It’s the start of a new training year for many registered training organisations (RTOs), with the literacy needs of new and continuing learners to consider. Learner progress and success involves building from, or strengthening existing core skills. Identifying which core skills learners need to develop is an important step in the pre-training or ‘at-the-start’ of training phase, and informs the preparation and planning to promote explicit teaching of the necessary core skills. The new Standards for Registered Training Organisations RTOs (2015) – Standard Clause 1.2 presents this aspect.
If you have completed the unit TAELLN401/411 then you will be aware that the national benchmarking tool for identifying existing literacy skills is the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).
Developing your own resources that are aligned to the ACSF can be more complicated than it seems, and potentially time-consuming. There are two nationally validated ACSF-based strategies/resources to currently available and worth considering.
1 Use the Australian Core Skills Framework assessment tools located at Precision Consultancy, which was funded by government to develop and prepare freely available ACSF validated tasks/tools across a range of specific and generic workplace contexts.
The particular workplace context or vocational area you are involved with may not be represented in these tasks/tools however, there are a selection of tasks/tools that embrace the core skills needed for your particular vocational training area, or that is deemed important for your learners to know to perform effectively in the workplace. For example, if writing is a core workplace skill, then you can utilise the ACSF tasks/tools at the core skill level which matches your qualification requirements.
These tasks/tools are:
- Aligned to the ACSF – have undergone extensive validation
- Include some generic content
- Cover the 5 ACSF core skills
- Cover ACSF levels 1-4.
The Tasks/Tools Advantages:
- Assessor advice/guidelines are included
- Tasks/tools are ready to print off and use
- They provide examples of performance/capability at the different ACSF levels
- Some tasks/tools integrate more than one core skill
- Best undertaken in a face to face context, but can be distributed electronically
The Tasks/Tools Disadvantages:
- Some interpretation of learner performance is required with the writing/oral communication/learning core skills responses
- May need to implement a separate approach to draw out learning and oral communication capacity
2 Participate in the trials of the ACER Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) .
“The Department of Industry has contracted the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to develop an online Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) to identify and assess an individual’s foundation skill levels. The tool will be available free to assist learners, job seekers, trainers, educators and employment services practitioners to assess their own or a client’s foundation skill levels, and help identify any gaps in skills and knowledge.” (FSAT Overview http://www.acer.edu.au/fsat, 20/01/15)
The online FSAT tool combines the assessment of core skills against the ACSF and the Core Skills for Work (CSfW). The link ACER FSAT leads to a comprehensive explanation of the assessment intent and approaches to the different core skills.
The ACER FSAT needs your help. More RTO’s are encouraged to consider being involved in the tool trials, enabling some of the their students to participate in the trials. The trials are important for achieving outcome/result/analyses reliability, which will ultimately impact on the tool’s use and value. Participation can also provide an opportunity to contribute feedback to the tool development through the observations/experiences of your learners, as well as increase your knowledge of this tool.
The FSAT Advantages
- No cost involved
- Available on-line (when released)
- Combines both the ACSF and the CSfW
- No preparation involved
The FSAT Disadvantages
It’s not yet available – the trial phase is important for finalising the end product. So become involved to enable the final product to be realised.
The Precision Consultancy ACSF tools, and the opportunity to trial the ACER FSAT on-line assessment, offer two readily available resources for teachers to identify the existing skills core skills (ACSF or ACSF and CSfW) of the learners you will be teaching, and may suit your circumstances at this, often hectic, time of the year. Take a look at these resources via the links and consider how they could be used in your context.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- If you would like more information or support interpreting these documents, and/or
- You would like to discuss strategies for identifying your learners’ LLN/FSK core skill capacity using different approaches