July 2015
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Teaching A level and AS history: using examiners' reports

We often glance at Chief Examiners reports quite a while after the dust of last year’s results has settled. I am advocating a more pro-active use. What is it that examiners tell us candidates find difficulty with when it comes to exams.I’m not talking about question-answering technique or time management: what I’m going to focus on is using the reports as part of my planning for a given topic. Students will probably need more time on the areas that have proved tricky in the past. I will probably need to think about a varied approach one that involves considerable activity on the students part. To ensure that students cover the whole span of the question I need to repeat activities e .g. living graphs that ensure students look at every year. What about this observation from an AS examiner from 2013:

. Many answers,however, were wholly focused on a retrospective view from 1870–71 and did not deal

sufficiently with developments from 1862, such as the Brigands War, the acquisition of

Venetia in 1866 and the way the actions of the Papacy, such as the promulgation of the

Syllabus of Errors, deepened divisions between Church and State.

How do we ensure that this does not apply to our students?

I will be showcasing a number of these commments and then thinking of the implictions for our teaching. If you’d like to contribute to the debate hit the contact us button.

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