OFSTED and assessment in primary history
One of the features of deep dive subject inspections is that the two hardest areas of a primary history leader’s role are in danger of being painfully exposed.
One is the thorny issue of progression. How do you plan to make the work harder and not just different as pupils move through the school. How do pupils deepen and broaden their knowledge base? It is not enough to say they do new topics. How do they make sense of these in relation to what they already know. If we don’t revisit learned content it is in danger of being forgotten and pupils will not be able to build a mental map of the past. The other side of progression is the notion of deepening awareness of how history is written and a growing understanding of what it means to get better at history: better at understanding why things happened, how things changed , how we know something is true and why we have different interpretations of the past.
Hand in glove with progression comes assessment. As OFSTED said in October 2019 of one school undergoing a deep dive inspection of history:
“Currently, assessment does not focus enough on the most important key concepts”
To overcome this, go to the assessment part of the site. Here you will see a range of task aimed at developing understanding of specific historical concepts. You will find all tasks are geared to testing pupils’ understanding of a particular concept and there is a markscheme to show if your expectations are high enough. For each concept there is a task on the same concept aimed at the lower key stage and another at the upper keystage as a bare minimum. In this way you can clearly see the progress pupils are making , whether it be in interpretations, or causation or characteristic features of the past.