History 2000 Conference
Bath Spa University College
15-16 April 1999
Progression and Differentiation
in History Teaching
Geoff Timmins, University of Central Lancashire
Dr Timmins began by outlining a survey he had undertaken into History progression statements appearing in current undergraduate prospectuses. He identified 126 statements made by 55 departments, about two-thirds of which related to skills. Most of the remainder concern content, very few dealing with assessment, and teaching/learning, and two relating to benchmarking criteria. The most frequently occurring of the skills-based statements deal with the requirement for students to undertake a third-year dissertation, whilst that of the content-based statements concerns the move towards greater depth/specialisation.
Most of the session was devoted to consideration of how progression is at present achieved in the speaker's own department. He explained that students are expected to make increasingly effective use of primary-source material as they progress through the four levels of the department's history programme, so that growing opportunity is provided for the enhancement of cognitive skills. The requirement to use primary material is reflected in an assessment regime which weans students away from examinations beyond level two and which requires them to link historiographical with primary-source analysis in all the modules they study at levels three and four. Students are given close guidance in using primary sources at each level, but, in consultation with module tutors, are given greater opportunity to choose the type of assignments they wish to undertake at levels three and four, including dissertations.
The speaker concluded by remarking that further work is being undertaken to refine the progression and differentiation he and his colleagues are seeking to achieve, especially with the full range of benchmarking criteria in mind. And, if his prospectus survey is any guide, this will be an issue with which most history departments will have to grapple.
This page was last updated on 25 May 2000