Bronze, Silver, Gold, Universities and FE Awards are progressive awards, which offer flexible, activity-based programmes for young people aged 14 to adult. The assessment framework of the programmes facilitates the development and accreditation of personal and social skills within a variety of educational contexts.

The Silver, can also provide the portfolio evidence for the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) at Levels 1 and 2 – equivalent to a full GCSE within the NQF. CoPE Level 3 (the Universities Award) attracts 70 points in the UCAS tariff.

The importance of personal skills

ASDAN-004The aim of the programmes is to enable young people to understand themselves and others better and to become more prepared for making the transition to adult life. The world they are entering needs adults who are not only capable of acquiring and applying the necessary academic and occupational knowledge and skills, but flexible enough to adapt to the rapid changes taking place and equipped to make active and creative contributions to local, national and international community life.

Personal and social competence is seen as a crucial factor in maximising opportunities for life-long learning and in becoming an effective member of adult society. Such competence may be developed through the negotiation and completion of ASDAN challenges. The emphasis is on co-operation and collaboration, rewarding achievement and assisting progression of learning; these principles apply to both students and staff involved.

Key Skills

These awards have been designed by practitioners as a means by which Key Skills can be developed, assessed and accredited, and personal achievements formally recognised, within the framework of the Progress File.

Challenges and activities will develop the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Working with Others
  • Improving own Learning and Performance
  • Problem Solving

Core Skills – in Scotland, SQA highlight ASDAN Awards as a vehicle for gathering evidence for Working with Others

Student ownership

The Awards share with the Progress File the primary purpose of enabling students to have an increased sense of ownership and control of their own learning – vital in raising levels of motivation, achievement and self-esteem. It supports both the formative and summative processes of the Progress File by providing opportunities for students to be involved in:

  • assessment of their own learning
  • setting clear and achievable goals
  • identifying, expressing and reflecting on their own view of progress and development opportunities
  • summarising achievements and compiling a portfolio of supporting evidence

Modules and challenges

ASDAN-Sep-2013-022Each Award is divided into a number of modules containing a choice of challenges. Each module is given a credit rating based on the notional amount of time required on average for a learner to complete the challenges and achieve the defined outcomes at the specified level.

Quality assurance and the issue of Awards

The mechanism by which these ASDAN programmes are quality assured is moderation. This is carried out within the centre by the co-ordinator (Internal Moderation), at Consortium Meetings by other co-ordinators (Independent Moderation) and by the Regional and Area Co-ordinators (External Moderation). A process of sampling is used to monitor systems and ensure a consistent and standardised approach within centres and across centres throughout the network (this is supplemented by discussions about assessment practice).


The purpose of Awards moderation is to seek valid and consistent interpretations of the Key Skills which students are required to demonstrate in achieving their Awards. It is concerned with enabling those involved to come to a common view of the assessments made in relation to the criteria set out in the Key Skills units (both content and level).

Moderation involves groups of practitioners getting together within and across centres to look at one or two clearly defined aspects of Key Skills assessment. The focus of discussion is based on evidence of student achievement and each participant is asked to bring along examples of portfolio evidence relating to the relevant skill.