Subject Choice review

If your school has November exams, you are winding down on the old curriculum while concurrently preparing for the new curriculum that has first exams in 2017.  At this point, it is worthwhile to review the changes to History:

In the current curriculum your students have Peacemaking, Arab-Israeli and Communism in Crisis as their options.  These are all going away to be replaced by 5 new prescribed subjects.  This is the largest curricular change but the skills remain largely the same: this is the subject matter you use to prepare students for source analysis.

In the current curriculum you are most likely doing 20th century world history, and you have chosen 2 subjects to cover in depth; you will still choose 2 subjects to cover in depth, but the topics now range from 750 to 2005, and the previously extant topics have been tweaked.  Please read the fine print as that is where you will see the changes that you need to make to your curriculum.  You can make sweeping changes or just tweak what you are doing.  The exam will be dramatically different, but for now, your students will have 6 questions on each topic and must answer 2 from 2 topics.  These are essays – 2 in 90 minutes.

For the HL option there are the least changes.  Once again, the time frame has been enlarged to go back to anywhere between 750 and 1066, and it runs until 2005.  You still cover 3 sections in depth, and the students can still answer any 3 questions on the test.

The Internal Assessment should be in the works, if it isn’t completely finished yet.  The marks need to be submitted by October 10 either by you or your coordinator.  That means that the final copy needs to be submitted to you with plenty of time to grade the IAs.  Please put comments on the IAs so that the moderator understands why you awarded the marks you did.  If your school will not let you put marks on the IA itself you can also attach a paper where you list the marks and the rationale – this is an equally effective strategy.

The IA has also changed substantially, but most teachers seem to feel that the changes are positive.  The biggest shift is the addition of a reflection; here students are asked to reflect on what they found that they, as the historian, did to answer the question, and the challenges that they faced.  It is personal in that it is focused on their topic but it is not a tell-all memoir.  They can save that for when they are famous.

In the coming months I will be writing more about the changes, once the final exam session for the old curriculum is completed, and it won’t confuse new teachers.  In the mean time, remember that the end is in sight, and that revisions are just around the corner!

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