Quest is a whole-year group approach to teaching English in Key Stage 3. Pupils are grouped according to their current level of reading comprehension, typically with smaller classes for the lowest attaining groups. Key components of the programme include: an emphasis on collaborative (or ‘co-operative’) learning; a requirement that participating teachers follow a consistent ‘cycle of instruction’; and the use of formative assessment in every lesson. Pupil progress is reviewed every eight weeks, with results used as the basis for re-grouping the class.
The programme was designed by the charity Success for All and had been adapted from an existing programme available in the United States called Reading Edge.
This project sought to assess the impact of Quest on Year 7 pupils’ reading comprehension and was supplemented by a process evaluation that assessed programme implementation. Six schools followed the programme, and a further 13 participated in the evaluation. All participating teachers received two days training and extensive resources to be used as part of the approach, including lesson plans, graded texts and ‘digitexts’ (interactive texts). The programme was designed to be delivered in daily 60-minute lessons by all Year 7 English teachers, and run over the full school year.
The study was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation as one of 24 projects in a themed round on literacy catch-up at the primary-secondary transition.