Introducing Australian adult numeracy resources - a QCAL ACAL webinar
This interactive webinar will introduce the resource, showcase some of the new small group and pair activities and discuss the rationale underpinning the sections and the type of activities and practice sheets included in "free VALBEC numeracy resources.
Register for the webinarDate: Wednesday, 30 July, 4.00 pm AEST
During 2013 VALBEC (the Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council) released a new adult numeracy resource 'Building Strength with Numeracy'. It was developed by Beth Marr, and is available on line for teachers to download free of charge. The resource contains revised, updated and expanded versions of activities from previous popular publications, such as 'Strength in Numbers', 'Mathematics a New Beginning', 'Breaking the Maths Barrier' and 'Numeracy on the Line' which have become out of date and difficult to obtain. It also introduces a number of completely new ideas and activities which have not been previously published. New sections will be added later this year.
Beth Marr is widely experienced in many aspects of adult numeracy education, including teaching, curriculum development, professional development and creation of resources such as 'Mathematics: A New Beginning', 'Strength in Numbers' and 'Numeracy on the Line', all of which promote active learning ideas for adult numeracy. She has worked extensively in TAFE and later at RMIT University in teacher training for VET teachers and trainers, including many projects with trainers from developing countries. Beth has recently worked on several teaching and resource development projects for adult learners in East Timor, including Ministry of Finance staff members, Timorese army officers and VET teachers and students. During 2013 – 14 Beth has delivered adult numeracy professional development workshops in cities around Australia.
Research for Australia has found that having better literacy and numeracy skills increases the likelihood of positive labour market outcomes. This paper profiles the literacy and numeracy skills of Australia’s adult population and assesses how important they are for two labour market outcomes – employment and wages.
The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.
The Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) Practice Award recognises innovation and excellence by an individual involved in improving LLN skills in an educational, community or workplace context.
Applications close Friday 30 May 2014.
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The Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) is to be targeted at appropriately trained and qualified VET practitioners and would provide an assessment of an individual’s foundation skill levels using two Australian Government frameworks - the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and the Core Skills for Work (CSfW) Developmental Framework. In addition the tool would assist in targeting foundation skill interventions to a maximum benefit and enable reporting on foundation skills training in a consistent way.
ACER is interested in hearing from interested VET and employment services providers to be involved in focus groups and trials in order to provide feedback and to trial and test the assessment system and the questions to be used in the various assessments.
The University of Tasmania is leading an Office of Learning and Teaching Grant, ‘Development of mathematics pathways for VET students to articulate to related higher education courses’. Flinders University, University of Notre Dame Australia and James Cook University are partners on this project along with TasTAFE, West Coast Institute and Tropical North Queensland TAFE.
During this first year we are developing pathways for Education (with a focus on primary and early childhood) and Engineering and starting in 2014 we will be developing pathways into Business and Health Sciences. The project will link specific VET qualifications with related HE courses and identifying the gap of maths competencies between the two, then developing resources and/or courses to fill the gap.
All of the resources developed will be available as open education resources and accessed through the project website. The initial two pathways for Education and Engineering are in the final stages of development and we are interested in getting the word out about the project.
The website with the Education pathway and all learning modules will be live in 2014
Answers to these questions are being explored through a national project to scope the development of a foundation skills professional standards framework.
The scoping project was intended to generate discussion among those working in foundation skills to define and strengthen the identity of the field, advance the status and standing of the profession and explore options for developing professional standards.
Here are the responses from ACAL and from the states.
PIAAC is an international survey of adult skills in the areas of literacy, numeracy and problem solving.
Thanks to Jan Hagston, Multifangled P/L, member PIAAC Literacy Expert group and Dave Tout, ACER, member PIAAC Numeracy Expert group for this article on PIAAC.
What is PIAAC?
What do the preliminary results tell us?
What don’t the results tell us?
Why take part in surveys like PIAAC?
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.
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
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