Improving recall in GCSE English language and literature: some practical suggestions

Some brilliant techniques listed here

Reflecting English

fluencyImage: @jasonramasami

In 2014, my students performed much better on the poetry paper of the AQA English Literature exam than on the modern texts paper. In 2015, the outcome reversed: this cohort achieved higher marks on the modern texts paper than the poetry. The main cause of this inversion of fortunes was simple: in both cases my students had shown more competence when answering questions on the content they had learnt most recently.

That memory weakens over time is a fact of life. That English teachers need to find more robust and creative ways of arresting this natural deterioration is a fact brought about by the transition to terminal language and literature GCSE exams.

In Building Background Knowledge: Research on What Works in Schools (2004), Robert J. Marzano, distils the research evidence into improving student memory into three principles:

1. The meaning of the new content needs to be…

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