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Ancient History

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2007 Copyright Board of Studies NSW for and on behalf of the Crown right of the State of New South Wales. This document contains material prepared by the Board of Studies NSW for and on behalf of the State of New South Wales. No part of the material may be reproduced in Australia or in any other country by any process, electronic or otherwise, in any material form or transmitted to any other person or stored electronically in any form without the prior written permission of the Board or Studies NSW, except as permitted by the Copyright Act 1968.

School graduates in NSW and teachers in schools in NSW may copy reasonable parts of the material for the purpose of bona fide research or study. This document has been prepared for teachers and candidates on the Stage 6 Ancient History course. It provides commentary on answers to the 2006 Higher School Certificate Examination, indicating the quality of candidates' answers and highlighting the relative strengths and weaknesses of the candidature in each section and each question.

The examiners noted that there were far fewer errant or 'illegal' answers compared to previous years, mainly due to the new structure of the exam. However, it was alarming to note that a large number of candidates – and in some cases who appeared to be more capable candidates – did well in three of the four sections, and faltered in the last section, apparently due to a lack of time.

CORE

Most candidates used the source effectively and were able to answer the question in the space provided. Average to above average responses provided detailed descriptions of the forum and used the source systematically and thoroughly, but struggled to explain its importance. Below average answers did not exhaust the amount of information available in the source, while the worst answers did not know what a forum was, some considered it a public building or house.

Weaker responses were unable to demonstrate understanding of the new technology or methodology and did not use the resource;. Average responses outlined, sometimes in great detail, the various methodologies and technologies used in the country over the centuries; some tried to fit the word "new" into the assignment. Above-average responses consistently wrote about new methodology and technology and attempted to relate it to our understanding of everyday life in Pompeii and Herculaneum, but tended to do so in a limited or general way.

The best answers avoided lengthy and unnecessary background information; rather, they directed their responses explicitly to the task of explaining how new methodology and technology help us understand everyday life in Pompeii and Herculaneum. They used a variety of information, including that given in the source, and targeted this for our understanding of everyday life without unnecessary details.

ANCIENT SOCIETIES

In fact, the candidates were able to state and differentiate between the pharaoh's religious, political, social and military roles quite clearly. Most candidates were familiar with Ramesside tomb decorations for royal and non-royal tombs and could discern how changes had been introduced since the end of the Amarna period. The better candidates also understood that this part also required an answer to the term 'meaning' and were able to emphasize this in their answer.

Candidates were not limited by these examples and excellent responses covered a wide range of technologies including the use of loom weights, the potter's spindle and 'drills' in jewelery making. Some candidates have been able to explain the importance of the palace in Minoan society by referring to the source and a variety of other evidence, including palaces not at Knossos. Most candidates were able to identify who Lycurgus was and what was traditionally attributed to him.

Some added great detail about the prerogatives of the kings, often adding historical examples not needed in a 6 mark question. The best answers explained the importance of women in society with reference to the source and a range of evidence.

PERSONALITIES IN THEIR TIMES

Weaker responses relied on a narrative or descriptive account of the reforms, religious and otherwise, with no attempt at judgment and with limited use of sources. Candidates should be advised that this weakens the coherence of their answer. a) Better answers supported a coherent argument, supported by a careful analysis of the relevant source material. A deep understanding and knowledge of the primary and secondary source material contributed to an advanced understanding of the main features of the manner and impact of the death of Tiberius Gracchus.

However, as a new personality in Section III, the answers for Tiberius Gracchus were of an exceptional level, demonstrating a deep understanding and knowledge of the candidates' personality. They made excellent use of the right terms and concepts to support their refined understanding of the source material. Weaker responses gave only a brief description of the methods used by Tiberius Gracchus, without any reference to the sources.

Although the candidacy for Tiberius Gracchus was a small one, a considerable number of candidates had a detailed knowledge and understanding of the historical period and of the personality of Tiberius Gracchus. A large number of candidates demonstrated a deep knowledge and understanding of the importance of Agrippina's marriages in her rise to prominence.

HISTORICAL PERIODS

Makes clear the main features of Nefertiti's role in Akhenaten's reign using relevant sources. It highlights the main features of Nefertiti's role in Akhenaten's reign by referring to relevant sources. Makes clear the main features of the role of royal women in the reign of Ramesses II using relevant sources.

Explains the main features of the role of royal wives during the reign of Ramesses II with reference to relevant sources. Explains some features of the role of royal wives during the reign of Ramesses II through examples. Gives some judgment on the significance of the Gallic Wars in Julius Caesar's career.

References

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