Hodder History Expert Blog

How I’m using the AQA A-level History Coursework Workbook to help my students
By Keith Milne
15 Jun
Real success in the NEA is achievable when students have a clear and manageable route through the demands. From the development of an exciting but effective question right to the final tips concerning use of footnotes, word counts and the writing of appropriate bibliographies, students need a clear set of goals and objectives as they develop their skills on this unit.

It seems that students increasingly feel reassured by having a textbook or handbook for their units and this demand is especially prominent for the NEA, when one-to-one teacher support is not as easy to resource as on the taught units. My new AQA Coursework Workbook should therefore prove a great resource as it will reassure me that my students have the very best advice, and gives me confidence that, as independent learners, my students are developing the most appropriate skills for success in the NEA.

I am particularly looking forward to using this workbook to teach the type of source analysis skills and also the evaluative demands that come as something of a challenge in both the examined units and also the NEA. Concepts such as the value of a primary source, and especially how to integrate a source into the broader NEA arguments, are key determinants of the mark awarded in AO2 and as such the exercises and advice within the workbook should take students from even the most basic understanding to a position that will enable them to access the highest levels of the mark scheme.

Similarly, the focus on evaluating an interpretation can prove difficult to convey to students, many of whom seem to struggle with challenging the views of published historians. However, once mastered, the effective deployment of this skill and the confident evaluation of time/context/limitations allows the students to really fly.

This coursework companion also takes students through the demands of AO3 and considers what a well-evaluated piece of writing might look like. In providing examples and guiding students through focused and progressively more demanding exercises, the workbook should allow students to develop the type of skills in AO2 and AO3 with which they often struggle the most.

In addition to this, the book serves a very strong purpose in reminding students that the focus of the NEA is not a research task, but rather an analytical response to a set question. As such, the exercises helping students to identify argument and analysis, in contrast to narrative, will serve them very well. Exercises on AO1 will develop the route to substantiated judgement of the type expected for the highest levels in AO1 and in every good essay. The book will therefore not only help my students cope with the demands of the NEA but will also prep them for success in the examined units.

The AQA A-level History Coursework Workbook, written by Keith Milne, is available now. You can find out more and order your copies here.
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