Published: January 2016
Author(s): Emma Yhnell, Heather Wood, Mathew Baker, Sheila Amici-Dargan, Chris Taylor, Peter Randerson, Andrew Shore

International Journal of Science Education 38(1) pp 156-169

Since the introduction of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma Qualification (WBQ) in 2003, an increasing number of students are applying to higher education institutions (HEIs) with this qualification. The advanced-level WBQ is regarded as equivalent to one General Certificate of Education A-Level (GCE A-Level). This study assesses the impact of attaining the WBQ in addition to three GCE A-Levels on overall university degree performance in comparison to attaining four GCE A-Levels, in three cohorts of undergraduate students (Year 1 = 318, Year 2 = 280, Year 3 = 236) studying Biosciences from 2005 to 2011 at a UK HEI. Binary logistic regression was used to compare the academic attainment of students who had achieved four GCE A-Levels to those who had achieved three GCE A-Levels in addition to the WBQ. Comparisons were also made between students who had achieved three GCE A-Levels and those who had achieved three GCE A-Levels in addition to the WBQ. The results suggest that students who achieved the WBQ qualification in its current form, in addition to three GCE A-Levels, performed less well academically in undergraduate studies than those who achieved four GCE A-Levels. Furthermore, this effect was still present when the balance between coursework and examination was considered, and when students who had achieved the WBQ in addition to three GCE A-Levels were compared to students who had achieved three GCE A-Levels.

Keywords
Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification, WBQ, higher education, HE, entry-level qualification, GCE A-Level, admissions, universities and colleges admissions service, UCAS, widening participation, achievement, binary logistic regression