GNVQ: advanced level
Alan Brown, IER, University of Warwick
Reference to national case
study on England: GNVQ.
The national conclusions of the DUOQUAL study were fed into two major events. The first was an evaluation workshop, organised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and the University of East Anglia, held in Cambridge on 6th July 1999. The event was attended by policy-makers and researchers. The second was an international conference, the third JVET (Journal of Vocational Education and Training) conference, held in Manchester, on 14th-16th July 1999. The event was attended by researchers and practitioners.
of the DUOQUAL national conclusions at these two events endorsed the DUOQUAL
analysis of the problems with GNVQ due to the atomistic assessment regime,
the rushed implementation programme and the naïve model of curriculum
development. It was also acknowledged that the policy context led
to too narrow a focus (upon ‘controlled vocationalism’) and that GNVQ had
not fully engaged with broader ideas of learning and development.
The discussion then engaged with some of these broader ideas, and, in particular,
One conclusion then is that when designing a ‘middle pathway’ it is perhaps better to draw attention to the key curricular intentions rather than attempting to delineate curricular and assessment specifications in great detail. That GNVQ followed the latter course has meant that GNVQ students tend to be competent ‘task completers’ rather than independent, adaptable learners.
A second conclusion is that a key curricular intention should be to seek to develop in learners’ adaptability or transferability, the ability to transform existing skills and knowledge in order to perform effectively unfamiliar tasks or in unfamiliar contexts. This could be developed by a continuous review of application of skills in varying contexts, rather than through a drive to attain tightly prescribed units. Learners need to be encouraged to analyse the way they are acquiring key skills, and in analysing the links between activities they have undertaken in the past and the demands of new activities. This could be accompanied by setting targets, and drawing up action plans, against frameworks of transferable skills, which could give examples of how they might be used (in combination) in different settings or contexts. This would then align with a commitment to ‘deep’ rather than ‘surface’ learning.
This approach would then align with other developments aimed at promoting more holistic (rather than atomistic) approaches to curriculum and assessment, such as:
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First set up 02/10/1999
Latest update: 08/12/1999
Contact: Sabine Manning