Developing history students’ understanding of question demands

Author

Rachel Cardani, Wood Green School

Summary

This project sought to improve the quality of Key Stage 3 students’ written work in history, particularly in formal assessment tasks, which tended not to reflect the quality of student’s oral contributions in class. Two Year 9 classes were given a questionnaire to identify issues with assessments, which suggested that even students who drafted plans forgot to implement them and were disappointed with the results of the assessment. Students were advised about the value of reviewing and revising their work – and for the next assessment, they were asked to write only the first paragraph, double spacing it. Then they were given a checklist to prompt them to review key features such as reference to evidence, making inferences, etc.) Although some improved their work, many failed to make significant changes to their text. Rachel concludes that she needed to model the process of redrafting herself and give students much more frequent opportunity to redraft in this manner, so that it became habitual.

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