Making Key Stage 4 stick

A simple guide for all here based on my reading of the brilliant book below.1404955220

The book looks at a range of fascinating anecdotes involving everyone from neurosurgeons to fighter pilots, oh and students too! It explains how people learn most effectively, and the myths of techniques that have been proved not to work.

From what I’ve read so far (only 100 pages!) – I’ve summed up the basic premise below and put together a model that I am discussing with my team and looking for ideas on how to implement in the Faculty over the next year or so.


I know many on Twitter have already talked about terms like ‘interleaving’ and ‘spaced learning’ but this book brought it all together into a coherent whole for me. It really struck home too, when reading, why this isn’t the norm everywhere, and that while we constantly remind students of ineffective revision methods such as re-reading notes, we, hypocritically, often tell students to read over their notes before an assessment!

Most importantly, most of us teach a module, set an assessment on it, then somehow hope it’ll all come together when they revise the whole lot in the summer. This strikes me as madness. For many students, and particularly those who do little or no revision, if they don’t have the main info embedded in their long term memories by April of Year 11, it’s not going to happen.

Why are we not embedding this knowledge through low stakes quizzing of cumulative content from early in Year 10 onwards?

We have begun the process with Year 7 and 8 having Spelling and Vocabulary lists tested by starters, and fortnightly homework on Memrise. Click here for the link to this blog post.

We also have begun the fantastic 5 a day questions with our Yr 10s and 11s, devised and made popular by the lovely  Rebecca Foster

But I really think we need to do even more in terms of quizzing and embedding key content from early on in KS4. 200 key questions across all modules? 20 qns per module? One big Memrise quiz? Several? Stuff to think about for sure but things need to change I’m convinced.

The Powerpoint below provides further guidance, and I hope to hear others’ ideas on how best to utilise the ‘Science of learning’ effectively within curriculum models.


Thanks for reading and of course to Peter C Brown, Henry Roediger and Mark Mc Daniel for their brilliant inspiring book -Highly recommended!


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