If you are committed to improving the language, literacy and numeracy levels of individuals in an educational, community or workplace context you could be eligible to apply for the 2013 Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) Practice Award.
The Award is one of the 18 awards presented at the 2013 Australian Training Awards, the peak national awards for vocational education and training.
Applications can be made by relevant individuals or organisations (eg colleagues, professional bodies, students, employers, industry or community representatives); or through self-nomination.
Applications close Friday, 31 May 2013.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the preliminary findings of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). An iteration of the 2006/7 Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALLS), PIAAC assesses adults’ proficiency in literacy and numeracy and problem-solving in a technology rich environment.
The Australian Council of Education Research (ACER), in its media release ‘International study reveals serious adult literacy and numeracy problems’, says ‘Australia still has much to do in the area of workplace and vocational education and training (VET)’. The ACER questions ‘whether trainers, teachers and learner support staff in the VET sector themselves have the skills and tools’ to identify LLN skills of their learners, and whether ‘they have the skills, resources and time to actively develop learners’ literacy and numeracy ...’.
It is easy to feel alarmed by the PIAAC statistics (44% in the lowest two bands for literacy, 55% in the lowest two brands for numeracy) and as practitioners, to distrust what we know about our learners and/ or our own skills and practices of working with our learners.
Adult literacy and numeracy provision, policy and practices must be informed by a range of sources - not excluding the PIAAC, but including practitioners’ own experiences, our learners’ voices, and the wealth of other studies and research that are available to us.
PIAAC results and their implications for adult literacy and numeracy must be examined and debated closely and critically by all stakeholders. ACAL is providing the opportunity for all those interested in adult literacy and numeracy to do just that at our annual conference in October. ACAL has invited Professor Mary Hamilton, an international leader in adult literacy research and Dr Jeff Evans, an adult numeracy researcher and member of the international numeracy expert team in the design of PIAAC to speak to the conference and engage us in a discussion about how we can understand the PIAAC and how we might respond.
In the meantime, ACAL members might read the excellent Fine Print articles by Mary Hamilton and Geri Pancini, both of whom help us to understand the crisis discourse created by studies such as ALLS and PIAAC.
Hamilton, M 2012, Adult literacy in a global marketplace, Fine Print, 35(2), 14-18, 22.
Pancini, G 2012, Deconstructing the literacy crisis, Fine Print, 35(3), 3-7, 40.
July 10-12, 2013 • Sunshine Coast
The annual National Vocational Education and Training (VET) Research Conference ‘No Frills’ is considered one of the best value events on the VET research calendar and is a key part of NCVER’s commitment to dissemination of research and building research capacity.
The National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults was launched on 28 September 2012 by the Hon Sharon Bird MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills.
The National Strategy focuses on improving outcomes for working age Australians (aged 15-64 years) with a view to moving more people to higher levels, but with a particular focus on those with low levels of foundation skill proficiency. Australian governments have set an aspirational target for the National Strategy that by 2022, two thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at Level 3 or above.
The NCVER website has a glossary of terms that are very useful and updated regularly. The glossary includes:
VET terms and concepts, including adult and continuing education and lifelong learning
Australian VET organisations and some key international VET organisations
Key Australian historical documents
The Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP), through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education has released a Discussion Paper on LLNP service delivery entitled, Creating a more flexible LLNP in 2013-16. Here is ACAL's response.
ACAL welcomes the discussion around the service delivery of the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP) and the search for more flexibility. As a contributor to the debates on policies relating to adult LLN provision, ACAL is highly supportive of DIIRSTE’s call for discussion and review on what works and what has been problematic with the LLNP.
English language, literacy and numeracy provision, funded federally, is an important part of Australia’s commitment to skilling its citizens. It is especially important in the current debate where several states have seen policy changes and funding reductions for adult learning. ACAL supports the continuation of the LLNP, but hopes to see some key changes especially in terms of eligibility and reporting processes:
All adults with LLN needs should be eligible for the LLNP, not just Job-seekers, or parents returning work. In other words, we wish to see this program as a ‘Community’ program, not merely a ‘Participation’ program. This is reflected in our response to Question 23, regarding a new name for the program. ACAL suggests the program be renamed: Skills for Education, Employment and Community.
The current system requires providers and practitioners to testto the ACSF, then teach to accredited curricula but finally report through the ACSF. This results in unnecessary over-reporting. A simplification of the reporting requirements so that accredited curriculum outcomes are sufficient evidence of learners’ skill development would be an improvement.
In line with current thinking on best practice in both assessment methods and sustainability principles, ACAL strongly advocates for the acceptance of a range of forms of evidence, rather than a reliance on paper-based evidence.
See the detailed ACAL responses to the questions raised by DIIRSTE in the Discussion Paper.
A new issue was published late last year.
Access the journal. New readers will need to register, but there is no cost.
This paper considers models of support, both in the research literature and in Australian case studies, which ‘integrate’ L&N with VET courses.
AVETRA President, Dr Llandis Barratt-Pugh, (left) presents the award for ‘Best Paper’ to co-authors Dr Keiko Yasukawa and Dr Stephen Black at the 2011 AVETRA Conference.
There are two main elements to this paper. Firstly, the authors critically examine the current literacy and numeracy ‘crisis’ in Australian workplaces in which loss of productivity, lack of take-up in education and training, and skills shortages are being blamed on workers’ lack of literacy and numeracy skills (Australian Industry Group [AiG] 2010a&b, DEEWR 2010, Skills Australia 2010). The second main element to this paper is the opportunity for unions to demonstrate their stake in the education and training of workers.
For more publications go to our Publications and Report page.