Football tournaments a distraction to revision

If England makes it to the final of next summer’s Euro 2012 football tournament it could mean a dip in GCSE results, according to recent research by an Economics Fellow at Merton.

Dr Robert Metcalfe was part of a team of Oxford and Bristol academics who studied 3.5 million pupils between 2002 and 2008 and found a significant dip in their results each time a major summer football tournament was played. He said: “Time spent watching and talking about football is clearly time not spent studying, so our findings give an indication of just how much student effort matters for achievement at GCSE.”

The researchers say that moving exams forward by three weeks would improve performances – especially of disadvantaged boys – more cost-effectively than other policies. The study did not cover university exams.