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A systematic literature review of research (1988-2004) into the impact of career education and guidance during Key Stage 4 on young people's transitions into post-16 opportunities. Summary

Background

Successful transition through the education system into further work, education and training is central to current United Kingdom Government policies, designed to promote social inclusion as well as economic prosperity through the development of skills. However, by the end of 2000, one in four of all 16-18 year-olds was not in full-time education or training; this was below international averages reported by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (Campbell et al., 2001; OECD, 2001). Campbell et al. (2001) found that, overall, the proportions of the workforce holding level 2 (equivalent to GCSE grades A-C) or level 3 (equivalent to A-levels) qualifications in the UK were below those in France and Germany. In England, the Government has set targets to increase the percentage of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs at Grades A*-C (or equivalent) from over 51% in 2002 to over 55% by 2004. The proportion of 19-year-olds achieving a level 3 qualification is expected to increase from over 51% in autumn 2002 to 55% in 2004 (DfES, 2004b). Access to high-quality information, advice and guidance tailored to meet young people's needs is crucial to fulfilling these targets: 'they need to be supported by information, advice and guidance services tailored to meet their needs' (Tomlinson, 2004, p 13).

The Review Team aimed to contribute to the development of the evidence base for such work, by undertaking a systematic review of existing research evidence concerned with the impact of career education and guidance (CEG) during Key Stage 4 on the transitions of young people to post-16 opportunities. The review also aimed to consider the influence of other internal and external factors on the effectiveness of CEG in relation to the outcomes of transitions.

Aims and review questions

The overall aim of the review is to identify the available research evidence in a systematic and objective way in order to ascertain the role and impact of CEG at Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16), on young people's transitions from Key Stage 4 to post-compulsory education, employment and training.

The specific aims of the study are as follows:

  • To conduct a systematic review of research evidence investigating the effects of CEG during Key Stage 4 on the transitions made by young people from Key Stage 4 to post-16 opportunities
  • Where CEG has taken place, to assess the influence of internal and external factors, which might include young people's motivation and capabilities, parental involvement, socioeconomic constraints, demography, family relationships, support services and environmental factors, on the impact of CEG during Key Stage 4 in relation to the outcomes of transitions
  • To relate this to policy developments in CEG since 1988 in England (when the Education Reform Act led to the introduction of the National Curriculum) in order to assess their impact on practice within and outside schools
  • To make recommendations based on these findings so that decisions on policy and practice can be evidence-based.

Our research question, considered within the context of the reforms to secondary education set out in 14-19: Opportunity and Excellence (DfES, 2003b), is as follows:

What is the impact of CEG policies and practice during Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16) on young people's transitions from Key Stage 4 to post-16 opportunities?

The following sub-question was also considered:

In what ways do internal/external factors influence the effectiveness and outcomes of career education and guidance?

Methods

The review methodology followed the procedures devised by the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre). The Review Team conducted a comprehensive search for reports of relevant empirical research that investigated the effect of CEG during Key Stage 4 on transition to post-16 opportunities. Potentially relevant papers were identified through electronic databases and handsearching of journals. The identified papers were screened by title and abstract against the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Included studies focused on CEG delivered in Key Stage 4, were written in English and were published after 1988. Studies were excluded if they focused solely on the general curriculum, on citizenship (the subject of a separate review) or on vocational education, were not written in English or were not based upon empirical research.

Full copies of studies that met these criteria were keyworded, using the EPPI-Centre core keywording strategy and additional review-specific keywords (see Appendix 2.5 in the technical report), producing a systematic map of the relevant research. At this point it was agreed that, given the England-specific context of the review, studies not undertaken in England should be excluded from the in-depth review, along with those in which CEG was included to some extent but where it was not possible to separate out CEG and its impact from other factors and/or activities.

Detailed data extraction was then applied to all the studies remaining in the in-depth review, through the application of the EPPI-Centre standardised data-extraction guidelines. These guidelines provided the basis for the Review Team's assessment of the quality of the design and findings of the studies, articulated as 'weight of evidence'. The results of the data-extraction process were then synthesised according to the framework underpinning the review strategy.

Rigorous quality-monitoring procedures were applied throughout the review process to ensure that all judgements were unbiased. All decisions made were independently verified by two members of the Review Team and were moderated by staff from the EPPI-Centre. In the main, differences of opinion were resolved through discussion; consensus was reached without difficulty.

Results

The initial search yielded 8,692 reports, of which 8,684 were identified through electronic searching and 8 through handsearches. Screening by title and abstract reduced the number of potential reports for inclusion in the systematic map to 132. The subsequent two-stage screening process, based on full texts, only identified 24 studies that met all of the set inclusion criteria. The application of the additional two exclusion criteria resulted in a total of 10 studies being included in the in-depth review.

The quality of the studies included in the in-depth review varied. None of these studies was judged to provide a high weight of evidence and only two were judged as providing a medium-high weight of evidence (Morris et al., 1999; SWA Consulting, 1998). The majority (N=6) provided a medium weight of evidence (Keys et al., 1998; Lloyd, 2002; Maychell et al., 1998; Munro and Elsom, 2000; Russell and Wardman, 1998; Wardman and Stevens, 1998). Two studies included in the in-depth review provided a medium-low weight of evidence (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993; Rolfe, 2000); no study provided a low weight of evidence.

Synthesis and findings

The studies in the in-depth review were found to address the main review question in three different ways. Some studies were concerned with the general impact of CEG provision; some with the impact of specific CEG interventions; and some with the impact of CEG on specific groups of young people. The synthesis therefore looked at each of these issues in turn, identifying the findings for each. Although some studies had relevance to more than one of the issues, they were considered only under the one to which they were judged as being most relevant. All the 10 studies in the in-depth review were considered to be relevant to the review sub-question concerning the influence of external/internal factors on the effectiveness of CEG, so evidence from all 10 was considered against this sub-question. When considering all the findings and conclusions, a number of themes emerged:

  1. Career-related learning and skills and transitions
  2. General CEG provision
  3. Individual guidance
  4. Provision of information
  5. Timing of provision
  6. CEG and different groups of young people
  7. The importance of people in CEG
  8. Skills of those responsible for delivering CEG

The findings and conclusions are set out below under each of these themes.

1. Career-related learning and skills and transitions

i. The level of young people's career-related skills seems to be an important factor in their transition at 16, with those with a high level of skills being less likely to modify choices or switch courses (SWA Consulting, 1998).

ii. Career exploration skills and self-awareness skills seem to be the most important of the career-related skills in terms of their impact on transition at 16 (Morris et al., 1999).

iii. CEG provision, such as individual interviews, groupwork sessions, access to career-related information and a wide range of work-related activities, appears to have a positive impact on the development of pupils' career-related skills (Morris et al., 1999; Munro and Elsom, 2000; SWA Consulting 1998; Wardman and Stevens, 1998).

iv. Young people might more effectively acquire the skills to use labour market information (LMI), and possibly other career-related information, through the use of practical activities, such as project work about careers that interest them (Rolfe, 2000).

2. General CEG provision

i. There appear to be inconsistencies in the quality of CEG provision and providers, with the quality varying from school to school (Keys et al., 1998, SWA Consulting, 1998).

ii. The integration of career education programmes with guidance provision and with the wider curriculum may be a key factor in determining the effectiveness and impact of CEG on young people's skill development and transitions (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993; Morris et al., 1999).

iii. Partnership working, both within school (i.e. between departments) and between the school and other agencies and organisations, can affect CEG provision, to the benefit of the pupils (Lloyd, 2002; Morris et al., 1999; Munro and Elsom, 2000).

iv. CEG interventions, timetables and tools appear to be more effective if they are flexibly designed to meet the needs of individual young people, or specific groups of young people, rather than the needs of the organisation and its (and others') systems (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993; Keys et al.,1998; Lloyd, 2002; Maychell et al., 1998; Munro and Elsom, 2000; Russell and Wardman, 1998).

3. Individual guidance

i. Good-quality individual career guidance is important in the development of learning outcomes such as career-related skills, especially opportunity awareness, career exploration and decision-making skills (Morris et al., 1999; SWA Consulting, 1998).

ii. Some young people find the guidance given by careers advisers to be the most useful form of help in making decisions about, and preparing for post-16 transitions; others do not find it helpful (Keys et al., 1998; Maychell et al., 1998).

iii. There is evidence that young people would like more help with their career decision making (Keys et al., 1998; Maychell et al., 1998).

iv. Young people's perceptions of how good career guidance is may be contingent upon whether they made substantive progress towards reaching a conclusion, or resolving a dilemma, during their careers interview(s) (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993).

v. Young people seem to benefit from help from those providing guidance in setting a wider context within which to make their career decisions (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993).

4. Provision of information

i. Access to information about post-16 options is important to the development of young people's learning outcomes, but provision of such information is patchy (Morris et al., 1999; Munro and Elsom, 2000; SWA Consulting, 1998).

ii. Young people identify gaps in the information they receive and would like to receive more information about courses, jobs and careers, especially through the workplace and contacts with working people (Keys et al., 1998; Maychell et al., 1998; Morris et al., 1999; Munro and Elsom, 2000; Rolfe, 2000; SWA Consulting, 1998).

iii. Care needs to be taken in the design of career information to ensure that it is seen as relevant and appropriate by its target audience (Russell and Wardman, 1998).

iv. Some types of career information may be more useful to young people in making and implementing secondary-level decisions about their options at 16 (what course or training programme to choose, etc.) rather than in making their primary-level decision (whether to remain in, or leave, education). It is important that such information provides sufficient detail to enable young people to use it for the latter purposes too (Russell and Wardman, 1998).

v. Parents are seen by young people as being a key source of information (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993; Maychell et al., 1998; Munro and Elsom, 2000; Rolfe, 2000; Russell and Wardman, 1998; Wardman and Stevens, 1998).

vi. LMI might be more effective if it were presented in a range of formats and used successively in a variety of ways and by a variety of deliverers, including within the curriculum (Rolfe, 2000).

vii. LMI might be more effective when it includes information that interests young people, which appears to include that related to equal opportunities (Rolfe, 2000).

viii. There seems to be a need to increase the amount of career-related information available and to ensure that it provides a more 'cosmopolitan' picture (i.e. one which goes well beyond young people's own locally-based knowledge of options and occupations) (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993).

5. Timing of provision

i. There appear to be inconsistencies in the timing of CEG interventions (Keys et al., 1998).

ii. There is evidence that, while career advice and guidance is often seen as playing an important part in young people's decisions about the future, young people would have found it more useful to have received career guidance at an earlier stage of their school career (Keys et al., 1998; Maychell et al., 1998).

iii. There is evidence that young people would like more help with their decision-making, at times that best suit their needs (Keys et al., 1998; Maychell et al., 1998).

iv. Earlier CEG interventions, lower down the school, might help to raise pupils' awareness of subject-related careers and to counteract external influences such as peer pressure, which are very strong by Year 11, when post-16 choices are made (Munro and Elsom, 2000).

v. The demands of the school option-choice system put pressure on the timings and outcomes of careers adviser interview programmes and on pupils to make up their minds early in the year (Munro and Elsom, 2000).

vi. Career information should be produced and distributed at times which meet the needs of young people (Russell and Wardman, 1998).

vii. There is evidence that young people planning to enter the labour market at 16 are less likely to have made their final decision by the summer after Year 11 than those who are planning to stay in education, suggesting that the former group of young people may benefit from a higher level of CEG intervention during Year 11. Conversely, those planning to stay in education appear more likely to have made this decision by the end of Year 10, so may benefit from earlier interventions (Russell and Wardman, 1998).

6. CEG and different groups of young people

i. CEG provision appears to have the greatest impact on pupils of moderate/higher ability in schools with lower/average achievement, typically without sixth forms (SWA Consulting, 1998).

ii. Many studies found evidence that the impact of general CEG provision is different for different groups of young people: for example, underachieving young men; those with higher or lower expected or actual attainment; those likely to leave or stay in education; and those in schools with different characteristics (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993; Lloyd, 2002; Maychell et al., 1998; Morris et al., 1999; SWA Consulting, 1998; Wardman and Stevens, 1998).

iii. Additional CEG provision, tailored to meet the needs of young people identified as being 'at risk', and delivered by those with appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes, can have a significant impact on young people's learning outcomes and can help them to prepare for post-16 transitions (Lloyd, 2002).

iv. The influence that subject and other teachers appear to have upon the choices made by young people seems to vary for different groups of young people (Munro and Elsom, 2000).

7. The importance of people in CEG

i. There is some evidence that individual subject and other teachers have an influence upon the choices made by young people both outside and within CEG provision (Keys et al., 1998; Maychell et al., 1998; Munro and Elsom, 2000).

ii. Young people appear to value the involvement of people in the provision of career information, seeing them as more important and/or more helpful than written sources of information (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993; Keys et al., 1998; Maychell et al., 1998; Munro and Elsom, 2000; Rolfe, 2000; Wardman and Stevens, 1998).

iii. Parents are seen as a key source of information and influence upon a young person's career choices. Evidence suggests that both career education and the support of parents are important to help young people through the transition process (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993; Maychell et al., 1998; Munro and Elsom, 2000; Rolfe, 2000; Russell and Wardman, 1998; Wardman and Stevens, 1998).

8. Skills of those responsible for delivering CEG

i. There is evidence to suggest that careers advisers need access to systematic training designed to ensure that their occupational knowledge is kept up-to-date (Munro and Elsom, 2000).

ii. In order to work effectively with young people 'at risk', workers need to have, or to develop, a set of appropriate skills and approaches (Lloyd, 2002).

iii. Staff development appears to be needed for those using LMI with young people, especially where it is being used within the curriculum (Rolfe, 2000).

iv. Practitioners need to have and to use skills that will help young people to widen their views of the options open to them and provide them with strategies to counter the socioeconomic factors and the social and cultural constraints that impact upon them, and increase their self-confidence and self-esteem (Hodkinson and Sparkes, 1993).

Many of these findings and conclusions support findings from previous research and reviews. Findings and conclusions in relation to general CEG provision and the importance of the development of career-related skills upon young people's transitions echo those of an earlier literature review (Moon et al., 2004). This review identified that, while CEG helps students to develop the knowledge and skills which they need to make and implement course and career choices, there are inconsistencies between schools in the quality of provision, in the way in which it is planned and delivered, and in the skills of those delivering it that impact upon its effectiveness and upon the outcomes for young people. Such concerns about the quality and consistency of CEG provision were identified by schools themselves in a survey reported by the National Audit Office (2004), in which many schools reported that they did not feel that they had the capacity to provide appropriate levels of CEG for young people.

Strengths and limitations

Strengths

The systematic review process has enabled the Review Team to undertake a transparent assessment of the available research to provide a sound evidence base for practitioners and policy-makers. A systematic approach, in accordance with EPPI-Centre guidelines and procedures, was followed. Careful recording was a key feature in selecting studies found to be relevant to the review question. That only 10 studies were selected from an original total of 8,892 identified meant that attention was given to the most relevant studies for answering the question of the review as defined by the EPPI-Centre guidelines. Moreover, the EPPI-Centre quality-assurance process, which includes double data entry by members of the Review Team and support staff from the EPPI-Centre, and moderation through the agreement of all final entries between at least two people, ensures the rigour of the review process.

Although none of the studies in the in-depth review was judged to have a high weight of evidence, with the majority being assessed as providing a medium weight of evidence, the review has identified a number of findings that are common across many of the studies.

The review process has identified gaps in the research that are relevant for young people in transition from Key Stage 4 to post-16 opportunities. The results raise concerns about the quantity and quality of the published English research that considers the impact of CEG delivered at this crucial stage for young people. Concerns are also raised about the transparency of the methodologies recorded in the research reports.

Limitations

The Review Team is aware that there may be relevant studies that have not been identified. There is a possibility that unpublished reports and PhD theses may provide relevant research evidence, but these can be difficult to track down and the costs of doing so may be prohibitive. It should also be noted that studies that are not written in English and/or not undertaken in England might provide insights into the impact of CEG on young people's transitions in education that are relevant to practice in England.

The systematic review identified some studies that, although relevant to the research question, had to be classified as being of a medium weight of evidence either because of the lack of reported methodological processes or because the methods were not totally appropriate for addressing the research question.

For reviews asking 'what works' questions, greater weight should be given to studies that reduce selection bias. Given the qualitative nature of many of the studies considered here, it is not surprising that no studies were judged as providing a high weight of evidence, and only two were judged as providing a medium-high weight of evidence, despite their relevance to the review question. There is debate in educational and other research about the relative merits of qualitative versus quantitative research for addressing different types of research questions.

The review question, focusing as it does on CEG activity within Key Stage 4, its impact upon young people and in particular on their transitions at the end of and beyond Key Stage 4, also proved to be somewhat problematic. On the whole, the identified studies tended either to look at CEG activity and its impact at or close to the time of delivery, or asked young people to look back on activities in which they had taken part in a previous year. There were no longitudinal studies that looked at CEG in Key Stage 4 and its impact upon skills, and then tracked the young people into their post-16 options in order to look at the ongoing impact of CEG in Key Stage 4 upon their progress post-16.

When changes in policy and practice occur, there is inevitably a timelag before research to investigate the impact of the policy, and the resulting changes in strategy and practice, can be commissioned and completed. This means that systematic reviews such as this, which are dependent upon accessing the results of empirical research, may not cover research directly related to recent policy changes. Thus, in the present review, many of the studies included were undertaken in the 1990s and therefore predated far-reaching policy changes, such as the 'focusing agenda' and the introduction of Connexions.

Implications

The systematic review process has identified both gaps and shortcomings in the research evidence that are highly relevant to our review questions relating to young people's transitions from Key Stage 4 to post-16 opportunities. Although the conclusions have to be considered tentative because few high-quality studies were identified that met the rigorous criteria applied through the EPPI-Centre process, the results raise concerns for policy-makers, strategic planners, managers, practitioners, researchers and other end users about the quantity and quality of published research on the impact of CEG delivered at this crucial stage for young people. These findings are particularly important in view of the decision to extend statutory provision of CEG to Years 7 and 8 from September 2004 and of current developments in relation to the 14-19 curriculum.

Policy-makers and strategic planners (both local and national), researchers, practitioners and their managers all play their part in relation to the planning and implementation of CEG. The suggested implications of the review for each of these groups are set out below.

Policy and strategy

While Government sets national policy, the responsibility for strategic planning and its delivery is largely undertaken by organisations at regional and local levels. The following implications for policy-makers and strategic planners, both local and national, can be identified from the review:

  • The review revealed evidence to suggest that only one in seven pupils received a CEG package that met acceptable criteria; positive pupil outcomes were most evident in schools where career education was effectively integrated with guidance and into the wider curriculum, and where CEG tended to have a higher profile. There appears to be no recent evidence to suggest that this situation has improved. Those responsible for strategic planning should consider how best they can raise the profile of CEG and support schools to improve its quality.
  • There is evidence that new initiatives can be implemented more effectively if they are set within a long enough timescale and accompanied by appropriate resources. Policy-makers should consult fully with strategic and delivery organisations before commissioning new initiatives, to ensure that the timescales and resources available allow for effective implementation of such initiatives.
  • There is evidence that partnership between schools and outside agencies is important, especially in the planning and delivery of CEG provision targeted at specific groups of young people (e.g. those 'at risk'). While such partnership working needs to take place at the level of delivery, policy-makers need to consider how best they can encourage partnership working at national and local levels.
  • A number of studies identified the differing impact of general CEG provision, and of specifically targeted CEG programmes, on different groups of young people. Policy-makers need to consider how best they can ensure that policy enables and encourages delivery organisations to provide CEG in a consistent yet differentiated way, to ensure that it meets the needs of such different groups.
  • There is evidence in the review to suggest that CEG provision should be flexibly designed to ensure that it meets the needs of individual young people and specific groups of young people, rather than the needs of the school and other systems. Strategic planners should consider how best they can ensure that school and other systems do not impede CEG provision being flexible and able to meet differentiated needs.

Research

The results of this review also raise a number of key issues for researchers:

  • None of the ten studies in the review has been judged as providing a high weight of evidence relating to the impact of CEG on the transition from Key Stage 4 to post-16 opportunities, and only two were judged as providing a medium-high weight of evidence. There is a need for funding mechanisms to support high-quality research into the impact of CEG. In addition, researchers should include full information about their research methods and wherever possible, should append their research tools to the report, to ensure transparency to the reader.
  • The majority of UK studies included in the review were carried out prior to the Careers Service 'focusing agenda' in the UK and the introduction of Connexions in England. Although some studies refer to careers companies and partnerships, there seems to be little evidence about their effectiveness.
  • There is a need for further research to be funded to provide high-quality, up-to-date and detailed evaluation of the impact of general CEG provision, targeted CEG provision, and specific CEG interventions delivered in schools and/or through external organisations, upon young people in general at and beyond Key Stage 4, and on different groups of young people at the same stages.
  • None of the studies in the in-depth review incorporated any long-term follow-up with the young people concerned. Longitudinal studies would provide useful information about the impact of CEG at, and well beyond, the point of transition into post-16 opportunities.
  • Care should be taken to ensure that terms such as 'significance' are not used indiscriminately. Authors should also avoid the use of vague terms such as 'knowledge and skills', without providing clear definitions for their readers.
  • Researchers should, wherever possible, publish and disseminate their research findings across the policy-making and practice communities to ensure that all available evidence is accessible to users. They should also consult with, and seek feedback from, end users of the research. Initiatives such as the recently launched National Guidance Research Forum, may provide an appropriate forum for such dissemination and consultation.
  • Only one of the studies in the in-depth review was a researcher-manipulated evaluation and none used a control group to enable direct comparisons to be made between the outcomes for those who had, and those who had not, received an intervention. Researchers should consider undertaking more research of this nature, within ethical constraints.
  • The review has identified that gender may be an important issue. First, it has been suggested that progress towards decision-making and decidedness on post-16 options is greater for young women than young men. Second, it seems that some young men's sex-typed attitudes towards masculinity may make it harder for them to admit that they do not know what they intend to do. Research is needed to explore whether there is any relationship between these two factors and, if so, to consider what the implications might be for CEG.
  • One study, which looked at the impact of CEG provision in Key Stage 4 and its impact upon transitions, identified a need for further research to consider whether the career-related skills developed by young people up to and during Year 11, which the author found to be relatively high, are important at the point at which they implement their post-16 and subsequent decisions.

Practice

Alongside policy-makers and researchers, it is equally important that practitioners and professional bodies have access to reliable research evidence on which to base their practice. In particular, the sharing of good practice is invaluable for those involved in the delivery of CEG. It is recognised that practitioners may not always have the autonomy to be able to implement changes to their practice without reference to their managers. However, being at the 'front line', they are well placed to consider the implications of research findings and to seek to influence those responsible for planning and managing CEG processes. The implications of the review findings for practitioners and their managers are as follows:

  • The review revealed evidence to suggest that only one in seven pupils received a CEG package that met acceptable criteria; positive pupil outcomes were most evident in schools where career education was effectively integrated with guidance and into the wider curriculum, and where CEG tended to have a higher profile. Managers and practitioners should consider how career education can be effectively integrated with guidance and with the wider curriculum.
  • The reviewed studies have provided some evidence to suggest that clearly targeted interventions may help young people to develop the skills they need to make and implement appropriate choices at 16. Interventions should continue to be reviewed and evaluated through high-quality research, and the findings disseminated. This will ensure that the effectiveness of interventions is monitored and that good practice is recorded and shared.
  • Practitioners should work with their practice network to contribute to the sharing of best practice. Where necessary, practitioners should lobby professional bodies and policy-makers to improve provision for young people in transition.
  • Research evidence to evaluate the impact of new approaches to CEG - such as distinctions between self-help, brief-assisted and intensive support, and new methods, including through one-to-one, groupwork, and ICT - is not available from this review. Practitioners should ensure that learning outcomes from the use of new approaches to CEG are evaluated, reported and disseminated within their practice networks and to policy-makers.
  • Students have identified a need for guidance well before the point at which they need to make decisions about their future. Practitioners should actively promote the value of CEG to students from Year 7, and to staff and others in schools, in order to raise their awareness of its potential benefits.
  • There is evidence in the review to suggest that person/client-led CEG provision is more effective than system-led provision. Practitioners and their managers should consider how best to ensure that provision is differentiated and available in ways and at times that meet the needs of individual young people and of particular groups of young people (e.g. those 'at risk', young women and young men, 'leavers' and 'stayers', those with expected higher/lower attainment, and those with special needs).
  • There is evidence that learning outcomes are greater when students are involved in practical activities and when information is presented successively in a variety of formats and by a variety of deliverers, within and outside the curriculum. Practitioners and their managers should consider how best to ensure that CEG provision includes practical activities and the successive presentation of information using a variety of formats and deliverers, both in and out of the curriculum.
  • One study identified the need for practitioners to ensure that they help young people to widen their views of the options open to them, provide them with strategies to counter the socioeconomic factors/cultural constraints that impact upon them, and use techniques aimed at increasing their self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Parents are identified as key influences on young people's choices, and both CEG provision and parental support appear to be important to help young people through the transition process. Practitioners should identify ways in which they can support parents and provide them with information that will help them to support their sons/daughters.
  • One study identified that young people's perceptions of guidance were influenced by whether they had made substantive progress towards reaching a conclusion or resolving a dilemma. Practitioners should ensure that young people are made aware that guidance is a process aimed at reaching a conclusion and/or resolving a dilemma, and should ensure that progress towards these objectives is summarised by the practitioner, and understood by the young person, at the end of each guidance session.

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Wardman M, Stevens J (1998) Early Post-16 Course Switching. RR53. Sudbury: DfEE. 

This report should be cited as: Smith D, Lilley R, Marris L, Krechowiecka I (2005) A systematic review of research (1988–2004) into the impact of career education and guidance during Key Stage 4 on young people’s transitions into post-16 opportunities. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education.

  
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