History Level 8 Depth Study: Medieval Europe (c590-c.1500)

Subject Area: K-10 Humanities and Social Sciences
Author: Shefie Demiri, Douglas Wu and Sara Amos


The aim of this assessment is for students to research a significant individual from Medieval Europe. Students will receive a set list of individuals to choose from (Appendix 1). However, if there is a particular individual they would like to research that is not on this list they may argue their case to their teacher. Once students have chosen their individual to study they must follow the steps outlined in the Assessment Task sheet (Appendix 2). Students must use primary sources as the foundation of their research task. These sources will then be supplemented by secondary source material. Students will be required to engage in various historical skills and include close analysis and critique of the sources used to ensure that their project is grounded in historical analysis. Once research has been undertaken students will present a five minute oral presentation to their peers on their chosen individual. For further information refer to the Assessment Task sheet in Appendix 2.

Curriculum Links

click to enlarge History 1 curriculum links

The depth study selected is the Medieval Europe (c.s90-c.1500). This depth study follows after the overview study of history at a year eight level. This overview, which contributes as only 10% of the total teaching time at this level, “identifies important features of the period, c.650 AD (CE)-1750” (www.ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au, 2014, p.10). The crux of the overview’s purpose was to aid students in the understanding of “broad patterns of historical change” (www.ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au, 2014, p.10) . Particularly pertaining to the “content for the ancient to modern world” (www.ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au, 2014, p.10). In this particular depth study, Medieval Europe (c.590-c.1500) the students (by the time that this depth study is introduced) have a general and brief understanding of certain historic events from this time period. Particularly looking at the way in which people lived during this period, the ways that people would have dressed, the hierarchy of society, and developments of (lasting) significance. Approximately five weeks will be spent on introducing the students to concepts and the content, and it is halfway through the depth study that the students are first given class time to work on this research task. The students will be familiar with key points of the Medieval period within class, which should be sufficient enough scaffolding for the students to be able to work on their own research task.The task itself, would be presented by the students at the end of the depth study, as the task is to act as a summative assessment. Key historical concepts explored in this task include:

  1. The way of life in Medieval Europe (social, cultural, economic and political features) and the roles and relationships of different groups in society (ACDSEH008)
  2. The dominance of the Catholic Church and the role of significant individuals such as Charlemagne (ACDSEH052)

Key historical skills explored in this task include:

  1. Sequence historical events, developments and periods (ACHHS148)
  2. Use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS149)
  3. Identify a range of questions about the past to inform an historical inquiry (ACHHS150)
  4. Identify and locate relevant sources, using ICT and other methods (ACHHS151)
  5. Identify the origin and purpose of primary and secondary sources (ACHHS152)
  6. Locate, compare, select and use information from a range of sources as evidence(ACHHS153)
  7. Draw conclusions about the usefulness of sources (ACHHS154)
  8. Use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies (ACHHS157)
  9. Develop texts, particularly descriptions and explanations that use evidence from a range of sources that are acknowledged (ACHHS156)

Procedural Properties

Purpose This is a summative assessment that aims to assess student’s knowledge of Medieval Europe and skills in analysing historical sources after studying Medieval Europe for one term. Three capabilities will be assessed in this task: primary source analysis skills, knowledge of Medieval Europe and presentation skills
Administer This is an individual task where students have to complete in four week both in class and outside of class. The teacher would provide a list of significant individuals from Medieval Europe for the students to choose from. Students have to research primary sources and secondary sources related to their chosen individual. Students would bring their personal electronic device to every class for researching and creating the presentation.
Record The teacher will mark all students’ work on a rubric sheet specifically designed for this task, then the marks will be written into the markbook. The final product will be collected by the teacher who will upload all of them to the class webpage so students can view each other work or study for revision purpose.
Interpret This assessment is to measure students’ skills in source analysis and knowledge of Medieval Europe. This can then be used to determine students’ ZPD and inform future teaching
Use Not only can this assessment be used to inform future teaching. The diagnosed students’ ZAD and ZPD can also be used in parents-teacher interview where the teacher would report the progress of the student to the parents and provide feedbacks to students.


Low Response At this level students are able to use primary sources and they use secondary sources. Evidence is presented in the task using the thematic form chosen. The student presents their topic to the class. There is insufficient evidence with regards to the AusVELS standards.
Medium Response At this level students are able to analyse the primary sources used and they corroborate their findings with secondary source material. Student substantive knowledge is shown to have thorough research behind it. When presenting student had a clear expression of their ideas. Overall, their historical understanding and ability to synthesise information is on the way to meeting the AusVELS standard by the end of the year.
High Response At this level students are able to critically analyse the primary sources used and they use secondary sources to corroborate their findings. Student substantive knowledge is clearly documented by correct chronology, linking of common themes, discussion of key events and achievements of the individual researched. When presenting student had a clear expression of their ideas. Overall, their historical understanding and ability to synthesise information is at the AusVELS standard.


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Teaching Resources

Appendix 1: List of Individuals to choose from with the research task

For this task choose one individual to research using the assessment task sheet as reference to the amount of information required for the research task. Please note that you must focus on a theme of your individuals life, such as military conquest, religious involvement, economics, familial relationships and so on. Keep this in mind when choosing your individual.

  1. Charlemagne
  2. Eleanor of Aquitaine
  3. Geoffrey of Monmouth
  4. Pope Gregory the Great
  5. Frederick Barbarossa
  6. King Louis IX of France
  7. Empress Matilda
  8. Hildegard of Bingen
  9. Geoffrey Chaucer
  10. Joan of Arc

Appendix 2: Assessment Task Sheet

Outline of Task:

In this task you will research a significant individual from Medieval Europe. You will focus on an aspect of this individual’s life that allows your peers to understand the impact this individual had on Medieval society. Tick off the boxes below as you complete the research to this activity. After this research has been undertaken you will need to create a presentation (this can be in the form of a poster, PowerPoint, Prezi – any form you like) that reflects this research and provides a detailed account of your chosen individual.

Possible themes to choose from:

  1. Religious involvement and achievements.
  2. Military events or achievements.
  3. Economic achievements.
  4. Political involvement (or involvement in the monarchy/ruling of an area of Europe).
  5. Involvement in cultural aspects of Medieval life (i.e. literature, art, architecture).
  6. Social involvement (aiding poor individuals, encouraging women to be literate etc.)

Section 1: Research Component:

  • Choose your individual from the list.
  • Research the date your chosen individual was born and the day they died (if you cannot find a specific date, research the approximate date given).
  • Read at least three narrative sources on the key events and achievements of your chosen individual from a secondary source. Note down any information that follows the themes discussed above.
  • Choose the focus of your research task from the notes compiled according to the themes (NB: if there is a theme that you have found that is not listed you may use this after speaking to your teacher).
  • Find two primary sources that depict your chosen individual or relate the key events or achievements of your individual.
  • Read and analyse these primary sources using the SOAP model used in class- remember to focus on the theme! (S = source; O = Ocassion, A = Audience, P = Purpose)
  • Find two secondary sources that comment on your chosen individuals life.
  • Read and analyse the secondary sources to corroborate your findings from the primary source material.
  • Write in dot points the key events or achievements of your individual that you wish to focus on.
  • Write in dot points how the sources aided your research – that is comment on their

Section 2: Presentation Component:

  • Synthesise your thematic information into a coherent narrative presentation. Ensure you have the following:
    • The dates of their birth and death.
    • The primary sources analysed.
    • The secondary sources used to corrborate primary sources.
    • Images or extracts from the sources used.
    • Discussion on the usefulness of the sources for your research task.
  • Create your presentation; include images or extracts of the primary sources in your presentation.
  • Present your presentation to the class 🙂

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