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Friday, 1 June 2012

Research seminar on qualifications

I attended one of the occasional SQA research seminars this afternoon. This one was entitled "Qualifications and the incentives to learn". It was presented by Ewart Keep of Cardiff University.

As always, it was a fascinating, evidence-based discussion. Ewart discussed the links between qualifications and income. He pointed out that achieving low level vocational qualifications had little impact on income, unless these led to progression to higher level qualifications. He made specific criticism of narrow vocational qualifications (those that only focussed on specific job roles) and contrasted these with European vocational awards that typically included language, maths, ICT, and other general skills. Ewart reported that research showed that high quality work experience was very important in vocational programmes that aimed to prepare people for employment.

It was a timely reminder to me that Computing vocational awards have to deliver more than just computing knowledge and skills, and that areas such as numeracy, communications, entrepreneurship,  and project management skills were also important.

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