The Impact of a Skills-Led Qualification on GCSE Attainment: the Case of ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness

This seminar focused on research findings of the ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness on academic attainment.

Abstract: ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) is a skills-focused qualification, usually undertaken at Key Stage 4 alongside GCSEs and/or vocational qualifications; it often includes a component of work experience or career planning. This seminar reported the findings of a 2012 research project completed by the University of the West of England and Cardiff University that investigated how undertaking CoPE impacted on other educational outcomes.

Using a range of data, the study concluded that CoPE was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of a young person achieving good GCSE grades. This is hypothesised to be the result of a pedagogic approach that respects and makes use of young people’s interests to develop and capture vital skills for education, life and work.

The primary focus of the study was on those academic outcomes often assumed to be the most crucial in preparation for employment (e.g. Leitch Report). However, there are also ramifications in terms of producing rounded and reflective learners who possess the practical skills valued by employers and that will assist them in their ultimate progression into the workforce.

Biographies: David James is Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, and Director of the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre for Wales. He is also Visiting Professor at the University of Latvia. His research interests encompass teaching, learning, assessment and learner identity across a range of educational settings, with a particular focus on the relationship between education and social inequalities. His most recent book is White Middle Class Identity and Urban Schooling (with Reay and Crozier, 2011, Palgrave) and he is equally comfortable writing and presenting for academic, policy and practitioner audiences.

Neil Harrison is a Senior Research Fellow within the Bristol Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning and Education, based at the University of the West of England. Initially trained as a social statistician, he worked for eleven years as a manager in student services before returning to research, where he now employs a multidisciplinary and mixed methods approach to investigate contemporary issues in secondary, higher and lifelong education. His current research interests include social justice, social mobility, higher education policy and intercultural relations.

Download David James and Neil Harrison’s presentation

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