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How Would You Like To Be Assessed?


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#1 Mr Moorhouse

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 05:20 PM

At the moment lots of people involved in teaching history are looking at the way that the subject should be taught in the future. Mr. Field has already started a discussion about what you would like to study which is a very important part of our discussions: please post if you haven't already done so.. The other aspect we have to consider is how you are assessed.

1) If you could choose the way in which you demonstrated your ability as a history student, how would you do it?

2) What are your thoughts about coursework?

3) Does the current system of examinations at the end of a course work? If not, what would you like to see instead?

NB: The views of pupils are being taken very seriously by the people who make the decisions, and they will be made aware of anything that is suggested on here.

#2 Anti-Alex

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 10:53 AM

coursework is evil and should be burned id rather go to more exams and prefreably with less of the source related questions i mean they are all the same
how does source A compare to sources C & D
it gets repetative and this causes bordom and thus uncreative students who want to get the exam over with just my two cents there

#3 Anti-Alex

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 11:00 AM

another word on coursework in general while some students are great at coursework and produce inspired brilliance others may not have the time or reources to do as well i think this may be giving a unfair advantage to more well off people with less afterschool responsibilitys e.g. i know several people who have to look after sick relatives when they are not at school and some poorer people may not have acces to GOOD computers outside of school this also gives them a disadvatage on the presentation side of things anyway this may not necisarily be overly relevent to history in particyular but does apply to other subjects have a nice day

#4 Heather

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 12:51 PM

At the moment we have done a few presentations about the European side of AS history but I feel we could have done more in GCSE, or a memorable way to remember the key facts and dates. Because just making notes from text books, may work for some people to memorise the information. For me I'd rather have spider diagrams or pictures to represent that facts.

I feel coursework is important and a good way of showing the students knowledge of the historical facts and events which happened within a period of time. It also breaks up the total percentage of your grade, so your grade isn't just dependant on the exam. Many people including myself like the break-up of coursework and exams.

#5 ktjoanna

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 01:45 PM

1) If you could choose the way in which you demonstrated your ability as a history student, how would you do it?
I think examinations as they are at the moment are a good way of demonstrating ability but i also feel that coursework is something that should go along side that for every exam board because that gives everyone who takes history gcse,a level, an equal chance and it is fair that we would have all gone through the same procedure...

2) What are your thoughts about coursework?
I think coursework is a brilliant thing because it allows you, most of the time, to study another period for a short amount of time that won't be tested in exam conditions... It also takes a little bit of pressure of of the student... i alsdo don't think that there should be such a stress of importance on the use of computers for the coursework... as anti-alex said- not all students have access to a computer at all...

3) Does the current system of examinations at the end of a course work? If not, what would you like to see instead?
I think that the exams should be taken throughout the year and not at the end because then it give students time to concentrate on their revision and specific topic and get the best grades possible... by cramming it all in at the end of the year, i feel it adds too much pressure.... The Time limits could be longer too...

#6 Mr Moorhouse

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 08:22 PM

Some very interesting points raised in these posts, thankyou.

How about something other than exams and coursework?

- Learning diaries
- Presentations
- Oral assessments based on participation in debates
- Personal studies at KS4
- Creation of tour guides for sites / museums
- Use of multimedia applications to create posters, presentations, web sites, newspaper articles based on a historical theme
- Assessment of involvement in chat rooms, online forums etc

What about the importance of self evaluation? At Key Stage 3 it is a significant part of the way that many teachers assess pupils.

#7 manps

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 11:29 AM

The examinations process has been around for yonks [a clipped version of donkey’s years, also meaning a long time] and is a precise and accurate way of testing the abilities of students' knowledge and understanding of topics.

Learning diaries & Presentations are only useful to the extent of revision. If a certain group of pupils in the class are told to present, for example, one element of the liberal social reforms of 1906 - 1914, afterwards in the exam, they will feel at ease when writing about that topic.

Oral assessments based on participation in debates - I think this is good, but only to some extent. When I myself was taught History in year 11, i was shy and did not like reading out at all. 2 years on, i want to be a teacher which will involve talking in front of large audiences. If children are shy then they would be peanalised for it with this type of assessment. (Iam assuming here that the methods of assessment would ultimately account for some part of the final grade awarded)

Personal studies at KS4 - i.e. Coursework is a good way of testing pupils' understanding of topics. Especially in a subject like History, pupils can go away, read different historians' interpretations of events and be more the wiser. I feel at the moment though, at GCSE level, the amount of work put in to coursework does not reflect the proportion of the GCSE grade it accounts for.

Creation of tour guides for sites / museums - Great to enhance learning, not all schools can afford this though.

Use of multimedia applications to create posters, presentations, web sites, newspaper articles based on a historical theme - This is by far the best way to teach History. The resources on this website are very high quality and often sum up a topic for a pupil without the need for them doing it themselves. For example, when Nazi History is taught 1933 - 1939, there are various elements that are emphasised but if the pupil was to get an examination question after saying "Was the sole reason for Hitler's maintenance of power during the period 1933 - 1939 due to terror", often they would write down everything they know. Presentations sum up the required knowledge and are illustrated in concise bitesize chunks which are a radical step into the future of History.


Assessment of involvement in chat rooms, online forums - It can be seen from all the posts i have posted that i deem forums to be 'the next best thing since sliced bread" (Although I am a biased source ;) )

Lectures is another area where pupils' intake of knowledge can be easily scripted and therefore digested with more ease. Certainly, if two historians argue the case for a given theme then pupils enjoy and often benefit. I have been to two particular good lectures whereby there were 2 historians arguing, the first was about the case for/against appeasement and the other was about "Was there a constitutional crisis 1911? Yes/No"

In conclusion (almost sounds as if im ending an essay) I think that elements from Mr Moorhouse's list should be 'the way forward' for history, particularly with the new technology available to us and others should be taken with caution. Certainly i hope the assessments we have in Britain, in the form of examinations never cease.

Thanks, Manpreet

#8 Heather

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 10:31 AM

I think Presentations / Media / Tours + trips help the facts get across. I went to the Thackray Musuem last year just before my GCSE's and it did help me visualise and remember key dates/ facts by remembering what I saw and did that day. Interaction, for me is the best way to learning. Just reading lots of notes over & over, isn't fun and I don't think makes you remember.

Debates, although not my favourite but within my class at the moment we have done a few. It brings together everybodys opinions and interpetations together with experiencing an event like a UN meeting or when the meeting of the Treaty of Versailles was being discussed.

#9 ktjoanna

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 02:21 PM

i don't think that oral iscussion should be used as part of your final grade because some people are simply better at formulating answers on paper than they are perhaps in speaking.
The use of multimedia does sound very appealing and it could possibly make the courses 'modern'.
There is one thing that bothers me though....if your finalgrade isn't going to depend majorly on the exams and more so on 'classwork' then wouldn't it e unfair to those who have done say 100% examination in the past to have an A/A* grade and thrn somebody who has an A* mainly composed of coursework/classwork? Because as we all know, coursework can be tweaked again and again if need be whereas exams are a 'one shot'... <_<

does anyone else have any thoughts on this? it is something that has en in my mind when studying this year because ome schools do coursework whichwill oost their exam grade up whereas otheers have to depend totally on exams to get the desired grade... :warning:

#10 Mr Moorhouse

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 06:08 PM

i don't think that oral iscussion should be used as part of your final grade because some people are simply better at formulating answers on paper than they are perhaps in speaking.


Surely the opposite then follows? Some people are much better at expressing their ability verbally and ought to be offered a way of doing this.

Because as we all know, coursework can be tweaked again and again if need be whereas exams are a 'one shot'


I'd like to make it clear that there is a MASSIVE difference between Coursework and 'Teacher assessment'. The latter enables the teacher to set tasks suited to the group or individual and establish a level at which a student consistently performs at. This covers all of the major historical skills and allows students flexibility in their learning, caters for all learning preferences (if delivered correctly) and ensures that students are rewarded for clarity and quality of thought over a sustained period of time rather than in one afternoon. Coursework on the other hand is something that is predetermined, isn't all that flexible in terms of the way that it can be adapted to individuals strengths and is, as you say, susceptible to 'cheats'.

Learning diaries & Presentations are only useful to the extent of revision


In the current exams system, perhaps. The proposed curriculum changes include both of these as potential areas that could be formally assessed as part of the examinations procedure.

Any thoughts?

#11 skitzoslugg

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 08:12 PM

i have strong opinions about this subject so here goes -
basically i think that A-levels should be a 3year course say yr11, 12 and 13 and that you should take ur AS-levels in the january of yr12
this would spread out the exams so that there would no longer be such a bulk of exams to mark in the summer and allow greater freedom etc during the course because you'd have a yr and a half to do each set of modules
lets face it, yr7-9 are a waste of time and if you did your "GCSEs" in yr 9 and 10 there would less of an inclination to do nothing for the first few years of secondary school

#12 Jem

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 12:18 PM

Personally i think coursework is a really good way of assessing someones ability to research and analyse lots of material while keeping their essay concise and to the point. I sometimes find that having to do an exam puts so much pressure on me that i ramble on about anything i can think of. This, i feel, is not a real assessment of my abilities. Writing coursework and researching it for ourselves is also a great way of slowly getting into the university style of teaching, and i know personally i will find this extremly helpful in the future. It stops us being dependant on teachers and gives the examiner a real insight into a student's capability. It also makes the subject a lot more interesting to learn about as you are making the effort to research it and can specifically focus on things that you want to read about.
Obviously i think exams are important in seeing how well one can write under pressure, in a timed condition, with no idea of the question but i think more emphasis should be put on the coursework as this would not only be a better way of assessing a students capablities but will take the pressure of at exam time. Of course there may be a concern that some teachers ( obviuosly only a minority!!) might help their students more then they should which would lead to an unfair advantage to some schools but i'm sure this could be overcome perhaps with outside moderation or some other safeguards in place that would stop this happening.

#13 Satirical

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 08:25 PM

I agree with you Jem. Coursework is especially productive and advantageous...I am enjoy my A2 task more than the GCSE simply because I get to choose my own topic. I picked something I was deeply interested in, and therefore I can reveal my potential by doing something I find fun.

On a more ontopic side, I simply love when teachers have a great rapport with students through questions. If you teach something, asking questions from that something the following lesson helps more than one can imagine. It sounds pretty basic but that's what helps me a lot. I had three teachers in the past...two asked questions and set practical tasks - not only were their lessons AMAZING, but I found out that on the exam day I did not even have to revise their topics much.
Everything was in my brain already, and when I had a revision session with my friend I knew every answer to every question he asked me.
On the other hand, the teacher who never asked us questions and simply handed sheets was good too (in a different way) but not nearly as successful. The lessons were not as fun, there were difficulties and I only memorised everything the way I wanted to by making detailed plans for every lesson and going through them a few times at home. It was much more stressful since I take in information best during the school timetable.

I also recommend courtroom dramas. You can simulate a courtroom drama for any historical topic be it an actual case like Plessy vs Ferguson or just pretending to be Martin Luther in front of the Council and trying to get the emperor to join the Reformation. Sometimes our teacher filmed us, and we did our best because we knew he'd show it to other classes. That way we prepared (and learned in the process) and we collaborated.

I personally do not find self-assessment that useful. It works for some mistakes and errors but for example, if a pupil has a structure problem and cannot master the argument-evidence-argument essay "skeleton" it is hard for him/her to get better just by self-assessment. I think it's just a matter of opinion here...but from experience, teacher help always worked best over self-assessment or being graded by a peer (especially if he's not interested in the subject and talking about ANYTHING but history *Sigh*. Yeah that's how it usually is LOL.)

When I did something I suppose could be labeled as work experience as a teacher, I actually had the opportunity to assist for a whole school year on top of my classes. One tactic me and the teacher employed was actually being both strict and indulgent at the same time. What I mean by that is yes, by all means have a trip to the country/place relevant to your topic but instead of making it an all-year activity you could try something else. What we did was set a grade-pass...anyone with a B or above on a certain test could go, anyone with a C or below missed the opportunity. They were small trips, but interesting enough...we did them periodically and by the end of the year out of 29 pupils, 27 got B and above...a great improvement from the Ds and Cs from the start! I'm not sure if it'd work here in England but if it's okay, then yup I suggest that.

I'll let you know if I can think of anything else. My brain is pretty fried from the heat right now. ;)

#14 gaz1221

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 06:08 PM

In my school definitley,(i think most but not sure!!!)
They dont often give us are national curiculum levels on course work they just mark hig low or medium. I think we should get levels more often so we can see is we are getting better compared to sats and other coursework.

I also recommend courtroom dramas. You can simulate a courtroom drama for any historical topic be it an actual case like Plessy vs Ferguson or just pretending to be Martin Luther in front of the Council and trying to get the emperor to join the Reformation. Sometimes our teacher filmed us, and we did our best because we knew he'd show it to other classes. That way we prepared (and learned in the process) and we collaborated.

we also done this in my junior school and it was great fun!!

Edited by gaz1221, 01 December 2004 - 06:09 PM.


#15 laura_h

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:01 PM

at gsce i did humanities instead of indie subjects and i actually really enjoyed the c/w, however i absolutely hated coursework in all my other subjects and just wished for exams as coursework needed a hell of a lot of motivation. however now i am sitting my AS levels this summer and none of my subjects (german, history, bus stud or philosophy) do any coursework in the first year and i would absolutely murder for coursework, espec in history because it is so much harder, remembering names, dates, places and events compared to coursework which was generally source qs in hums. to be blunt GSCEs are very spoonfed but at AS level it would be a lot more beneficial to have coursework in both the first and second years




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