The Skills and Learning Statement (SLS) is the opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have developed the key ‘graduate’ skills of self-reflection and communication. You will provide evidence of self-reflection by answering a number of questions. Your communication skills will be developed through the preparation and delivery of a presentation to your Project Mentor. You will submit a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that you used in your presentation to your Project Mentor as evidence of skills development.
Your SLS must be based on the following four questions:
- How have you demonstrated your interpersonal and communication skills during the project work?
- Reflect on what you have learnt from the meetings with your project mentor, including the presentation that you gave to your project mentor?
- To what extent do you think you have achieved the RAP research objectives you set?
- Reflect on how undertaking the RAP helped you in your accountancy studies and/or current employment role?
What do we mean by reflection?
Self-reflection, or critical reflection as it may also be called, is a key academic and professional skill. Reflection requires you to review and evaluate the experiences you have had and the learning you have acquired. You should note the emphasis on evaluation. Your Skills and Learning Statement should not be a description of what you did – it must be an evaluation of your experiences of doing your project work. You must try to make some meaning of what you have experienced, and make a judgment of how well you have achieved your objectives, and come to a conclusion about the value of undertaking your RAP.
Your evaluation should be honest. There is no model answer or right answer to any of these four questions. Not all your experiences will necessarily be positive, as things may not always go to plan or happen in the way that you might want them. Your evaluation should reflect on what actually happened, not an idealised version of what you might want Oxford Brookes University to think did happen. We know that applied research can be messy and unsatisfying at times, though we strongly believe that what you learn from doing this research will be valuable to you. We hope this will be reflected in your Skills and Learning Statement.
Preparing your SLS answers
An important aspect of study or working life is to actively evaluate your own performance and to identify your own personal development needs. Have you achieved what you intended to achieve? If not, then why not and what do you need to do better in the future? You may have to work with others to achieve your work or study objectives and your ability to make the best use of your resources – and to communicate effectively – are important personal attributes. Your ACCA education will give you knowledge of accountancy and business, and undertaking research will enhance your practical skills. What have been the benefits for you of doing the RAP?
By answering the SLS questions you will gain some important personal insight into these issues. Although there are four questions with a total word limit of 2,000 words, you do not have to write exactly 500 words to answer each of the four questions. You may find that you want to write more about one or two particular questions. You may write between 350 and 650 words on each question within the total word limit of 2,000 words.
Your Skills and Learning Statement will be assessed Pass or Fail; it will not be given a grade. However you should give it equal importance to the Research Report since you must pass the SLS in order to pass the Research and Analysis Project overall.
To pass the ‘self-reflection’ component of the SLS, you have to make a reasonable attempt to address all of the four SLS questions. If you do not, then you will not pass the SLS. You must demonstrate your ability to reflect on the judgments that you have made and the actions that you have taken while undertaking your RAP work. We want to see you provide evidence that you recognise your strengths and weaknesses. If you only provide a description of what happened while you were doing your RAP, then you will not pass the SLS.
Sources of SLS evidence
When you plan your project research work you should also plan to collect evidence to contribute to your Skills and Learning Statement, so that some of your self-reflection will ‘fall out’ of the activities undertaken for your Research Report. One important set of activities will be the three meetings with your Project Mentor. If you think about what happened in each of these meetings soon after they have taken place and record your thoughts, then you will be well on the way to writing your responses to two of the four questions.
Other sources of evidence could include meetings with individuals who you may interview as part of your project research or conversations / correspondence that you may have during your information gathering. You should think of every aspect of your project research work and how this may provide evidence for you to write your Skills and Learning Statement.
You will give a presentation on your Research Report to your Project Mentor in your final meeting. The preparation of this presentation will further develop your ability to present the concepts and findings of an accounting / business research report to an audience. As evidence of this you must submit a copy of your presentation in your Skills and Learning Statement.
You will pass ‘communication skills’ if a copy of the Research Report presentation is included in the SLS and your presentation‟s structure and content is clearly linked to the Research Report findings. There are many sources of advice (online and hard copy) on how to prepare an effective presentation and we recommend that you follow best practice.
It is possible that your Project Mentor may comment on the quality of your presentation and suggest that improvements would be possible. If you wish to revise your presentation after the meeting with your Project Mentor, then that is acceptable to Oxford Brookes University. You should include a reference to this process and what you learned in your response to the first SLS question.