The demanding literacy levels required of senior secondary students are widely acknowledged, yet the area of literacy in the senior secondary high school remains relatively under researched. In particular, there is a lack of detailed studies which aim to differentiate the literacy expectations of different subject areas. A first step in this process is to differentiate the underlying objectives stated for different subjects. This paper will report on preliminary research into the rationales and values statements contained in the Stage 6 Modern and Ancient History syllabi carried out as part of a larger research project investigating the literacy demands of Stage 6 Humanities Subjects in NSW. An Appraisal analysis of these syllabi shows how these subjects argue quite differently for their importance in terms of relevance to and skill building for students. The analysis will indicate how a complex interplay of judgement and appreciation is constructed in these documents and contribute to understandings of difference within the discipline of history in the senior high school.