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AQA History A-level

Discussion in 'History' started by dougclucas, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. dougclucas

    dougclucas New commenter

    Dear all,
    I am new to using this so apologies if there is already a similar thread. I am just reviewing my A-level options now that we are coming to the end of the first new A-level course. We are currently with Edexcel for both A-level and GCSE and one thing that we have found as a department its that this A-level has been very hard to deliver in the manner we'd like. The shear weight of content is such that I feel we have had to rush through topics (we currently teach the following: Unit 1 - Stuart Britain, Unit 2 - Revolutionary Russia and Unit 3 - Britain losing and gaining an Empire). They are all interesting courses but because we have had to cover so much I don't feel they have always come across that way. One thing I am considering is moving to AQA which obviously only has the two units (and coursework) and which would mean that we could take longer delivering them and allow us to (I feel) deliver the content in a more interesting way. However, one of the members of my department is very sceptical about the AQA board which she doesn't trust when it comes to marking. Could I ask if anyone has had any recent experience with AQA and/or has any advice for me on this matter.
    Thank you,
    Doug Clucas
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

  3. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    No experience marking as we didn't do AS levels last year, but the AQA topic options are much easier for us as a department. We're doing Tudors Paper 1, China Paper 2 and Reconstruction to Civil Rights for coursework.

    As Paper 1 is historians' interpretations and Paper 2 is sources, and the knowledge and understanding questions have identical requirements on both papers, it's very easy to standardise approaches across the department. Then when we're doing coursework we encourage students to treat the sources and historians the same as they would a Paper 2 or Paper 1 question, so the skills are easily transferable.

    Compared to the Edexcel question paper I've just read through, I much prefer the interpretations questions from AQA - they ask students to "assess how convincing the arguments in these three extracts are in relation to [xyz]." So they have to engage directly with the historians' arguments, and relate them to their understanding of the period and the historiography. Edexcel on the other hand seems to ask them to engage with a third completely separate interpretation using the historians as evidence to support or undermine it, which seems a bit strange.

    One problem might be the wording of the questions. The sources question asks about "value" and the knowledge question asks about "validity." I've just about managed to drill the students out of confusing the two...

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