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The DfE is conducting a review of the primary and secondary National Curriculum.
This site contains the statutory programmes of study for National Curriculum subjects which maintained schools must follow until a new curriculum is in place.

Exemplification for foundation subjects

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History exemplification standards file level 6

Pupil's profile

Pupil D is enthusiastic about history. He likes to challenge the opinions of others, but is also a skilled facilitator of small group discussions. He responds well to independent enquiry and imaginative ways of communicating history. His written work is usually based on accurate knowledge, but it sometimes lacks scope and depth of analysis.

Evidence groups

 

Why did different people join the First Crusade?

Context

This work was part of a study of the First Crusade. To help pupils gain a basic understanding of the causes, course and consequences of the First Crusade the teacher provided an introduction to the Crusades and an outline narrative of the First Crusade. She then asked the pupils to develop their own enquiry questions about an aspect of the First Crusade and to decide how to communicate their findings. The pupils completed their enquiry independently.

Pupil's work

1.Letter from a crusader [pdf 35kb]
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Letter from a crusader

Assessment Commentary

Pupil D’s work demonstrates a growing knowledge of the nature of conflict in the past. He is curious about the experiences of different people in different periods.

Thinking historically:
Pupil D’s letter shows accurate historical knowledge of people and events. He has used his knowledge to describe some of the diverse experiences of the crusaders and shown he understands some of the reasons why different people joined the First Crusade. He has considered the motivation of an individual knight and referred to the motivation of others. However his writing is limited in scope and depth.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil D has used his own enquiry question to investigate an historical problem and issue. He refined his question as he carried out his enquiry. His letter is well structured and communicates his findings in a relevant and appropriate way.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil D needs to:

  • draw conclusions about the extent and nature of diversity in different periods and situations

  • explain the relationship between causes in more depth.

What caused the downfall of Charles I?

Context

The teacher chose the king’s downfall as the focus of the enquiry to encourage pupils to think not only about the reasons for the king’s execution but also about the broader causes of the English Civil War. She also wanted them to practise their causal reasoning through diagrams and other visual representations. Earlier in the enquiry, pupils had studied a narrative of events leading to the outbreak of war in 1642 and then produced diagrams to show the connections between causal factors. After studying the progress of the war and the lead up to the execution, pupils worked independently to create diagrams to explain Charles I’s downfall.

Pupil's work

Diagram: How did Charles I lose his head?

Assessment Commentary

Pupil D’s work reveals his developing interest in the causes of historical events. He has produced a relevant, structured causal explanation that goes beyond simple narrative or description. His argument is sustained and consistent, but only considers one causal factor in depth. 

Thinking historically:
Pupil D has drawn on his knowledge of events during the period 1625-49 to explain the downfall of Charles l. He has begun to explain the important part that religious divisions played.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil D has considered carefully the most appropriate way to communicate his findings. Drawing on his period knowledge, he has selected and clearly presented relevant sources that support his explanation of the downfall of the king. His diagram answers the question directly, but is limited in scope.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil D needs to:

  • consider a wider range of factors when explaining why things happened in history

  • explain the relationships between different causal factors in more depth.

Why do people still disagree about Oliver Cromwell?

Context

The teacher planned a unit of work that would stimulate pupils’ interest in Cromwell and the politics of 17th-century Britain. She wanted pupils to think about the reasons why Cromwell had continued to be such a controversial figure so she challenged pupils to answer the question ‘Why do people still disagree about Oliver Cromwell?’ This enquiry gave pupils an opportunity to relate past events to the present day and to think about the nature of a republic and the changing face of political power in Britain.

After studying key events in Cromwell’s life, the class studied different interpretations of Cromwell that showed how he had been remembered. These included the 1968 film Cromwell, the Pogues’ song ‘Young Ned of the Hill’ and extracts from popular English and Irish history books of different periods. Before writing their essay pupils discussed the features of these different interpretations and considered how and why they were produced.

Pupil's work

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Essay: Why do people still disagree about Oliver Cromwell?

Assessment Commentary

Pupil D’s work reveals his depth of interest in Cromwell and in the ways in which Cromwell’s life has been interpreted. His contributions to class discussions, independent analysis of sources and explanation of why people still disagree about Cromwell show that he has a developing understanding of the features of historical interpretations.

Exploring interpretations:
Pupil D’s essay shows that he has an understanding of how and why the 1970 film Cromwell and the 1985 Pogues song were produced. He has begun to use his historical knowledge and chronological understanding to place interpretations in their cultural context, although his comments on the differences between Irish and English interpretations are at a simplistic level.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil D’s writing is relevant and well structured. He captures the interest of readers, provides a clear explanation and substantiates his points.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil D needs to:

  • explore the features of a wider range of historical interpretations

  • develop a more complex understanding of the relationship between national identity and interpretations of history.

How can we challenge generalisations about Britain’s transatlantic slave trade?

Context

This piece of work was produced at the end of an enquiry into the complexity of Britain’s transatlantic slave trade. The enquiry built on pupils’ knowledge of the British Empire and their understanding of the origins of ethnic and cultural diversity in Britain.

Pupils worked in small groups to complete detailed studies of different African kingdoms and empires. They used their knowledge to challenge generalisations and stereotypical views about Africa before the transatlantic slave trade. They then studied life on slave plantations in the West Indies, the impact of the transatlantic slave trade on Britain and the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

For each aspect, pupils considered their own and other people’s generalisations and then challenged them. Working independently they produced an annotated map showing how generalisations could be challenged.

Pupil's work

Annotated map on the transatlantic slave trade

Assessment Commentary

Pupil D has described the characteristic features of the transatlantic slave trade. He has shown a growing understanding of the diverse experiences of the people involved.

Thinking historically:
Pupil D has used his detailed knowledge to challenge a number of generalisations and stereotypes. His detailed map shows that he understands the complexity of the transatlantic slave trade and, to a limited extent, the diversity of people’s experiences. It clearly demonstrates his understanding of the nature of generalisations about aspects of the transatlantic slave trade.

Historical enquiry:
Although his teacher set the enquiry question, Pupil D worked independently during his investigation. He selected and evaluated a range of sources to establish relevant evidence that might allow him to challenge generalisations. His annotated map communicates his findings clearly and in a well-structured way.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil D needs to:

  • use a wider range of specific examples to describe the diverse experiences of people in past societies

  • develop a broader understanding of the diverse values and beliefs of people in the past.

How should we tell the story of British India?

Context

Pupils produced three pieces of work as part of a unit on the changing relationships between the Indians and the British during the 19th century. They studied five little-known stories and used these to illustrate the wider trends characterising the changing relationships.

Pupils summarised the stories independently then placed them on a graph to show how relations between the Indians and the British could be characterised as friendly and trusting, or as unfriendly and violent, at different points in time. In pairs, discussed the positions of their stories on the graph before making their final decisions.

To conclude, the teacher asked pupils to write a proposal for a TV documentary focusing on the changing relationship between the Indians and the British in the 19th century. They were required to pay particular attention to the ways in which general trends and changes could be illuminated by case studies.

Pupil's work

Graph: relationship between India and Britain in 19th-century

Pupil D was able to use his graph to explain the overall pattern of Indian-British relationship during the nineteenth century.

Letter to imaginary documentary maker

Letter to imaginary documentary maker (cont.)

Assessment Commentary

Pupil D is developing an in-depth understanding of the development of the British Empire and its impact on both the rulers and the ruled.

Thinking historically:
Pupil D’s graph and his oral responses show that he was able to reach some conclusions about continuity and change in relations between the Indians and the British. His suggestions for the documentary programme show an understanding of how different people were affected by the events of 1857. However, he is confused about the term ‘memsahib’ and, more importantly, his focus on the 1857 rebellion does not allow him to demonstrate an understanding of change and continuity across the century.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil D independently investigated the individual stories and their relationship to the bigger picture. He has used his period knowledge to construct a clearly presented graph. He has written a persuasive letter, but has not made full use of his period knowledge to reach his own conclusions about change and continuity.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil D needs to:

  • use historical terms more accurately
  • make more substantiated judgements about the nature of change and continuity in past societies.

Why is it difficult to find a reliable source about child labour conditions in 19th-century Britain?

Context

This work formed part of an independent investigation into children’s work in 19th- century Britain. At the outset, the teacher used a selection of Victorian paintings to stimulate interest in the lives of poor children. Pupils came up with a range of questions to ask about children’s work at the time. With some support from his teacher, Pupil D devised the enquiry question ‘How far did the working conditions of children improve in Victorian Britain?’ The teacher encouraged pupils to use genuine collections of sources to investigate their chosen issue. She wanted pupils to wrestle with some of the difficulties facing historians when investigating child labour in the 19th century.

Following whole-class discussions about the reliability and usefulness of a number of sources, pupils wrote responses to the question ‘Why is it difficult to find a reliable source about child labour conditions?’

Pupil's work

Essay: Why is it difficult to find a reliable source about child labour conditions?’

Essay: Why is it difficult to find a reliable source about child labour conditions?’ (cont.)

Assessment Commentary

Pupil D’s work reveals a genuine interest in the working lives of children in 19th-century Britain.

Historical enquiry:
With some support from his teacher, he has devised his own enquiry question. He has described some of the difficulties facing historians when investigating child labour, including the contexts in which sources are produced. This shows that he is developing his ability to evaluate sources. However, his comments are sometimes confused. His view that, in the end, finding an ‘honest report’ is the only hope for historians, reveals the limits of his evidential understanding.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil D needs to:

  • devise and refine his own enquiry questions about further historical issues

  • evaluate particular sources and use them constructively as evidence for historical enquiries.

Overall assessment judgement

History exemplification standards level 6

Overall, Pupil D is working at level 6.

Thinking historically:
Pupil D’s work shows his knowledge of a wide range of historical periods and his understanding of the characteristic features of past societies. He has used accurate historical knowledge of people and events to describe the diverse experiences, values and beliefs of people in the past. He has reached conclusions about change and continuity within a particular period of history. He now needs to be challenged to explain change and continuity across different periods.

Exploring interpretations:
Pupil D has explored the features of different interpretations and considered how and why they have been constructed. He has used his historical knowledge and chronological understanding to place interpretations in their cultural context. His teachers now need to provide him with opportunities to apply and review criteria for making judgements about the significance of historical events, changes and individuals.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil D has begun to refine his enquiry questions. He has selected sources to establish evidence for particular enquiries and shown that he understands some of the challenges that historians face in using historical sources. He needs further opportunities to develop his skills in evaluating sources.

He has produced well-structured: explanations that go beyond simple narrative or description and are appropriate to the purpose and nature of his enquiries. His arguments are sustained and consistent, but sometimes lack depth. In particular, his teachers need to encourage him to produce more complex causal explanations.

The extracts of pupil work below are a reminder of some of the evidence used to make these judgements.

Pupil's work

Examples of pupil's work

Examples of pupil's work

3.Examples of pupil's work [png 286kb]

Examples of pupil's work

See evidence group tabs for all examples of work

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