Assessment and Progression

School children in classroomAssessment is a topic which often generates more heat than light, especially at Key Stage 3. In many ways, for all that has been written on the topic, things haven’t improved much over the past two decades.

This is certainly true of primary history where it occurs as a weakness in virtually every OFSTED annual report. The most recent described it as being good in only one-quarter of primary schools!! At Key Stage 3 assessment remains one of those items on the Subject Improvement Plan that never seems to be ticked off as done. QCA has recognized this and is pouring even more resources into projects to create on-line exemplification.

Look out for a detailed critique of the materials on this site once they are published. It would be easy to be cynical about the likelihood of its success. Previous attempts to shift department’s practice have largely flopped. Hardly any department I work with still uses any of the exemplification material from 1997, and even the publication of teacher assessment activities for history for Key Stages 1-3, produced by QCA as recently as 2006, is a well-kept secret. Few schools have even heard of them, let alone bought them.

Assessment for learning in Primary history

Assessment for Learning is much vaunted and many faceted. If we break down what it means in its constituent parts, many of you will feel that you do most of that already, and you probably do. What the Primary Strategy is pushing is a more...
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Target setting in history at Key Stage 1

The setting of targets with this age group for Foundation subjects is problematic., not least because pupils' experience of history tends to be episodic rather than continuous. Setting a target for the next history topic makes little sense , so you are best to focus...
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Judging pupils’ work in history at KS 1

This section of the site offers a few words of advice about assessing individual pieces of work and provides commentaries on actual examples of pupils' assessed work from 2018 onwards. The items featured are nearly always the product of a short common assessment task which...
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Common assessment tasks in history at KS1

It is often difficult knowing how to assess pupils’ historical thinking at KS1. Are we simply testing literacy and /or recall? But what about historical understanding? Faced with this problem, I have been working with two large London primary schools. We have developed a number...
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Principles of good assessment in history at Key Stage 1

Assessment in Foundation subjects is not well-developed, and is nearly always found wanting in successive OFSTED reports. When assessment in the Core dominates is it really that surprising that teachers don't have the time or expertise to assess in history? This section of the site...
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Progression in history at Key Stage 1

The problem

Trying to secure progression within your Key Stage 1 history curriculum is not always as easy as it might seem. Sometimes it feels like trying to pick up mercury with a fork. The level descriptors seem too vague to be used as precise learning...
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General advice regarding progression in history at Key Stage 1

This section outlines the key indicators of progression.  The other section looks at each strand in detail.  We all need to understand what constitutes progression in history, but much more importantly we need to be able to apply this general awareness to specific topics and...

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