is a bolt-on extra unconnected to his learning objectives Fred is an enthusiastic trainee who has generally made a good impression on students and colleagues over the course of his first term. He has been determined to establish a...

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