Agora (2021/Issue 2) – Assessment in History

Agora is a journal of curated professional reading for history teachers. This digital download of a current issue covers a broad range of content related to assessment across primary and secondary from leading teachers, academics and curriculum authorities

Please note that full-colour, print copies of Agora are available by annual subscription.


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Reflection | Bianca Crawford
Editorial | Guy Nolch


SUNGRAPHO | Original Research

Assessing Historical Thinking: Challenges and Possibilities | Lindsay Gibson, – University of British Columbia 
Historical thinking has become a central concept in history teaching. The educational literature has identified several challenges and approaches to weigh up when designing effective historical thinking assessment tasks.

THEMA | Reflections on the theme

A Quick Guide to Designing SACs for VCE History | Gerard Martin – VCAA Curriculum Manager History and Civics
An overview of the key issues and considerations that need to shape the designing of assessment tasks in History.

What’s the Point of Assessment? | Ben Lawless – Aitken College, Lawless Learning & Matilda Education
The data generated by assessment doesn’t necessarily improve student outcomes or teaching. Here’s how a teaching team can plan a differentiated curriculum that hits a bullseye for both.

Inclusive Assessment Strategies for Culturally Diverse Classrooms | Nyree Wilson – Dandenong High School
How we design and scaffold learning for students in culturally diverse classrooms can overcome the inequities they face due to the emphasis on knowledge-based assessment.

The Students Become the Teachers | Cat Jones – Strathmore Secondary College
When teachers ‘let go’ of some control over assessments, students feel ownership of their learning and the quality of their work will improve.

Assessment in the History Classroom: Incorporating Inquiry Approaches | Heather Sharp, University of Newcastle
If inquiry is used in the classroom to teach content and historical thinking skills, it makes sense to also incorporate this approach meaningfully into assessment tasks.

The National History Challenge: An Opportunity for Meaningful Assessment and Enduring Understanding | Jo Clyne – History Teachers’ Association of Victoria
The National History Challenge can help students form enduring understandings through their study of History.

Assessing VCE Examinations from the Perspective of the Assessors | Deborah Erikson – Lead Assessor & James Ridley – Hoppers Crossing Secondary College
Becoming a VCE Examination Assessor can be daunting but it is rewarding and can help your teaching.


PRAKTIKOS | Teaching ideas

Designing Assessments for the Primary History Classroom | Natasha Ziebell and Robyn Floyd – University of Melbourne
How do you assess well when teaching primary history?

Approaches to the Historical Inquiry SAC in Unit 3/4 History | Ian Lyell – Camberwell Girls Grammar School
Here’s how you can develop a historical inquiry SAC that will help your students develop their historical skills without sacrificing time needed to cover examinable content.

Revolutionise Your Study Skills and Exam Technique | Maddison Schmidt – St Francis Xavier College
These strategies and tasks will help students (and new teachers) prepare for exams.

Designing and Implementing SASSY Scaffolds for SAC and Exam Success | James Ridley – Hoppers Crossing Secondary College
Catchy rubrics can help students remember the key ingredients they need to produce high-scoring responses to short answer, extended response and essay questions.

Class Activities to Assess Knowledge and Skills in VCE History Revolutions | Sophia Marsden-Smith – Williamstown High School
Some simple informal activities and revision prompts in class can inform teaching choices and formal SAC assessment approaches.

Activities and Assessments on Nero and the Great Fire of Rome | Diana Millar – Author and former teacher
Some useful rubrics can help you assess the work of individual students and groups in a study of Nero and the Great Fire of Rome.

Strategies to Improve the Effectiveness of Exemplars | Elizabeth Morgan – Marist Sion College, Warragul
Writing is integral to most assessment tasks in History. A number of strategies can ensure that students draw connections between their own writing and the exemplars you provide.



HTAV Turns Forty
Longstanding members of HTAV reflect on its achievements and challenges over the past four decades.