New History A Level – Coursework

New AL History – Edexcel – Coursework

Coursework Overview

The purpose of this coursework is to enable students to develop skills in the analysis and evaluation of interpretations of history in a chosen question, problem or issue as part of an independently researched assignment. The focus is on understanding the nature and purpose of the work of the historian. Students will be required to form a critical view based on relevant reading on the question, problem or issue. They will also be specifically required to analyse, explain and evaluate the interpretations of three historians. The coursework will be assessed using a centre-set assignment. Assignments must meet the requirements detailed below. An assignment framework is provided to support the development of individual assignments.

Content Learning objectives

Students will:

  • recognise that interpretations are representations and constructions of the past · recognise the relationships between interpretations and the questions that they seek to ask and answer · comprehend and analyse the defining elements of particular interpretations · explain why historians arrive at the interpretations they do and understand that differences in interpretation can be legitimate · be able to evaluate differing interpretations against appropriate and relevant criteria · organise and communicate their findings. Teaching and learning Teachers should provide students with a short skills-based course of study that covers the work of historians in creating interpretations and approaches to the analysis and evaluation of historical interpretations, for example to develop understanding of: · the range of methods used by historians in their work · the diverse range of focuses and purposes that historians have · the different perspectives of historians. The course should also help students to develop enquiry skills, for example: · effective record keeping and referencing · planning skills · effective use of a library and the internet.

Assignment topic: Students are assessed on their analysis and evaluation of interpretations. It is permissible for coursework to cover interpretations of a question, problem or issue related to content covered in the examined components. However, the coursework task must not duplicate coverage of the historical interpretations section studied for Paper 1. Moderators will check centres’ compliance with this requirement. It is also permissible for coursework to cover a new topic area question, problem or issue, dependent on the interests of the students and provided there is a range of suitable interpretations available. In this case, it would be permissible to deliver a short course to provide students with the contextual background.

Assignment setting: Focusing the question, problem or issue The breadth and depth of the question, problem or issue is not specified by Pearson, but it should be sufficiently complex and interesting enough to have generated disagreement between historians. The question, problem or issue could concern any of the following perspectives: aesthetic, cultural, economic, ethnic, political, religious, scientific, social or technological, and could include debates on change, continuity, causation, consequence, similarity, difference, significance or the key features of societies and periods. Setting the question A contextualised assignment should be produced which follows the template below (centres must replace the words in the square brackets with the chosen question, problem or issue). Historians have disagreed about [the chosen question, problem or issue]. What is your view about [the chosen question, problem or issue]? With reference to three chosen works: · analyse the ways in which interpretations of the question, problem or issue differ · explain the differences you have identified · evaluate the arguments, indicating which you found most persuasive and explaining your judgements. Students may choose to divide their assignment into sections or complete it as a continuous essay, and should make use of supplementary reading as appropriate.

Assignment use and reuse: Teachers should ensure that assignments are relevant and appropriate to the student’s course of learning. Students should have the opportunity to choose works relevant to the chosen question, problem or issue. Provided these requirements are met, the same assignment title could be submitted for all students in the cohort. Teachers may reuse assignment questions provided students have access to sufficient works to enable them to make a choice as to which they compare.

Assignment taking: research Choosing works:

Students must refer, in their assignment, to three works relevant to the chosen question, problem or issue. · These works should be substantial enough to support the assignment, and it is recommended that they are of article or chapter length. · The works can be in hard copy, electronic or audio-visual format, but must be created by historians (each work must be by a different historian). · The works may be from different time periods or may be contemporary to each other. · The works should contain interpretations that together contain a range of views or emphases. These may differ in focus, methodology and/or perspective, but must be sufficiently different for the student to be able to make valid comparisons and judgements. Teachers must check that the works that students choose will provide sufficient evidence for them to make a satisfactory response to the question before students begin the writing phase. Students may not use as one of the three works any passages used by the teacher in the skills-based course of study. Students are required to exercise individual judgement over the choice of works. The teacher is responsible for ensuring compliance with this rule before students begin the writing phase. Supplementary reading Students must undertake supplementary reading (at least two further works) to assist in their forming of a view about the interpretation under discussion and their choosing of works to focus on for detailed analysis and evaluation. Collaboration Students must undertake their research independently.

The resource record: While carrying out their research, students must complete a Resource record (see Appendix 5). This must list all the resources used and be checked regularly by the teacher, in order to validate the research process and verify the independence of the research undertaken. It will provide evidence to support teacher judgements about the quality of the work and provide evidence for moderators that students have exercised choice of which resources to use. In the ‘comments’ column of the resource record, students should provide evidence of why they have selected their three chosen works, including a short summary of the main differences between them.


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