Education Endowment Foundation:Can teaching GCSEs over three years help boost grades? New EEF grant to find out

Can teaching GCSEs over three years help boost grades? New EEF grant to find out

Press Release •2 minutes •

Latest EEF research project to examine school choices

A new research project will examine how the decisions that schools make impact on pupil outcomes, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) announced today. The study is part of a new programme of work that aims to give schools more evidence of the impact of their decisions

Run by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), the study will find out whether teaching GCSEs over three years is more effective than teaching them over two

Traditionally the five years of secondary school have been split into a three-year Key Stage 3 and a two-year Key Stage 4. The first three years of secondary school typically involve a broader curriculum and prepare pupils for Key Stage 4 study, but don’t focus on content in the GCSE syllabus. The fourth and fifth years then cover a narrower curriculum of subjects (around 8 – 10) a pupil has chosen to take for GCSE

Many schools now teach GCSEs over three years, starting in year 9 (ages 13 and 14). While this allows more time for pupils to cover GCSE content, there is a concern that it narrows the curriculum too early and means pupils may be less prepared for study at GCSE-level

Schools take different approaches to organising a three-year Key Stage 4. Some schools simply take more time to cover GCSE content; others spend two years teaching GCSE content and a third year on revision and exam preparation.

The EEF’s new project aims to understand what impact the decisions schools make about how to organise GCSE have on grades, as well the breadth of curriculum offered by schools

Every eligible secondary school in England will be invited to take part in a survey to find out how they organise their Key Stage 4 curriculum, while hundreds of schools will be involved in the study.

Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

Simon Rutt, Head of Statistics at NFER and Project Director of the length of KS4 project, added: