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AQA A level historical investigation-guidance level for students

Discussion in 'History' started by annajordan, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. annajordan

    annajordan New commenter

    AQA specify that, when checking drafts of a student's work you must not comment or provide suggestions on how they could improve it.
    In my view, the personal study has increased in demand whilst removing support for students:
    1) The requirements to directly compare and evaluate historical interpretations is a demand not encountered in the course of exam preparation for units 1 and 2.
    2) Equally, in an essay 3000 words long, integrating 3 source evaluations of primary sources without either writing at the same length as they would do per source for Unit 2 exams or making the evaluations read as 'standalone' is an increased demand.
    To my mind, both of these are more undergraduate skills if one expects students to be able to draft an answer which requires no comment or suggestion on how to improve.
    Given that it is still worth 20% of the overall A level, and that weaker students could very easily crash and burn without support I was wondering how other people are approaching this.
    I have written to AQA but haven't had an answer.....

    Whilst I'm asking, has anyone found it possible to give them any school time to write this, or is the increased content filling all your time?

    Please PM me if you don't want to post!
  2. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    This year we gave one lesson a week in the winter term to Y13 for coursework writing. Minimal teacher input, no individual comments, but a lot of broad suggestions and examples of "doing a context paragraph right" or "writing an introduction." Students were writing theirs on the French Revolution and I wrote my examples on Tokugawa Japan.

    Next year we're blocking off every lesson in the first half term for coursework and are going to do a lot of related activities and assessments - having them do a paper 2 style question on a source (same period, but not one used for the coursework), or a paper 1 style question on an interpretation (again, same topic, not one they're using). Then we can mark and feedback on that related assessment and hopefully they can apply the skills to the real thing.

    Increased content isn't really filling all my time right now - just finishing off the last bits of paper 2 with my Y13 now.
    xuyinloveguardian likes this.
  3. xuyinloveguardian

    xuyinloveguardian New commenter

    Dear Varcolac,
    I am interested in doing the Tokugawa Japan topic this year as well. But i didn't manage to come up with an argument / any primary resources. Can i trouble you to give me some suggestion? Thank you!
  4. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    My suggestion would be "don't". I used Tokugawa Japan as my examples (to show the students how to write without writing about the same topic) because I specialised in it as an undergraduate. Therefore I had a readily-available trove of resources and footnotes. I essentially butchered my own undergrad dissertation to procure those examples. Much of the scholarship is either in Japanese, or in obscure academic journals on 17th century theatrical practices.

    As I said, we taught the French Revolution for coursework. There are literally dozens of historians, primary sources and easily identifiable debates out there. Our students also covered this at KS3, and "The French Revolution" is a topic in the wider history of the western world that most students can identify key features of, providing them with an easy access point and greater ability to process the debates between Marxist and traditional interpretations. If you want to teach the Tokugawa Shogunate as a 3,000-word A-level coursework (its rise, its fall, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, sengoku, baku-han, daimyō, bakumatsu, ukiyo, bunraku, kabuki, dejima, rangaku, Perry and the Black Ships all the way up to the Boshin War and the end of the Shogunate) then you will very much be the blind leading the blind, and none of you will be Zatōichi.

    It took me 4 years to get to a point where I could assess the extent to which the Tokugawa Bakufu was successful with its programme of censorship in popular culture. It took me 3 of those years to even start to be able to have a working definition of what half of those things are. It's a fascinating era, full of rich debate and complexity, but unless you've a competence in Japanese for the primary sources and a deep understanding of the sociocultural context of 17th-19th century East Asia, I fear you'd do your students a gross disservice by teaching them a coursework unit with which both you and they will be completely unfamiliar.

  5. gedkeane

    gedkeane New commenter

    SAdly, it is more or less the same with Edexcel but I only hope the moderation from coursework markers is better with AQA as last year I had my marks butchered by our 'moderator' after being told at a course in London to give the best marks we can and "remember these guys are only 17 and not undergrads".
    Thhat said, anyone know three differing historians which are accessible for Yr 13 students regarding Ind REvoltion for use in their coursework?

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