The times, they are a-changin'
by Simon Wood and Claire Wood
Age range: Intermediate 2, Higher
Hodder, in its many guises, has long been a faithful servant of the needs of the Scottish educational fraternity and Campaigning for Change is yet another example of this relationship.
It is a workmanlike text that covers all the requirements of the Intermediate 2 history syllabus. With the exception of the chapter about the debate among historians on the reasons for women being given the vote in 1918, the 23 chapters mirror the sections identified in the national unit specification for this course.
Good formative assessment techniques are in-built, with the aims of each chapter at the beginning and a chapter summary that precedes the exam question practice section. The questions reflect the type featured so far in the external national examinations.
The book is well illustrated and the text in general is at an appropriate level for Intermediate. Indeed, the chapter on historians and the vote for women would also be useful for pupils undertaking the Higher history course or form the basis of discussion in an extended essay, such is the versatility of the text.
The tips on examination technique and test question practice are to be welcomed as they should prepare candidates for the demands of the written examination.
If I were to nit-pick, there are a few features of the text that could be improved.
Additional examples of the types of questions for the short essay in the national examination should be provided. Admittedly there is a section on how to write the 8-mark essay, but more questions beginning with "why" or "explain" would help to improve pupil confidence in this aspect of the written examination.
The integration of the glossary into the text, rather than as an appendix at the end, would suit readers much better. Similarly, some of the statistical material is not user friendly, but these are not criticisms of the authors, more the layout of the book.
Given that the text covers the requirements of most of the course in ample detail, there is a slight dearth of information on football, which seems especially important given the question in the 2004 national examination about its development to 1979.
Still, no one can please all of the people all of the time. If this issue is taught in your department, then this should be a recommended text.
Jim McGonigle is principal teacher of history at Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh