Implementation of Knowledge Organisers in Year 8 English lessons

Claremont High School Academy evaluated the impact of Knowledge Organisers on the written skills of Year 8 pupils.

Description of the innovation

In this evaluation, Knowledge Organisers (KOs) were used as follows:

  • Pupils were given a KO at the beginning of the unit that categorised all the knowledge that pupils would need over the course of that unit.
  • Each lesson began with a five-question knowledge recap pertinent to the ensuing lesson.
  • Pupils were encouraged to refer to the KO during lesson time to reinforce missing knowledge.
  • Weekly 10-question quizzes tested pupils on a specific knowledge category.
  • Homework consisted of quiz revision and completion of activities taken from the KO.

Summary of the evaluation

The project took place in a mixed, comprehensive school in Brent, North West London. Among the 1,600 pupils enrolled, there is a large mixture of ethnic backgrounds and one-in-three pupils speak English as a second language or are bilingual.

173 pupils across six Year 8 English classes (age 12–13) participated in the intervention. All classes were mixed ability. Classes were randomly allocated to be either intervention or control classes. The evaluation was carried out over one unit of work, which was taught over six weeks.

During pre- and post-tests, pupils answered the same question in relation to different texts. Responses to the questions were assessed in relation to the following criteria: read, understand and respond to the text; analyse language, form and structure; and explore the relationship between texts and context.

Summary of findings

As a whole, pupils who took part in the innovation made less progress than those who did not (effect size = -0.17). Having said this, elements of the lesson design were popular with pupils and teachers alike.


Lead school

  • Claremont High School Academy

Main findings

  • The overall effect size was -0.17
  • -0.23 for boys and -0.05 for girls

Download the protocol document