To be used in approved schools with Year 11 students only in 2005. Modern History Senior Syllabus

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9. Educational equity

Equity means fair treatment of all. In developing work programs from this syllabus, schools are urged to consider the most appropriate means of incorporating the following notions of equity.

Schools need to provide opportunities for all students to demonstrate what they know and what they can do. All students, therefore, should have equitable access to educational programs and human and material resources. Teachers should ensure that the particular needs of the following groups of students are met: female students; male students; Aboriginal students; Torres Strait Islander students; students from non–English-speaking backgrounds; students with disabilities; students with gifts and talents; geographically isolated students; and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

The subject matter chosen should include, whenever possible, the contributions and experiences of all groups of people. Learning contexts and community needs and aspirations should also be considered when selecting subject matter. In choosing appropriate learning experiences teachers can introduce and reinforce non-racist, non-sexist, culturally sensitive and unprejudiced attitudes and behaviour. Learning experiences should encourage the participation of students with disabilities and accommodate different learning styles.

It is desirable that the resource materials chosen recognise and value the contributions of both females and males to society and include the social experiences of both sexes. Resource materials should also reflect the cultural diversity within the community and draw from the experiences of the range of cultural groups in the community.

Efforts should be made to identify, investigate and remove barriers to equal opportunity to demonstrate achievement. This may involve being proactive in finding out about the best ways to meet the special needs, in terms of learning and assessment, of particular students. The variety of assessment techniques in the work program should allow students of all backgrounds to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a subject in relation to the criteria and standards stated in this syllabus. The syllabus criteria and standards should be applied in the same way to all students.

Teachers may find the following resources useful for devising an inclusive work program:

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities 1996, Guidelines for Assessment Quality and Equity, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities, available through QBSSSS, Brisbane.

Department of Education, Queensland 1991, A Fair Deal: Equity guidelines for developing and reviewing educational resources, Department of Education [Education Queensland], Brisbane.

Department of Training and Industrial Relations 1998, Access and Equity Policy for the Vocational Education and Training System, DTIR, Brisbane.

Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies 1994, Policy Statement on Special Consideration, QBSSSS, Brisbane.

Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies 1995, Language and Equity: A discussion paper for writers of school-based assessment instruments, QBSSSS, Brisbane.

Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies 1995, Studying Assessment Practices: A resource for teachers in schools, QBSSSS, Brisbane.

10. Resources

The selection of resource material to support a course in senior Modern History will be governed by the same local factors that determine the nature of the themes, inquiry topics, and particular learning experiences chosen. There may or may not be any single student or teacher resource that can be universally applied to a school’s particular program. Most programs would draw upon a number of the range of resources described below.


In the first instance, both material and personnel resources of the local community should be used as much as possible in constructing and implementing a senior Modern History program.

School, university and local government libraries are a valuable source of information and contacts. Government departments are a source of personnel who are experts in their field and may provide valuable assistance and ongoing advice through involvement in school programs. These types of links with the community improve the credibility of the course within the community.


Periodicals, journals and magazines

Periodical subscriptions represent an excellent way for schools to develop current, comprehensive and relevant source materials for student investigation. The Periodical Centre for Schools, accessible through AccessEd (formerly the Open Access Support Centre, contact details at provides a subscription service for access to periodical and magazine articles from a large collection. The centre also has a photocopy service for subscribers.

Many journals are also available online through subscription.

Many useful teaching strategies are reported in the national journal of the Australian History Teachers’ Association as well as the respective state history teachers’ associations, newsletters and journals, such as The Queensland History Teacher. These journals often contain specific details and information about free materials, teaching kits, worthwhile commercial packages and in-service opportunities for teachers. Information on specific topics may also be found in general historical and current events journals. Details of these are contained in listings of periodicals held in most libraries.

Newspaper reports

Some newspapers carry regular columns and features of value to history teachers and students. Local papers can also be a source of useful data. Some newspapers, such as The Age, (Melbourne) provide subscription clippings services.

Electronic media

There are a large number of commercially available computer packages with application to many of the themes and inquiry topics included in this syllabus. Most commercial companies and publishers send catalogues regularly to schools.

The internet is a valuable tool for students of Modern History, providing access to sites that specialise in history, or to university and government departments that publish occasional papers.

Television documentaries, produced or programmed by the ABC and SBS are screened periodically, and are often supported by commercially available copies, either through the ABC and SBS themselves, ABC shops, other retailers, or occasionally through video rental stores. Pay television channels such as the Discovery Channel and the History Channel also carry a large number of programs that are of interest to the Modern History student.

AccessEd ( has a video library from which schools may borrow. The library also has copying facilities for some documentary and current events programs.


There is an extensive range of textbooks that can be used in a course in senior Modern History. Because of the variation in themes and inquiry topics that schools may select, the scope of these resources and the changes that occur in texts over time, this syllabus does not include a text resource list.

In general the most useful texts for schools will be those that provide students with access to an extensive range of primary source materials.

Other resources

Many brochures, booklets, kits, charts, slides and videos are produced for educational purposes by government departments and community groups. Many provide catalogues of these resources and visiting speaker lists. Most organisations prefer requests to come from teachers. Requests should relate to specific topics.


The deconstruction of sources and the study of how the component parts of the source interrelate to create a whole.

To strengthen and/or support an assertion with evidence from a variety of reliable sources to make it more certain.

A careful examination of sources to judge relevance, reliability, representativeness, accuracy and authenticity, and thus their worth.

Information derived from primary and secondary sources used to support or refute assertions that are made when responding to a question or developing and testing hypotheses.

Historical knowledge
Factual recall and conceptual understanding of terms, ideas, events, developments, people and places.

The study of how history is constructed. It involves the way history has been written, as well as the critical analysis and evaluation of the relevance, authenticity, reliability, accuracy and representativeness of sources.

A tentative statement or a proposition that can be tested by further investigation.

A process of identifying implicit meanings in historical sources to explain what has happened in the past. The discipline of history acknowledges that all interpretations are partial.

All historical sources are partial because new perspectives and evidence will always be emerging.

A point of view or standpoint from which historical events, problems and issues are analysed.

Reflection highlights introspection as inherent in historical inquiry. It is the process of identifying and responding to problems or issues that arise during research, critiquing and evaluating interpretations from different perspectives, and recognising the preconceptions, values and methodologies of oneself and others. The process of reflection is metacognitive as it involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning in order to develop deeper understandings.

Relevant sources
The extent to which sources are applicable and appropriate for an investigation.

Reliable sources
Sources that are trustworthy and yield information that is credible for a particular purpose.

When testing for representativeness historians explore whether a source reflects a dominant or mainstream perspective as opposed to a minor or marginalised perspective on an issue or period of time.


Any resource, written or non-written, that can be used to investigate an historical issue. When information from a source is used to support or refute an assertion, it becomes “evidence”.

A point of view usually established (in the context of studying history) as a result of belief in a particular ideology.

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1 KC1: collecting, analysing and organising information; KC2: communicating ideas and information; KC3: planning and organising activities; KC4: working with others and in teams; KC5: using mathematical ideas and techniques; KC6: solving problems; KC7: using technology

2 Historical Literacy categories: Events of the past, Narratives of the past, Research skills, The language of history, Historical concepts, ICT understandings, Making connections, Contention and contestability, Representational expression, Applied science in history, Historical explanation

3 National Centre for History Education

4 Taylor, T. 2000, The Future of the Past: Executive summary of the report of the National Inquiry into School History, Monash University, Melbourne.

5 KC1: collecting, analysing and organising information; KC2: communicating ideas and information; KC3: planning and organising activities; KC4, working with others and in teams; KC5: using mathematical ideas and techniques; KC6: solving problems; KC7: using technology

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