Evaluating historical skills

Learning intention

Students reflect critically on the process of historical inquiry and evaluate their work against set criteria. Students set learning goals for future historical inquiry.


The activity is in two parts:

  • Part A is for students to engage with at the beginning of and during inquiry
  • Part B is for students to complete at the end of the inquiry process.

This activity is designed to support historical inquiry at year 9 and 10 Level, however the ideas and resources can be adapted to be used at other levels and with varying subjects.

Part A - before and during research


Evaluating historical skills assessment rubric sample - student template


Familiarise students with criteria for historical skills at this level, using the sample rubric or your own assessment criteria for the research project.

Ask students to discuss any unfamiliar terms and to give examples of what various aspects of the rubric might look like in practice: for example, expected referencing style, relevant historical terms and concepts for inquiry content, possible styles of presentation. 

As a class, make any necessary adjustments to clarify the criteria and ensure a copy is available to students to continually refer back to throughout the research process.

Ask students to note:

  • areas they feel very confident in
  • areas they are still consolidating their understanding
  • areas they will need support
  • three possible resources they could access for support (e.g. online, teacher, another student)

Ask students to keep these notes and communicate them to you in the best way for your classroom. This may be via email, your school's online system, on a pin board in the classroom or collated via brainstorm. Use this data to help tailor explicit teaching sessions and/or resources that can support students.

Part B - after research and presentation


Annotated work sample - Year 9 History (ACARA)   

Copies of student's completed work for annotating (photocopies, copies of digital works that can be annotated via PDF or comments in Word, notes from presentations etc.)

Evaluating historical skills assessment rubric sample - student template or other adapted assessment rubric from Part A


Show students an annotated work sample and explain how teachers use these to identify how students meet criteria and to ensure accuracy and equality in marking.

Ask students to review their own work alongside the assessment rubric. Ask them to use highlighters, stickynotes and other annotations to give examples of where they have met particular criteria.

Ask students to reflect on the notes they made at the beginning of the inquiry alongside their rubric and annotations and answer the following questions, in conversation with a partner, teacher or in written form.

  • What historical skills do you feel most confident in demonstrating?
  • Which aspects of the task did you find most difficult? Why?
  • What areas do you need to do further work on?
  • What resources can you use to support you to consolidate these skills?
  • List three goals for your next inquiry or research project.

Collect student self-evaluation to assist in informing your own summative evaluation of student work.