PublicationsSystematic reviewsCEG ks3-4
A systematic review of recent research (1988 - 2003) into the impact of careers education and guidance on transitions from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4

What do we want to know?

Successful transition through the education system into further education (FE), training and work is central to current UK Government policies, designed to promote social inclusion as well as economic prosperity through competition and the development of labour market skills. However, by the end of 2000, the UK appeared to be falling behind its European neighbours.  Access to high-quality information, advice and guidance is integral to fulfilling the Government's targets. The aim of this review is to ascertain the role and impact of careers education and guidance (CEG) on young people's transitions from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4.

Who wants to know?

Policy-makers, practitioners

What did we find?  

  • Overall, the evidence suggests that provision of CEG varies from school to school, depending on a range of factors that can be seen as indicators of quality, including: school policy and management; content and organisation of CEG programmes; qualifications of teaching staff designated to deliver CEG; standards of students' work; and library resources. The research implies that these factors affect the transition of young people. Where provision is good, the impact on young people in transition appears to be positive.
  • Other influencing factors are parents, socioeconomic background and gender.

What are the implications?

  • More research is needed.  Specifically, policy-makers commissioning research should address the current lack of differentiation between the management and delivery of CEG at KS 3 and KS 4 in research reports. Students have differing CEG needs at each Key Stage.

  • There is some evidence that clearly targeted interventions may ensure that young people avoid inappropriate subject choices which will impact on their future education and careers.  CEG should be promoted from Year 7 on.

  • There are concerns about staff training and lack of suitably qualified teachers. Parents' contributions should be more fully utilised.

  • Access to careers library resources needs to be improved.

  • A coherent strategy across the key stages is lacking.

How did we get these results?

Ten studies were synthesised, seven from the UK and three from the US.  All were published between 1988 and 2003.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI Centre

This report should be cited as: Moon S, Lilley R, Morgan S, Gray S, Krechowiecka I (2004) A systematic review of recent research into the impact of careers education and guidance on transitions from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4 (1988 – 2003). In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. 

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