March 2015
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New GCSE history assessment weightings from 2016

So, we have 4 assessment objectives from 2016. What do colleagues feel about the balance? AO1 ‘ demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the key features and characteristics of the periods studied’ is weighted at 35% . so is ‘ explaining and analysing historical events and periods studied using second-order historical concepts. That;s 70 % between them leaving only a meagre 30% for BOTH ‘analysing and evaluating sources’ to make substantiated judgements in the context of historical events studied’ adn AO4 analysing , evaluating and making judgements about interpretations ( including how and why historians may differ) in the context of events studied.
I am intrigued by where the weighting for source analysis will fall. Will it be, as seems sensible, the local study? If so that leaves precious little for the other elements. How much time will be devoted to source analysis in the depth studies, I wonder?
When it comes to interpretations- mysteriously and indefensibly absent from GCSE courses in the past- it is clear that of the 15% allocated ” at least half of the marks should be allocated to element d ( evaluate and make substantiated judgements about interpretations in the context of historical events studied. ( source OFQUAL’s supplementary guidance Feb 2015)> This leaves a maximum of just 7% for all of ‘analysing individual interpretation, analysing how interpretations differ and analysing why interpretations differ’
Taken crudely, kids get about 2 or 3 marks for being able to analyse why historical interpretations differ!

I can’t wait for the ink to dry on the sample papers in early in the summer term.

I remain unconvinced that the weightings of this new GCSE will lead to better outcomes than the old in terms of a coherent 11-16 experience of history.

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