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The prevalence and relevance of Natural History assessments in the school curriculum, 1858–2000: a study of the Assessment Archives

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Cooke, Gillian 


Natural History has been part of our curriculum since 1858. Not as a single, continuous subject but embedded in many different subjects and qualifications. As OCR prepares to launch a GCSE in Natural History, this article draws on the historical resources of OCR and its predecessor the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate to show the range of natural history type subjects available to students, focusing on those for 16-year-olds. Referencing primary sources available from the Assessment Archives spanning the period from 1858 to 2000, this study reveals some of the qualifications available, as well as the scope and popularity of these subjects and the challenges faced by all those involved.



Historical perspective

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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