Mike Goddard, Emily Oakes and Grant Robertson, OCR History Subject Advisors
In the past weeks, we’ve been running online Q&A events to give you a chance to ask subject-specific questions about this year’s advance information (AI). This followed our more general FAQ blogs for teachers and for students. In this blog, we’ve summarised the questions asked at our A Level History Q&A event.
The focus of advance information wasn’t to reduce content, but to focus student revision for the forthcoming exams. There is still an expectation that all content is covered and all should be revised. Nothing has been ‘cut’ from the specification but the advance information should be used to help focus student revision on the areas worth the most marks.
Yes, absolutely they can. The AI exists to focus revision (and remaining teaching) but the expectation is that the whole course will have been taught, and any relevant content will be credited in students’ responses. In the thematic essays in unit 3, although it will not be necessary to bring in content from themes not included in the AI, in many cases it may still be relevant to do so, and candidates will certainly be credited for any material accurately and relevantly used.
This is an example of the point covered in the previous question. The examination papers were written before we knew we would be issuing AI, and haven’t been changed. The AI shows which bits of the specification the focus of the questions will come from, but all relevant content will be credited.
While it will be possible to achieve full marks by just using content from the topics listed on the AI, other content, if relevant to the questions set, will still be credited, and must still be taught. There is some overlap between some of the key topics within a given unit. The intention is not to narrow the course.
This is why AI is focusing revision and remaining teaching rather than cutting out content. It is important to cover the whole course as contextual understanding may well be important in answering the questions on the areas highlighted in the AI notice.
Yes, for all unit 3 topics the AI gives the focus for the Interpretations topic by indicating which of the three depth studies will be the subject of Question 1 in the examination. For US Civil Rights it is the Gilded Age, so students should focus their revision for question 1 on that. Covering the other two depth studies will of course equip the students with examples that are likely to be useful in their thematic essays.
The AI for unit 3 lists the areas that will the focus on the examination questions. For the 25 mark thematic essays this is women, African Americans and Native Americans. There will not therefore be an essay question focusing on Trade Unions.
The advice is to teach the whole course, but you can focus your remaining teaching time and your students’ revision by using the AI. In this case you know that there will not be a thematic essay on the trade unions.
The interpretations question for Civil Rights will be on the Gilded Age, and we are not able to say more than that. But this does mean that all content specified for the Gilded Age depth study – including any on labour or trade unions – should be covered, as it may be relevant for this question (even though the essay questions will not have trade unions as a focus). The depth studies should be seen as arising naturally from the thematic elements. If you’ve not seen already, the guide to interpretations document provides an insight into the types of issues this element could contain.
This is a similar question to the previous one, but for a different unit 3 option. So, although the Nationalities theme is not included in the AI, all content specified for the Khrushchev in Power depth study, including that which would also be relevant to the ‘nationalities’ thematic topic, should be focused on in preparation for question 1.
Yes, this is an example of where content from depth studies which will not be the focus of the Interpretations question may still be useful in answer the thematic essay questions.
For the paper, Y106, the AI shows that the 20 mark essay questions for the Period Study section of the paper will focus on content related to ‘The government of Henry VII and threats to his rule’ and ‘The reign of Henry VIII after 1529’. These two topics of that bit of the specification should therefore be the focus of revision, but we cannot say more than that about what the questions will be.
Yes, for this topic (as for most unit 2 topics), 3 key topics are listed on the AI as providing the focus for the question. The key topic on the Civil War and Lenin (which includes war communism and the NEP) is not on the AI and so will not be the basis for the focus of any of the questions on the examination
Yes, the Unit 2 papers (and units 1 and 3 as well) we be set up just as in a ‘normal’ year. So parts A and B may come from different key topics.
Yes, that is correct.
No, please mark coursework (NEA) just as you have done in “normal” years. Please do not try to make any allowances for the different circumstances that it may have been completed under this year. It is important that all centres mark to the same standard, using the same mark scheme, in order to ensure a fair outcome across the national cohort. Any adjustments that it is necessary to make will be made by exam boards at the grading stage.
As in any given year, grade boundaries are not set until after exam papers have been marked. Until that happens, we cannot know with any certainty what the grade boundaries are likely to be. Overall, the approach for summer 2022 is intended to get back to the pre-pandemic standard but not in one jump. 2022 will therefore be a ‘transition year’ that recognises disruption and provides a safety net for students who might otherwise just miss out on a higher grade.
As a consequence of this, results overall will be higher than in 2019, but not as high as in 2020, and will reflect a midway point with the ‘aim to return to results that are in line with those in pre-pandemic years’ in 2023.
If you have any questions about this summer’s assessment and would like to talk to us, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @OCR_History. And if you haven’t already, sign up for our email updates.
Mike is a history subject advisor and has worked at OCR on the history portfolio since 2007. Previously he has held roles at Cambridge International Examinations and for an educational publisher. Mike has a degree in Economic and Social History from the University of York and a Masters in Modern History from UCL. In his spare time he enjoys crosswords and snooker.