January 2022
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New GCSE OCR Explaining the Modern World. An acquired taste? or Hobson’s choice


Now that the new GCSE history (9-1) specifications have nearly all been accredited, it is time to start making some hard choices. For teachers of the popular legacy OCR Modern World Course, the choices will be that bit tougher. It’s the thematic component that worries me most. There are three options. You can either do [...]

History GCSE results 2015

This year’s results show a rise in A*-C from 68.1 % last year to 69.1% this, but the proportion gaining A* fell.  from 10% to 9.6%. The gap between the boys’ performance at A* (7%) and girl s’ 12% had widened. Oddly the number of entries fell by 9,000.

Somehow the government are claiming that poorer [...]

New GCSE history sample assessment material

As we await OFQUAL’s validation of the draft specifications, I thought I’d drill into the sample assessment materials to see whether a new style of exam questions was emerging. My first sample took me to SHP OCR B and the topic called Norman conequest 1065-1087. To my horror I found one of the two questions [...]

More YO! Sushi history GCSE course from WJEC for 2016 ?

I have been asked to conclude my round-up of new GCSE offerings from 2016 by evaluating the Welsh exam board’s draft specification. Given that we will know the fate of each of them, fairly soon, I will not go into detail other than to point out the obvious issues. The chief of these seems to [...]

Draft AQA proposals for new GCSE history from 2016

Some thoughts on the new AQA GCSE history proposal for first teaching in 2016.
Of all the new specifications this is the only one which landed on the front page of the national newspapers. This was largely to do with one of the options entitle conflict and tension 1990-2009. AQA would like to claim some other [...]

Thoughts on new GCSE history spec from Pearson

Some thoughts on the Pearson (Edexcel) draft proposal for new GCSE history from 2016
As I read through Pearsons’ draft proposals for the new GCSE history specification which they will be submitting to OFQUAL next month, several thoughts occur. I mention these only because I have heard many schools enthusiastically voting for this as their preferred [...]

Are you aware of radical changes to GCSE history from September 2013?

In case you haven’t picked up the changes to GCSE for September 2013, (the ones Gove wanted in order to ‘strengthen’ GCSE history), you need to get up to speed. The implications are likely to be very significant. Take one of the market leaders, for example. The effect on the teaching of OCR Modern [...]

Putting GCSE history out of its misery

Today, 17th September, saw the much heralded announcement from Gove about the shape of new GCSEs. There are some interesting and bold decisions but also some woolliness too.

So what is he saying?

1. There will in future be JUST ONE EXAM BOARD for history, something I have been advocating for years.
“In each subject area only one exam [...]

Progression from GCSE to A level history

Do you know what the likelihood of getting an A grade in A level history if you started the course with a B in GCSE history? Well the National Pupil Database has recently been released which gives you the data you need. The answer is that just 6% do. The chances of them getting an [...]

The draft Framework of the new National Curriculum . What it means for history, in a nutshell.

The Framework for the National Curriculum
As you may already have read, the report from the Expert Panel was published a week before Christmas. About as indigestible as the worst Christmas pudding, the report deals only with broad issues of structure. As always the devil is in the detail, but there are some interesting points raised. [...]