Education - qualifications and assessment review: consultation

We are consulting on the options for change as part of Professor Hayward's independent review of the future of qualifications and assessment. We are inviting responses to this consultation by 16 December 2022.

2. Considering options

2.1 Topic: Curriculum for Excellence - Four Capacities

Background: The 3 – 18 curriculum in Scotland is underpinned by the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) CfE currently sets out four areas important for every learner. These four areas are often called the four capacities. They are that: Everyone should become a ‘Successful Learner’, ‘Confident Individual’, ‘Effective Contributor’ and a ‘Responsible Citizen’ and should be able to do what is set out in the more detailed exemplification of each of the capacities.

Successful Learners with:

  • enthusiasm and motivation for learning
  • determination to reach high standards of achievement
  • openness to new thinking and ideas

and able to:

  • use literacy, communication and numeracy skills
  • use technology for learning
  • think creatively and independently
  • learn independently and as part of a group
  • make reasoned evaluations
  • link and apply different kinds of learning in new situations

Confident Individuals with:

  • self-respect
  • a sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
  • secure values and beliefs

and able to:

  • relate to others and manage themselves
  • pursue a healthy and active lifestyle
  • be self-aware
  • develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world live as independently as they can assess risk and take informed decisions achieve success in different areas of activity

Effective Contributors with:

  • an enterprising attitude
  • resilience
  • self-reliance

and able to:

  • communicate in different ways and in different settings
  • make informed choices and decisions
  • work in partnership and in teams
  • take the initiative and lead
  • apply critical thinking in new contexts
  • create and develop
  • problem solving

Responsible Citizens with:

  • respect for others
  • commitment to participate responsibly in political, economic, social and cultural life

and able to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it
  • understand different beliefs and cultures
  • make informed choices and decisions
  • evaluate environmental, scientific and technological issues
  • develop informed, ethical views of complex issues

Whilst most courses in the senior phase have been designed to support the realisation of the four CfE capacities, in Phase one of the Review we have heard from many that qualifications taught in the senior phase of Scotland’s schools and colleges ‘focus too much’ on ‘only one’ of the four capacities namely ‘successful learners. This view was also shared with Professor Ken Muir and is discussed in his 2021 report Placing Learners at the Centre’.

Question 1:

a) Should information be gathered across all four capacities? Yes/No/Unsure

b) Please consider each of the capacities in turn. What kinds of information should be gathered on learners’ progress and achievements in each capacity?

2.2 Topic: Out of school and college achievements or awards

Background: In Phase One of the Review, we have heard the view that learners should be able to evidence awards and achievements obtained outside school and college.

Question 2: What, if any, information on learners’ achievements obtained outside school and college should be gathered? Please explain your response.

2.3 Topic: Skills and Competences

Background: During Phase One and through Professor Ken Muir’s 2021 consultation we have heard the view that senior phase qualifications ought to focus more on developing learners' skills and competencies.

There are many different definitions of skills and competencies.

Skills: Skills are sometimes referred to as ‘core skills’, ‘meta skills’, or ‘soft skills’. In this Review when talking about skills - young people, leaners, parents/cares, colleges, employers and universities have told us that learners need to be able:

  • to work together as part of a team
  • be creative
  • problem solve
  • have resilience
  • maintain their wellbeing
  • develop critical learning skills
  • to communicate effectively

Competencies: A competence is another term which can have different meanings. Academic competencies like written and verbal communication, attention to detail and active listening are soft skills essential for almost every job. These skills benefit students and ensure success in college and the workplace. A competence is more than knowledge and skills. It involves the ability to put different skills into practice in a particular context. For example, the ability to communicate effectively is a competence that may include an individual’s knowledge of language, practical IT skills and attitudes towards those with whom he or she is communicating. Interdisciplinary learning offers learners one kind of opportunity to bring together knowledge and skills to demonstrate competences.’

Question 3:

a) Should information be gathered on learners’ skills and competencies as part of their senior phase? Y/N/Unsure

b) If you have views on how this might best be done please provide them here.



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