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Edexcel American West History Paper yesterday


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#1 Chouan

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 08:12 AM

A fair paper in many respects, but what a bizarre choice of picture!
The question asks "What can you learn from Source A about the problems people faced when travelling West in the 1840's?"
The answer is, virtually nothing, actually.
The picture is a contemporary journal or newspaper illustration from the American Civil War, from 1863 or 1864, I think. There is a Union Army mule drawn supply train going past a Union army artillery team, with a fort in the background, with an army camp nearby; with a telegraph line running parallel to the route being taken by the supply train. The relevance of this to the question is tenuous in the extreme!
How could an historian (I assume) have chosen such an anachronistic picture for a GCSE examination? Apart from the obvious, it is a wagon train, and it's in America, and it's in the 19th century, I can't see any relevance.

#2 Mark H.

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:44 PM

Edexcel have previous with regard to picture sources, I'm afraid. Like the illustration of British soldiers kicking footballs across No-Man's Land on 1st July 1916 which they appear to have assumed was a ridiculous jingoistic fantasy but was actually a depiction of a real (and famous) incident. Unfortunately hapless students who correctly interpreted the source might not have received a good mark as a result.

Edited by Mark H., 24 June 2010 - 05:46 AM.

In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#3 Chouan

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:52 AM

I've yet to receive a reply from Edexcel, which is somewhat worrying....

#4 T Maxwell

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 08:18 PM

I've yet to receive a reply from Edexcel, which is somewhat worrying....


This is to be expected, everybody got the same response to any letter/email they wrote about the Jan exams and our Headteacher wrote months ago following the generic response to me, without even the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a response!

#5 Chouan

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:14 AM

I rang them on Monday, but nobody, at first, was available to speak to me. After expressing my unhappiness, somebody called Karen McNulty was found to speak to me. I raised my concerns, forwarded my initial email to her and am awaiting a response that goes beyond:

"Thank you for your feedback. I will send it to the Principal Examiner for a response and I will send it to you as soon as I receive it. As you will appreciate, the senior examiners are all extremely busy with marking, however, I will ensure that you get a response."

Initially I was simply told that Mark Battye would be encouraged to reply to, or at least acknowledge my email, which isn't quite the response to an irate Head of Department that I expected. He still hasn't acknowledged or replied to my email.
I'm really not impressed.

#6 Chouan

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:57 PM

I finally got my reply today. It read:
"Thank you for your email regarding Question 1 of the above examination paper. I apologise for the delay in
responding to you. We passed your comments to the Principal Examiner for this paper who has agreed that
you are correct; the source is not from the 1860s and this was an error on our part. Your centre is the only
centre who have contacted us with their feedback.
The Principal Examiner has provided the below response for you:
The inferences that could be supported from the source such as a “demanding journey, threatened,
difficult landscape, isolation” could be gained from this source and would have been clear to all students
who would have studied the problems of migrating west in wagon trains from the 1840s onwards. On this
particular question, candidates would not have been penalised in any way whatsoever. There was no
evidence during the marking period that any candidate had been aware of the error with the caption or
had recognised that the source was actually from the 1860s.
This question performed as well as the other questions on this paper and there has been no evidence to
suggest that any candidate was disadvantaged by the source."


So, nothing wrong there then.....




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