The notion of essential and non-essential skills in the study of history leads naturally into the issue of how far skills development should permeate undergraduate history courses and course units, including those dealing with social history.
Making reference to external drivers in this way may seem to be putting the cart before the horse, but the danger of teaching history without exploring how far a double coincidence of wants exists between employers and academics is to miss a key opportunity to demonstrate the use value that historical study can have.
How far this change should proceed, and what forms coursework assessment might take, are matters that have inevitably generated a good deal of discussion amongst historians.
(26) Accordingly, questions arise about how far assessment practices within history programmes as a whole should be based on coursework and whether all course-unit offerings within them should carry the same, or a very similar weighting between examination and coursework components.
How far higher education historians would wish to proceed along the lines of implementing a more demand-driven assessment model, and how far they would be prepared to assess summatively other than by essay writing, will no doubt vary appreciably from individual to individual.
Plainly, if in the interests of skills development, students are working increasingly with primary material as they move through their programmes of study, consideration must be given as to how far their capacity to do so can be catered for by examinations rather than various types of coursework.