Wales’s skills framework, introduced by the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) in 2008, applies to all Welsh students from ages 3-19. Because the Welsh government has determined that curriculum focusing solely on content knowledge is inadequate to prepare students for life in the 21st century, and that education should offer different pathways through learning in order to suit the aptitudes and interests of learners, the Welsh National Skills Framework presents a curriculum delivering a clear focus on the needs of learners and the process of learning, accompanied by fuller attention to the development and application of skills.
A Framework for 21st-Century Learning
The framework is divided into four development areas: thinking, communication, ICT skills, and numeracy. Each area is subdivded into specific categories, which are assigned a rubric that measures progression. The following sample rubric is for “developing communication”:
Developing Thinking: The Link with Student Assessment
The relationship between how students learn and how they are assessed is key to the Welsh Skills Framework. It is usefully visualized in this diagram:
Outcomes for Young People
An independent evaluation focussing specifically on the “developing thinking” and “assessment for learning’” integration found that the program was enhancing student engagement, though the evaluation timescale was too short to draw conclusions about improvement to student attainment.