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KEY SKILLS IN THE ENGLISH CONTEXT: IMPROVING THEIR ‘USE’ AND ‘EXCHANGE’ VALUE Dr Ann Hodgson and Dr Ken Spours Institute of Education University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "KEY SKILLS IN THE ENGLISH CONTEXT: IMPROVING THEIR ‘USE’ AND ‘EXCHANGE’ VALUE Dr Ann Hodgson and Dr Ken Spours Institute of Education University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 KEY SKILLS IN THE ENGLISH CONTEXT: IMPROVING THEIR ‘USE’ AND ‘EXCHANGE’ VALUE Dr Ann Hodgson and Dr Ken Spours Institute of Education University of London

2 HISTORICAL AND POLICY BACKGROUND n Widespread support for broad skill development - absence of general education post-16, under- achievement and lack of preparedness for work or higher education n Long history - desire for more skills-based approach to curriculum - different terms used - core skills, transferable skills, generic skills, key skills and so on n Different lists of skills - narrower or broader since early 1980s n Up to Dearing (1996) - these skills developed in vocational track only - association with ‘remedialism’

3 DEARING, QUALIFYING FOR SUCCESS AND KEY SKILLS n Dearing Review of Qualifications for Year Olds (1996) –Remove key skills from GNVQs –Three key skills - Application of Number; Communication and IT to be certificated through an AS qualification –Four wider skills - problem-solving; managing own learning; Interpersonal skills and team-working n Qualifying for Success (1997) later known as Curriculum 2000 –A Key Skills Qualification in AoN/Comms/IT at Levels 1, 2 and 3. –Three wider key skills units in Problem-Solving; Working with Others and Improving Own Learning and Performance –All key skills signposted in AS/A2 and AVCE qualifications

4 KEY SKILLS IN CURRICULUM 2000 n Partial take-up of KS Qualification (less than 30 per cent take award) and hardly any certificated –Voluntary except in FE and no funding for schools –HE ambivalence - not tried and tested and not universal –Teacher ambivalence and lack of experience –Context of Curriculum 2000 and overloaded curriculum - key skills a low priority –Advanced Level learner rejection of remediation and repetition –Qualification difficult to deliver - demanded stand-alone provision rather than embedding –Assessment regime dominates - external tests and NVQ ‘box ticking’ –Hostility to Key Skills in Modern Apprenticeships –Key Skills replaced other forms of ‘broadening’ –Some islands of good practice

5 KEY SKILLS IN CURRICULUM 2000: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS  Wrong purpose and wrong skills - remedial approach to advanced level, basic skills rather than advanced level skills  Effects - student resistance, lack of institutional take up and HE indifference  Assessment-driven in search for credibility - too much (portfolio and test); arduous assessment (nature of portfolio) and difficulty (nature of tests)  Effects - teaching and learning problems; high failure rates; deterrent to institutional take-up  Voluntary with no incentives to end-users to recognise in the context of a larger curriculum and funding for some institutions only  Effects - particular deterrent for high achievers and institutions catering for them and lowest priority for students

6 KEY SKILLS THE CURRENT SITUATION n Key Skills Qualification at Level 3 discontinued n Focus on Level 2 Key Skills for those without GCSE grades A*-C in maths and English n More flexibility and personal focusing at Level 3 - learners expected to take one relevant key skills unit n Review of key skills by QCA - emphasis on six key skills; possible renaming and more embedding n Many schools reverting to General Studies, ASDAN and other broadening awards n FE still offering key skills because of funding

7 NEXT STEPS IN ENGLAND n Focus on good practice - where has it actually worked and why? n Emphasis on the development of key skills rather than their assessment n Strategy for key skills - broad menu; development of skills within subjects; stand alone approaches where needed and new ‘platforms’ (e.g. Research Study and Viva) n Development of key skills as part of of a baccalaureate system linking to subjects, core and wider activities n Need for supportive external levers - funding, inspection and HE recognition

8 KEY SKILLS REVIEW n Curriculum 2000 and advanced level - learning the lessons n Focus now on –basic skills earlier –learning skills and wider key skills –Integration into the curriculum and innovative learning –Personal development not assessment n Longer term - using Bac-type system for skill development and recognition


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