September 2010
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A2, AS and GCSE history: hard but popular?

This summer’s exam results make interesting reading. Did you know that:

1. The numbers taking GCSE history rose last year. 221,000 students sat the exam. Nearly a quarter of a million students can’t be wrong-at a time when the competition is so fierce.

2. A Level numbers also rose, making history the 5th most popular A level subject behing English, Maths, Biology and Psychology

3. AS numbers also rose

4. Only 7% of history students got an A* at A level , below the 8.1% average

5. There are still massive ( and totally unacceptable inconsistencies between exam boards, courses within those boards and ( more understandably) between modules taken at different times.

This woeful situation has prompted a rash of posts on the Schoolhistory forum, but it has also led to an enquiry into standards in GCSE Science. Here the problem is not just inconsistency it is also one of dumbing down-hardly an accusation that can be levelled against history. I leave it to a contributor to the TES comments on the science situation to make you realise what a difficult it is getting kids good grades in history , compared to science.

The better schools chose AQA because they have an eye on preparing their students for A-levels in sciences. Some of the questions for the specification I teach are a complete joke, one year a crossword even appeared on a paper!

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