Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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The Welsh Baccalaureate – a driver for academic success?

Leading Cardiff University academic Professor Chris Taylor will present his findings on the relationship between the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma (WBQ) and Higher Education (HE) at Cardiff University’s Policy Café on Tuesday 26th March 2013.

Professor Chris Taylor, Research Director at the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD), will present his research into the WBQ effectiveness in preparing young people for Higher Education.  The report, funded by the Welsh Government, demonstrates that the WBQ and access to and progress at University are inextricably linked.

‘There is strong evidence to suggest that the WBQ is enormously valuable in helping students to enter Higher Education, and particularly in to leading universities,’ says Professor Taylor. ‘However, the evaluation also finds evidence to suggest that students with the WBQ Core find they are less likely to achieve a ‘good’ degree result than equivalent students without the WBQ Core, once they are at University.’

Professor Taylor will summarise that whilst having the WBQ seems to improve the probability of getting in to University, all other things being equal, this advantage seems to come at the expense of the progress they make once in University.

The development and successful implementation of the qualification, introduced in September 2003, came in response to UK and international debates about the most effective ways of preparing young people for Higher Education. 

The WBQ involves a distinctive approach to the organisation of the curriculum (and associated assessment), combining significant elements of general and/or vocational education with the development of key skills, research/analysis through the Individual Investigation, knowledge of Wales’ culture and its place in Europe and the wider world and wider social and work related competences (the Core, comprising bespoke provision for the WBQ).

‘It would seem there are three areas of improvement needed for the WBQ.  These are the way the WBQ is promoted and delivered, making it more challenging, and greater tailoring of the content to particular needs of students,’ concludes Professor Taylor. ‘But equally, further monitoring and analysis is required, as more students in Wales undertake the WBQ, in order to understand fully the relationships between the WBQ and University participation and progress.’

The Policy Café @ Cardiff University seminar ‘A night to discuss the Welsh Baccalaureate’ will take place on Tuesday 26th March at 5.30pm in the Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University.



Notes to editors

Policy Café @ Cardiff University

The aim of the Policy Café is to bring together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to encourage reflection and debate on the relationship between research, policy and practice in diverse fields of social and public policy activity. Opportunities to network, exchange ideas, and to identify future directions in research, policy and practice in Wales are essential outcomes of the cafe.

About the Wales institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods

WISERD is a collaborative venture between the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan and Swansea.  The strategic aim of WISERD is to establish itself as a sustainable research institute built on the active engagement of social science staff from across the Welsh HE sector and the involvement of a complex set of audiences/users in the public and private sectors.


The seminar will take place on Tuesday 26th March, 5.30pm – 7pm in the Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University (CF10 3WT) and is open to all.

Event details can be found here.


To attend or to interview Professor Taylor, please contact:

WISERD Communications Team
Telephone: 029 2087 0026



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