Year 8

Humanities and Social Sciences Support Materials

Assessment Principle 5

Assessment should lead to informative reporting

History snapshot: Medieval Europe (c.590 – c.1500)

Humanities and Social Sciences/Knowledge and understanding/History/Investigating medieval Europe and Skills/Questioning and researching/Analysing/Communicating and reflecting

Content Description

The way of life in medieval Europe (e.g. social, cultural, economic and political features) and the roles and relationships of different groups in society

Construct a range of questions, propositions and/or hypotheses

Use a variety of methods to collect relevant information and/or data from a range of appropriate sources, such as print, digital, audio, visual, fieldwork

Use criteria to select relevant information and/or data to the question, such as accuracy, reliability, currency and usefulness

Represent information and/or data using appropriate formats to suit audience and purpose
(e.g. tables/graphs, visual displays, models, timelines, maps, other graphic organisers)

Nature of the assessment


Purposes of the assessment

The assessment was designed to elicit information about students’ understandings of continuity and change, their ability to empathise with people from the past and their ability to find and use evidence to inform their work.

Stage in the Teaching sequence

During and at the end of the teaching cycle – formative assessment of the inquiry process and summative assessment of the final presentation

Background learning

Students had previously studied feudalism as a key feature of the Medieval world, and the interactions of societies in this period, such as trade routes, voyages of discovery, contact and conflict. This material was covered as an overview to the unit, The ancient to the modern world.

Students had previously learnt how to conduct an inquiry, how to write focus questions, and how to write a bibliography using a structured format. They had also learnt about the difference between primary and secondary sources, and the difference between written, visual, oral and built sources.

In this extended assessment task, students were required to research:

  • the different aspects of life in Medieval Europe (c.590 – c.1500), including social, cultural, economic and political features of medieval life
  • the roles and relationships of different groups of people in medieval society.

Assessment task

Students assumed the role of a museum curator and investigated life in Medieval Europe. They had to create a museum display to cover the social, cultural, economic and political features of medieval life, and the roles and relationships of different groups of people in medieval society.

They were given the following inquiry questions:

  • What was life like for different groups of people in medieval society?
  • How was life in medieval society different from today’s society?
  • How was life in medieval society similar to today’s society?

The teacher provided a graphic organiser to scaffold students’ notes.

On completion of their research, the students gave an oral presentation in which they explained their research findings and how they used these findings to inform their museum display.

Assessment process

The teacher worked with the students as they conducted their inquiry, making formative judgements of each student’s inquiry processes and, where necessary, guiding the students.

Students handed in the graphic organiser as part of the assessment process.

For the final presentation students:

  • provided an overview of their inquiry findings and explained how they used these findings to inform their museum display
  • used historical terms and concepts in presenting their findings
  • answered questions from the class.

Using the information

The teacher monitored each student’s progress through the graphic organiser and, where necessary, gave specific guidance to individual students.

The formal summative judgement of the final presentation (museum display and oral presentation) was used to inform end-of-year/end-of-unit reporting.

The teacher used his reflections on the students’ work to refine the inquiry task for the following year.