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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 8

Pupil's profile

Pupil F is very interested in history. She is often inspired to read more widely around the topics she studies in class and particularly enjoys reading historical fiction. She likes to research different historical issues and always plays an active part in class discussions and debates. She is a competent writer who enjoys the challenge of communicating her findings in a range of ways.

Evidence groups

 

What was the impact of the Norman Conquest on Anglo-Saxon society?

Context

Pupil F wrote this work as her response to a study of the Norman Conquest. Using a selection of books, websites and documentaries she researched the key events of 1065–87. Following her research into a local event – the 1086 siege of the castle at Montacute – she decided to pursue an enquiry into the impact of the Norman Conquest on Anglo-Saxon society. She chose to communicate her findings by writing an historical short story.

Her teacher encouraged her to weave her historical knowledge into the story in order to give readers a good understanding of the broader historical context. Pupil F worked with an A level art student to produce illustrations.

Pupil's work

Historical short story (page 1)

Historical short story (page 2)

Historical short story (page 3)

Historical short story (page 4)

Historical short story (page 5)

Historical short story (page 6)

Historical short story (page 7)

Historical short story (page 8)

Assessment Commentary

Pupil F has used fictional characters and a real event to explain the impact of the Norman Conquest on Anglo-Saxon society. It is a coherent and wide-ranging piece of work supported by precise and accurate detail. She demonstrated a high level of independence in conducting this historical enquiry.

Thinking historically:
In order to write the historical short story, Pupil F drew on her detailed and accurate knowledge of national and local events from 1065 to 1087. Her work shows a sound knowledge of the main changes and continuities during these years, including the nature of military conquest, castle building, rebellion, land ownership and taxation. She also shows a highly developed sense of period. She has rooted her story not only in the characteristic features of the period, but also in local and individual experiences. Her work contains one or two minor anachronisms, but overall the period detail is accurate. 

Historical enquiry:
Pupil F independently investigated the main events of 1065–87 and decided on the focus of her enquiry. Without support, she gathered and critically evaluated a wide range of sources to establish reasoned conclusions. She shows a good understanding of the features of historical fiction and has produced a well-written and engaging story based on accurate historical knowledge

Next steps

To progress, Pupil F needs to:

  • develop an understanding of change and continuity across different periods of history.

Did Plantagenet kings face similar challenges?

Context

This enquiry focused on the challenges facing the first three Plantagenet kings: Henry II, Richard I and John. Pupils watched a drama-documentary about the relationship between Henry and his sons before working in groups of three to investigate the challenges faced by each monarch. After some initial research, Pupil F’s group decided that all three kings faced challenges connected to family, nobility, foreign powers, finance and religion. Each pupil in the group investigated the specific challenges faced by one king. Pupil designed her own note-making format and used a wide range of sources in her investigation. 

At the end of the enquiry, the teacher asked Pupil F’s group to devise an appropriate way to communicate their findings. The group chose to write a play in which the three kings were brought back to life. They wrote the playscript together, with Pupil F taking a lead. The three pupils performed their play for the class.

Pupil's work

Playscript illustrating the challenges faced by Henry II, Richard I and John (page 1)

Playscript illustrating the challenges faced by Henry II, Richard I and John (page 2)

Playscript illustrating the challenges faced by Henry II, Richard I and John (page 3)

Playscript illustrating the challenges faced by Henry II, Richard I and John (page 4)

Assessment Commentary

Pupil F is developing an excellent knowledge of the evolution of political power in Britain. She has defined the characteristic features of a past society and made substantiated judgements about the diverse experiences of people in the past. Her written and oral work was relevant, based on sound historical knowledge and clearly expressed.  

Thinking historically:
The playscript provides a detailed comparison of the challenges faced by Henry II, Richard I and John. It also shows an understanding of the characteristic features of medieval kingship and of its diversity. The playscript format allowed an implicit comparison of the challenges faced by the three kings, but it did not support a clear and substantiated judgement on the extent to which the kings faced similar challenges. 

Historical enquiry:
Working as part of a team, Pupil F was able to define the precise focus of the enquiry. As the enquiry progressed, she refined and evaluated the lines of enquiry. She introduced clarity into the group’s thinking by suggesting the different challenges they should investigate.

She researched the issues independently and used a wide range of sources. Her contribution to the playscript demonstrated a mature writing style underpinned by clear thinking and accurate historical knowledge.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil F needs to:

  • ensure that selected forms and structures allow a direct and complete response to the enquiry question.

How historically significant was the Peasants’ Revolt?

Context

This work was the final part of an enquiry into the historical significance of the Peasants’ Revolt. At the outset, the teacher captured the pupils’ interest by focusing on the execution of some of the rebels. Pupils then used a range of texts, images and dramatic reconstructions to study the causes of the Peasants’ revolt, the main events during the summer of 1381 and the eventual collapse of the revolt.

In the final stages of the enquiry, pupils were given three criteria to help them make judgements about the historical significance of the Peasants’ Revolt:

  • the Peasants’ Revolt was remarkable because it represented a break with existing modes of behaviour

  • the Peasants’ Revolt resulted in change

  • the Peasants’ Revolt has resonance because people make connections between the revolt and subsequent protests.

Pupil F worked with a partner to write a script for a radio programme in which a ‘history professor’ was interviewed about the historical significance of the Peasants’ Revolt.

Pupil's work

Script: the historical significance of the Peasants’ Revolt (page 1)

Script: the historical significance of the Peasants’ Revolt (page 2)

Script: the historical significance of the Peasants’ Revolt (page 3)

Assessment Commentary

Pupil F has developed a good understanding of the nature of political power and protest in medieval Britain. She has communicated confidently and precisely, applying criteria to judge the historical significance of events.

Exploring interpretations:
The questions and answers in the interview show that Pupil F can construct a coherent and wide-ranging analysis of the ways in which different criteria can be used to make a judgement about the significance of the Peasants’ Revolt. However, the format did not allow her to explain how judgements about significance may vary according to the perspectives of those making them.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil F has written a clear and confident script that draws appropriately on her detailed knowledge of the Peasants’ Revolt. She has used historical terms accurately and communicated effectively. 

Next steps

To progress, Pupil F needs to:

  • explain why people make different judgements about the significance of historical events, changes and individuals.

Why did England’s first colony fail?

Context

This enquiry challenged pupils to write a clear and detailed explanation of why Roanoke, England’s first colony in North America, failed. Pupils developed an understanding of the complex issues surrounding the first encounters between the English colonists and the indigenous people of north-east America by investigating:

  • European exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries

  • Raleigh’s preparations and the voyage to North America in 1585

  • the first encounters between the colonists and the First Nation people

  • the attempt to create a colony on Roanoke and the ensuing conflict.

At stages 2, 3 and 4, pupils analysed the events and decided how they contributed to the ultimate failure of the colony. At the end of the enquiry, Pupil F produced her explanation in the form of a magazine article. She wrote the article as an analytical narrative using her own sub-questions to provide a clear structure.

Pupil's work

Magazine article on failure of Roanoke (page 1)

Magazine article on failure of Roanoke (pages 2 & 3)

Magazine article on failure of Roanoke (pages 4 & 5)

Magazine article on failure of Roanoke

Assessment commentary

Pupil F has developed an excellent understanding of colonisation and its impact on different people in Britain and overseas. Using what she found from her independent investigations she has constructed coherent, supported and wide-ranging arguments about the causes of an historical event.

Thinking historically:
Pupil F’s article shows a wide-ranging and detailed knowledge of the reasons for the failure of England’s first colony. She has analysed the different causes and convincingly argued that the underlying reason for the failure was to be found in the attitudes and actions of Europeans and the inevitable clash of cultures that ensued.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil F’s magazine article is clear, sustained and engaging. Her writing is confident and precise and she uses historical terms accurately. She has drawn conclusions from a range of source materials and produced a relevant, structured and detailed piece of work.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil F needs to:

  • investigate the causes of historical events in further contexts.

Should Edward Colston’s statue be removed?

Context

This work was produced at the end of an investigation into whether the statue of Edward Colston should be removed from Bristol. The enquiry gave pupils the opportunity to develop outline knowledge of Britain’s transatlantic slave trade and of Bristol’s part in the trade.

The focus of the enquiry was Edward Colston’s role in Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, and, in particular, on the ways in which people in Bristol have remembered him. The enquiry helped pupils to relate past events to the present day by demonstrating why Colston continues to be a controversial figure in Bristol.

After studying the background to Bristol’s role in Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, pupils used a range of sources to investigate the life and work of Edward Colston. The teacher introduced different interpretations to show how Colston had been remembered at various points in time. Pupils explored the features of these historical interpretations and considered how and why they were constructed. At the end of the enquiry, pupils focused on the controversy surrounding the statue of Edward Colston, erected in 1895. The statue idealised him as a revered Bristol benefactor and was silent about his role in the slave trade. At the end of the enquiry Pupil P wrote an essay in response to the enquiry question. 

Pupil's work

Essay: Should Colston’s statue be removed? (page 1)

Essay: Should Colston’s statue be removed? (page 2)

Essay: Should Colston’s statue be removed? (page 3)

Assessment commentary

Pupil F is developing a sound knowledge of the British Empire and its impact on different people in Britain and overseas. She has explained how and why people have constructed different interpretations of the past.

Exploring interpretations:
In the first part of her essay, Pupil F has described some of the different interpretations of Colston and how these have changed over time. She explained why many people in Victorian Bristol had a positive view of him and why they erected a statue in his honour. However, she did not explore the features of the statue and the attitudes of those who commissioned it in depth. In the final part of her essay, she explored some of the complexity in the debates about the future of the statue.

Historical enquiry:
Pupil F independently investigated the background to Britain’s transatlantic slave trade and Colston’s part in the trade. Her essay was clearly argued and deployed detailed and accurate historical knowledge.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil F needs to:

  • explain in more depth how and why people construct different interpretations.

Why have interpretations of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift changed over time?

Context

This section of an essay was produced at the end of an enquiry into changing interpretations of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. Pupils were challenged to explain how historical interpretations of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift changed as a result of changing attitudes towards the British Empire.

After studying the battle, pupils were given five interpretations. These were an 1879 painting by Elizabeth Butler, the 1964 Cy Endfield film Zulu, Monty Python’s 1983 film The Meaning of Life, a 2001 cartoon showing Tony Blair dressed in 19th century regalia in Afghanistan and a 2003 newspaper article from the Daily Express about the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, which contained a sub-text linking it to the invasion of Iraq. Pupil F selected three of these interpretations and used them to explain how interpretations of the battle changed over time, and for what reasons this occurred. She wrote her essay under exam conditions.

Pupil's work

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Essay on Battle of Rorke's Drift

Assessment commentary

Pupil F’s detailed and focused piece of analysis clearly shows her understanding of the ways in which historical interpretations are products of their time. She has used period knowledge to substantiate her explanation.

Thinking historically:
Pupil F has demonstrated a wide-ranging knowledge of different historical periods. Throughout, she has used her knowledge of the British Empire and its decline to help explain why interpretations of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift changed. She has drawn on period detail, such as of the Civil Rights Movement or the war in Afghanistan, to substantiate her explanations. She has also drawn on her understanding of change, particularly in her conclusion where she explicitly located historical interpretations within a changing society.

Using Interpretations:
Pupil F has consistently and lucidly explained how historical interpretations are constructed and, for each interpretation selected, provided a detailed account of why the interpretation was created in that way. This is characteristic of level 7. However, Pupil F’s analysis is coherent, detailed and substantiated and this is characteristic of level 8.

She has used her wide-ranging contextual knowledge to situate each interpretation in its period and towards the end of her essay she has provided a clear account of how the Battle of Rorke’s Drift came to mean different things at different times.

Next steps

To progress, Pupil F needs to:

  • construct analyses of a wider range of historical interpretations in different contexts.

Overall assessment judgement

History exemplification standards level 8

Overall, Pupil F is working at level 8.

Thinking historically:
Pupil F has an extensive and detailed knowledge of a range of historical periods, people and events. She has defined the characteristic features of past societies and made substantiated judgements about the diverse experiences of people in the past. She can construct coherent, supported and wide-ranging arguments about the causes of historical events and about changes within periods. She now needs further opportunities to make substantiated judgements about the nature of change and continuity across different periods of history.

Exploring interpretations:
Pupil F can apply criteria for judging the historical significance of events. She has explained how and why people have constructed different interpretations of the past. Her teachers now need to provide her with more opportunities to construct coherent, supported and wide-ranging analyses of historical interpretations and judgements of historical significance. 

Historical enquiry:
Pupil F showed a high level of independence in conducting historical enquiries. She pursued investigations by defining and refining enquiry questions and by establishing her own lines of enquiry. She has independently gathered and critically evaluated a wide range of sources to establish reasoned conclusions.

She has communicated her findings in a range of ways. Her written and oral work is relevant, based on sound historical knowledge and clearly expressed. She can construct coherent and wide-ranging explanations and arguments, supported by precise and accurate detail.

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

Pupil's work

1.Examples of pupil's work [png 449kb]

Examples of pupil's work

2.Examples of pupil's work [jpg 429kb]

Examples of pupil's work

3.Examples of pupil's work [png 519kb]

Examples of pupil's work

See evidence group tabs for all examples of work

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