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NSW Syllabuses

History Years 7–10 assessment strategies

Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. Well-designed assessment is central to engaging students and should be closely aligned to the syllabus outcomes within a stage. 

Years 7–10 Assessment strategies

Teachers provide a range of assessment opportunities to gather and evaluate evidence of a student's learning.

The following assessment foras and of learning approaches are relevant to all learning areas:

  • collaborative activities
  • peer assessment 
  • self-assessment 
  • teacher observations.

Detailed advice on these strategies is available in:

Years 7–10 assessment strategies.

Additional History strategies

Some additional strategies that are particularly relevant to History include:

Inquiry-based research activities

Inquiry-based research provides students with opportunities to investigate historical personalities, events and issues, to develop skills to undertake the processes of historical inquiry, and to communicate their understanding of history. These activities involve students:

  • posing questions about the past
  • planning an historical inquiry
  • collecting, analysing and organising sources
  • developing historical texts
  • communicating ideas and information
  • incorporating a range of communication forms and ICTs.

Assessment activities may include:

  • research assignments involving locating and evaluating sources on the internet and other ICT resources
  • formulating questions for and conducting oral history interviews and actual or virtual site studies
  • designing an activity within a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Learning Management System (LMS) (eg quiz, wiki, teacher- or student-moderated forum discussion)
  • samples of students’ oral, recorded and written work
  • inquiry and design projects (eg personal interest projects, investigations and learning contracts)
  • comparing and contrasting tasks
  • developing questions, explanations or evaluations
  • designing and/or producing an artefact
  • game-based learning opportunities
  • the use of graphic organisers to involve students in active thinking about relationships and associations.

When inquiry-based research techniques are used for assessment purposes, evidence can be gathered about students’ ability to:

  • locate, select and organise relevant information from a number of sources
  • interpret and evaluate sources for usefulness and/or reliability
  • use sources and relevant historical terms and concepts appropriately in an historical inquiry
  • select appropriate digital, oral, written and other communication forms to present the findings of their research to different audiences
  • compare information sources for accuracy and relevance
  • choose appropriate secondary sources and critically analyse these to provide explanations and evaluations
  • establish cause-and-effect relationships.

Site Studies

Site studies, both actual and virtual, are a particularly important aspect of inquiry-based research in history. Assessment activities may include:

  • gathering and recording evidence from the site
  • virtual or actual excursions to collect, organise, analyse and present information.

When site studies are used for assessment purposes, evidence can be gathered about students’ ability to:

  • collect, interpret, analyse and draw conclusions about data
  • interpret graphical material (eg maps, charts, graphs)
  • examine relevant heritage/conservation issues
  • sequence events within a study to show an understanding of continuity and change
  • identify and explore differing contexts, interpretations and perspectives of the past
  • evaluate a range of sources, including ICT sources, relevant to the site study
  • make and record accurate observations by describing, comparing and contrasting features
  • identify cause-and-effect relationships
  • collect and process primary and secondary sources of information
  • justify their thinking using evidence.


Presentations provide students with opportunities to engage actively in their study of history while developing and demonstrating their skills to undertake the process of historical inquiry and to communicate their understanding of history.

Assessment activities may include:

  • prepared and impromptu oral presentations (eg role-plays, debates, dramatic presentations)
  • poster presentations
  • prepared visual/audio digital displays and multimodal presentations
  • capturing evidence of student performance through web publication of learning (eg learning blogs, student-created websites)
  • observation of real or simulated performances
  • storyboard reports
  • planning, creating and publishing ebooks.

When presentations are used for assessment purposes, evidence can be gathered about students’ ability to:

  • identify, comprehend and evaluate historical sources
  • explain different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the past
  • use appropriate historical terms and concepts
  • use appropriate forms to communicate their understanding of history and effectively present findings using a variety of media.

Collections of student work

Assessment can enhance student engagement and motivation, particularly when it provides opportunities for interaction with teachers, other students and a range of resources. Collections of student work may be reviewed at specific points in the learning process to inform future teaching and learning opportunities or as summative assessment at the conclusion of a unit of work, term, semester or year.

Assessment (formal and informal) activities may include:

  • constructing, revising and extending timelines
  • note-making exercises or summaries
  • literacy in history (eg cloze, crosswords, dictagloss, mind maps, fact-opinion charts, true/false statements, fishbone, vocab bank, three-level guides)
  • numeracy in history (eg graphs, statistics, Venn diagrams, pie charts)
  • gathering, identifying and analysing primary and secondary sources
  • research tasks using information drawn from a variety of sources, including oral history, written and archaeological sources and site studies
  • drafts and completed versions of student work
  • written tasks (eg essays, short- and long-answer responses, written reports and student-produced overviews and summaries)
  • extended research, composition and presentation (eg development of multimodal texts and presentations)
  • diaries and journals
  • student self-reflections and evaluations.

When collections of student work are used for assessment purposes, evidence can be gathered about students’ ability to:

  • use appropriate terms and concepts
  • select effective strategies to plan, design and present oral and written work
  • effectively communicate their understandings
  • justify and support ideas
  • respond accurately to stimulus such as sources
  • evaluate a range of sources, including ICT sources.


Also see: