Free-form assessment: A Multiple Intelligences approach to History at Key Stage 4, MA History



Smith J (2008) Free-form assessment: A Multiple Intelligences approach to History at Key Stage 4, MA History. University of Lancaster.

This paper is an attempt to harmonise three important contemporary debates in history education. The first is the question of what level of historical epistemology should be taught to students and at what age. While this simply an extension of the insoluble debate between constructivists and developmentalists, the debate as pertains to history has been revived recently by Peter Lee and Rosalyn’s Ashby’s Project CHATA[1] - the first rigorous large-scale study into the way that children of different ages construct and explain historical interpretations. The second debate is over the contribution that postmodernist philosophy is making to the discipline of history. While postmodernism has been a theme in university history since the 1960s, the first meaningful attempt to apply the postmodern debate to school history was not made until 2000 in Peter Seixas’ essay, “Schweigen! die kinder![2]” Seixas’ conclusion is clear: while few historians (or history teachers) would agree with Keith Jenkins’ gleeful description of the “collapse of history,[3]” the postmodern challenge is too powerful to ignore and so history teachers must find a way to assimilate it into their teaching. The third debate is over the role of multiple intelligence theory in the classroom. History teachers have long recognised the value of Multiple intelligence, but evidence for its effectiveness is patchy and anecdotal: assessment of MI has not moved beyond the small-scale studies in Teaching History.

InstitutionUniversity of Lancaster
Qualification levelMasters
Publication date31/12/2008

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Dr Joseph Smith

Dr Joseph Smith

Lecturer, Education

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