Why do GCSE and A-Level exams get it so horribly wrong?

Clio et cetera

As GCSE and A-Level reforms come into reality over the next year, I am left reflecting on the latest stage in a story that has been developing in England for over two decades: the way in which sources are used in history exams. I have written before about why sources matter in school history, and in a recent post I raised the suggestion of ‘anthologies’ and ‘set texts’ as a means of overcoming some of the problems involved in including sources in history exams. This is just a quick post in an attempt to give some more air time to what is currently one of the biggest problems in terms of how history is assessed, not just in England, but internationally.

Let’s take a look at an example. This is an example question from one exam board, though most of what I say here applies to all of our…

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