Gathering insight - developing the new Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales

Gathering insight - developing the new Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales

In recent months, our Qualification Development team has been hard at work developing the new Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (ASBW) qualification. As we hit a significant milestone in its development, our Qualifications Development Officer, Rachel Dodge, provides an update on the exciting development journey of this new qualification.

“At WJEC, we have an established reputation for developing innovative and engaging qualifications, utilising our extensive experience placed us in a strong position as we began the process for developing the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales qualification. As a starting point, our main objective was to design an exciting qualification, which incorporated approaches that will inspire innovative teaching and learning, and develop the skills desired by employers and higher education institutions.

As part of this journey, we focused on facilitating dialogue with stakeholders from across Wales and further afield. This approach has enabled us to collate a range of viewpoints from within the education sector and industry that will ensure the longevity of this qualification.

Getting it right from the start

We presented our initial overarching proposals during a series of interactive workshops in the autumn term. These were attended by over one hundred teachers, headteachers, industry experts, parents and higher education representatives. The feedback collected guided later developments and enabled us to refine our proposals.

With our overarching principles in place, we then began to focus our attention on the four overarching skills that learners will be asked to demonstrate; Planning and Organisation,  Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Creativity and Innovation and Personal Effectiveness. We tasked ourselves with identifying the specific skills that would form part of the assessment and these were presented to our stakeholders via an online consultation in January. The consultation was completed by nearly 50 respondents, and allowed us to review our concepts and their application to our assessments.

From this insight, we were then in a position to grow, and recruited a team of content writers who assisted us in the creation of qualification materials which included the specification, sample assessment materials and guidance that would inform and support the delivery of the qualification.

Dynamic Advisory Groups

As the teams developed the qualification documentation further, we established two advisory groups, that are consulted throughout this development process. Our Development Advisory Group features representation from across the education sector and beyond, with a complementary range of experience and knowledge. Members include practitioners and managers from schools sixth forms, FE colleges, employers, HEIs, and external organisations with an interest in the qualification.

We were also mindful that we wanted insight from the end users, and therefore established our Learner Advisory Group, which consisted of learners aged 16 – 19.

From these constructive, and often lively discussions, we made significant progress in a relatively short period, and throughout, have had regular dialogue with Qualifications Wales who has been extremely supportive of our approach.

Submitting with confidence

Based on the feedback given, and building on WJEC’s existing strong knowledge base, extensive experience and broad expertise in the development, delivery and awarding of qualifications, I am pleased to confirm that we have now submitted our first proposal to Qualifications Wales and are excited to receive their feedback.

As we continue on this journey, and mark this significant milestone, I would like to personally thank all of those who have taken their time to support and guide us through this process. As an organisation, we are confident that the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales will be a sector leading qualification, that will equip learners with an array of skills that will enable them to flourish in a global market.”