Looking back on 2016, we feel thankful, above all else. Our membership has grown to more than 250 people, and we are grateful for your support.
We are also reviewing the LLN and VET Meeting Place site and making plans for 2017. Our goal is to make sure that we continue to offer information, products and services that are useful to you. We need your help to do this.
We’d appreciate your comments and suggestions about:
our 2016 site and services—what works and what could be better
the content and direction for LLN and VET Meeting Place in 2017—what to stop, start, change, and continue.
To capture your feedback, we have created a short, online survey.
Other things you might like to know about the survey:
You may complete it anonymously if you wish
It will take about 5-10 minutes to complete
We’ll close the survey by COB Monday, 31 October 2016.
This is the one we’ve been waiting for… a high-quality, FREE assessment tool that RTOs can use to test learners in ALL foundation skills – i.e. LLN and employability skills!
The Department of Education has finally released FSAT, which the team at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has been working on for the past 2+ years. This is the foundation skills assessment tool we’ve been waiting for!
In this post we’ll:
explain what the FSAT is
describe 7 benefits of using FSAT
explain exactly which core skills are assessed with FSAT, and how
tell you how you can help get FSAT approved for use with VET FEE Help students, asap
help you get started!
What is the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT)?
The Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) is an interactive online tool designed to identify and measure an individual’s foundation skill levels. This includes English language, literacy and numeracy skills as well as employability skills.
All of the tasks and questions used in FSAT have been developed jointly by teams of external ACSF and CSFW experts, including authors of the two frameworks, working alongside ACER assessment experts.
ACSF and CSfW assessed
Language Literacy and Numeracy AND Employability skills
Assess 5 levels
ACSF 5 skill levels AND CSfW 5 skill levels
Computer adaptive assessment
Comprehensive branching structure to target the appropriate level of question difficulty
For details about the skills assessed on and off-line – see What skills are assessed and how?
See the results immediately
Automatic and immediate scoring and report generation available for all online assessed core skills
Resources for the skills assessed offline
Offline components come with manuals, prompts and marking guides
That’s right, NO service fee!
What skills are assessed, and how?
Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) core skills assessed
Automatically scored skills ACSF
Non-automatically scored assessments ACSF
Learning (Indicator 2)
Learning (Indicator 1)
Core Skills for Work (CSfW) core skills assessed
Please NOTE: Nine out of ten CSfW core skills are assessed automatically. During the testing stage it was found that Skill Area 3d Create and Innovate did not adapt well to automatic assessment so needs to be assessed off line.
Navigate the world of work
1a Manage career and work life
1b Work with roles rights and protocols
Interact with others
2a Communicate for work
2b Connect and work with others
2c Recognise and utilise diverse perspectives
Get the work done
3a Plan and organise
3b Make decisions
3c Identify and Solve Problems
3d Create and Innovate (See NOTE above)
3e Work in a digital world
Use FSAT to assess prospective, or existing learners across all adult education and vocational training, courses and levels. FSAT results can help you:
provide targeted feedback to each prospective learner about the range of skills they hold (i.e. their strengths) and skills to develop
guide and develop solutions, strategies, resources or advice so that prospective learners know what to do, and where to access the support
prepare candidates for a VET FEE Help approved assessment.
How to get started using FSAT
First, you will need to register your organisation with an FSAT account. For more information about registering, click here.
Once you have your account up and running, you may give your clients access to FSAT.
For this post, the Formative assessment refers to the training stage sandwiched between Diagnostic assessment and Summative assessment. The stage of training where learners generally practise the foundation skills used to perform the workplace task.
Type of foundation skills assessment
Pre-training, or start of training
Diagnostic assessment: check for learners’ existing foundation skills
Formative assessment: check learners’ progress with learning how to perform the foundation skills embedded in the workplace task. Assessment for learning.
Completion of training
Summative assessment: assess competency to perform the foundation skills embedded within the workplace task. Assessment of learning.
instructions about the workplace task (and the underpinning foundation skills)
activities to practise the foundation skills required to perform the workplace task
assess the learners’ competency to perform the workplace task with the embedded foundation skills
For learners who commence with enough workplace and foundation skills knowledge, this process may be sufficient.
But, if you have learners who:
are new to the workplace skill, or embedded foundation skill (Novice performer)
have some prior experience with the skills, but are unsure (Advanced Beginner)
may need some skill revision, or a prompt to perform independently (Capable performer)
……… then, how will you know the instruction is sufficient to enable the learners to perform independently and confidently at the time of final assessment.
For both trainers and learners it is valuable to find out as soon as possible, if learners need:
re-direction with ‘how-to’
revisiting strategies or resources
alternative strategies or approaches
alternative resources or support
……………to build foundation skills.
can easily go off-track
may need to ‘un-do’ or re-learn a strategy, concept, or understanding
will benefit from confirmation of their approach
seek timely feedback
enables trainers to check the strength of instruction (‘how to’ …) and support strategies
enables the learners’to become active participants in the learning process.
Think about ………….the implications of assuming learners are developing the necessary foundation skills, and don’t check?
We recommend an active and planned approach: Make formative assessment a priority…………..
1 implement an Assess to Learn approach
Develop a feedback-driven learning environment where you are tuned-in to the foundation skills progress made by the learners and use this to influence the guidance and the instruction you provide, or the delivery plan overall.
Assesses learners’ needs – what are the learners’ skills, what do they need to learn ‘how to do’ now?
Select the strategies and approaches to develop the learners’ foundation skills
Evaluate – through formative assessment – the effectiveness: check progress, understanding, confidence to perform the task independently What progress have learners made?
Think about …….. how might formative assessment influence your instruction approaches to build foundation skills?
2 Where possible, stretch the Practice phase out
‘Dip-into’ learners’ foundation skills progress during the ‘practice’ stage of delivery.Build into the practice stage frequent opportunities to capture what learners CAN do, and the challenges they face. Be open to their reflective comments.
The benefits of collaborative activity
“Beware of the lonely learner: they are at risk of making less progress”
Denise Meyerson 2016 , Emerging Trends in Learning ACPET webinar
For learners: Working with others or responding to the thoughts and ideas of others helps to shape the learning and provides an ‘informal’ formative assessment.
For trainers: Providing feedback to a group is effective and impacts all learns involved – it may also be less time -consuming.
Think about ………when are the timely opportunities to check in with learners as they practise the foundation skills independently, or with others?
3 Tune-in to learner’s skill development, some suggested etools
If you are a VET practitioner, you will know of the many recent and ongoing changes to Australia’s VET sector. As a result, there have been changes to how to access LLN (and foundation skills) information online.
In this post, we list up-to-date links for LLN and foundation skills information, resources, and tools.
Of course, we also hope you’ll visit the resource links pages of our website, which have the links we’ll post here, and much more!
All links listed below are current at the time of writing.
Ideas that Work is an organisation that produces a range of professional development videos for use in a variety of industries. A series of short LLN-targeted videos, called What Works for LLN is available for free online viewing.
What Works for LLN videos offer something for everyone—for trainers and assessors, for other RTO staff, for LLN specialists, and for people studying how to address LLN in training.
One outcome of the 2014-2015 National Foundation Skills Strategy (NFSS) Project was a set of four video resources demonstrating different approaches to building foundation skills in a vocational context.
The different contexts and learner cohorts provide a valuable source of planning and delivery approaches.
You may be wondering ‘why a New Zealand site’? New Zealand’s National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults provides a valuable source of strategies and resources to support the development of foundation skills within workplace training. You can read the latest outcomes of the NZ Adult Literacy focus here.
One resource example is a You Tube channel that contains an extensive library of videos. There are 86 videos addressing aspects of Literacy! Below is just one example from their suite of videos covering Numeracy:
This is a great site to help you or your learners build numeracy skills.
The Khan Academy is particularly good to watch and hear someone explain mathematical concepts and processes, from simple to complex. Learners can practice, check their attempt, and get immediate corrective instruction.
Observe how these trainers approach an LLN pre-training assessment.
Example 2 – videos created by Linda Wyse and Associates, in conjunction with Great Southern Communications
These videos let you observe how ACSF core skill assessments may be conducted. You will see:
An ACSF assessment interview of an adult learner (Paul or Zoe), conducted by LLN specialists. As you watch this interview, consider how the learner responds to questions. Identify the level of ACSF core skills you think the learner demonstrates. Then watch the second video:
A video of a discussion between LLN specialists as they discuss the levels of each core skill demonstrated by the learner. This video gives you an insight into how LLN specialists reach decisions about the core skill levels held by a learner. You can also compare your thoughts with those of the specialists.
Precision Consultancy has produced a suite of freely-available, LLN industry-validated ACSF assessment tools. Some tools are generic (i.e. relevant to any industry) and others are industry-specific.
Each tool includes instructions for assessors on how to use the tool and lists the core skills and levels covered. These tools also give terrific examples of what you might expect at each core skill level. So even if you don’t need them as assessment tools, you may use these as examples to help you write your own instructions for learners.
Other LLN assessments
At the time of writing, the Precision Consultancy ACSF assessment tools were the only tools that meet our criteria of being BOTH free, and validated by the adult literacy industry.
NCVER has set up this POD as a ‘hub’ of information and resources relevant to foundation skills and LLN skills in vocational education and training. The POD offers a collection of recent research across the different foundation skills related aspects. You will also see links to key international bodies also tuned into the development of ‘essential skills’, ‘adult literacy’ skills, or ‘foundation skills’.
It’s now normal to regularly receive a range of information updates, enewsletters, tweets, social media posts, blog posts, and emails. Each one offering information, advice, snippets, suggested follow-up actions, or best ways’ to do something. Each one, prodding us to tweak our knowledge and practice.
AT the heart of the matter for us – LLN and VET meeting place – is Foundation Skills. This post presents the top 5 recently received ‘grabs’ from various sources that speak to foundation skills
Foundation Skills (defined by the National Foundation Skills Strategy NFSS) = LLN skills (ACSF) + Employability skills (CSfW)
ACSF = Australian Core Skills Framework
CSfW = Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework
(1) A Book
This book is written for people undertaking further study in VET teaching and is written from the perspective of ‘what does a VET teacher need to know?’.
Don’t brush this aside – each chapter holds content relevant to each of us, with contextual information, current developments, pedagogy considerations (where relevant) and reflective questions. The exploration of VET teaching practice is taken from a wide angled lens, presenting constructive information and strategic advice.
Chapter 6: Language Literacy and Numeracy in VET Teaching, was written by Keiko Yasukawa, a long-standing and influential Australian leader and researcher in the LLN domain, currently based at University of Technology Sydney. Keiko has much more to say, but these insights or questions are the pick for this post
P98 As a VET practitioner ……………..“you actually have much to offer in the practice of integrating LLN into your teaching because it is the LLN demands of the your vocational discipline and work practices that the students are learning.”
P101 There are multiple literacy practices involved with completing a course(Ivanic et al, 2009)
Literacy practice for becoming and being a student
Literacy practice for learning content
Literacy practice for assessment
Literacy practice for the workplace
P103Reflective question: How explicitly were you taught about these different practices? How does it feel when they are not explicitly taught and you cannot figure it out yourself?
P104The basis of the ’embedded’ or ‘integrated’ approach is …………. focus on making the LLN that the learners and workers encounter explicit and teachit to all of the students.
P107A Reflective question: Whose interests are at stake when I am making decisions about my approaches to practice?
(2) A website
If you are looking for a resource with videos to inspire or encourage learners pondering what vocational course? or direction? SkillsOne has ‘Hundreds of Videos about getting a trade or skill.
Videos can be helpful for showing what’s involved with the work, and the underpinning foundation skills. The videos are from different sources, so are different lengths. Some a ‘bites’, and others more detailed.
If you have access to a TV – search the Channels tab for TV programs featuring specific trades and skills, or future developments.
(3) AN EBulletin
Teacher | ACERupdates are sent each week. Although they are directed at school teachers, we share a lot in common when it comes to teaching/training/delivering instruction.
Our goal is to reveal the foundation skills at the heart of the task, and know if the delivery approach was effective for the learner:
Two of the biggest blockers ………are fear of failure and fear of hidden criteria – they’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for. So, if we can make it really clear……..then they’ll move forward. (21/5).
Taking an inquiry approach to the effectiveness of your teaching. Ask the learners, what kind of feedback helps you? Many reply – ‘Step by step guidance’. Some learners will need more detail – what seems to be obvious to some learners, may remain a mystery to others.
(4) An infographic
The core skill Learning underpins the development of all foundation skills (ACSF and CSfW).
Learning strategies are interlinked, often invisibly, within training/delivery instruction and support.
Delivery or instruction strategies are critical to facilitating learning.
Enjoy this simple Infographic; nothing new. a simple metaphor to tempt deeper reflection!
In your context, how are learners assisted to learn, so they can build and develop necessary foundation skills?
(5) A Blog
The range of strategies to assist learners to build and develop foundation skills is vast. The range of strategies to build specific foundation skills eg Reading or Numeracy , is also vast. Generally we build skills over time.
It’s easy to be locked into the same information bubbles feeding our professional skills and knowledge. What are the impacts of consuming what comes in through the same sources over and over? Have you progressed with confidence to approach or embrace foundation skills within your practice?
Jane Hart’s (C4LPT) framework captures the variety of ways a trainer might continue to evolve their professional expertise.
With foundation skills in mind, where do you go to find:
the human-like robot , Sophia, in the video posted by Wendy Perry (Workforce Planning) who recently attended the US 2016 SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive festival.Ponder potential roles – predictions suggest the intelligence capacity will supercede human potential – faster, cheaper!
the IBM Watson computer competing in the US TV show Jeopardy and that was 2 years ago! What has been developed since?
A 15 year-old today should expect to have 17 different jobs in five sectors in his or her working life
Two-thirds of the tertiary study currently being undertaken is towards jobs which soon won’t exist
Three-quarters of all new jobs will require science, maths or technology proficiency.
Chief Executive, Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen
The CSIRO 2016 Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled World Data 61 suggests the speed of change will be rapid and unprecedented – “Whilst Australia’s workforce is continually changing the current period in history is characterised by a combination of forces likely to be associated with greater, faster and different transitions than previously experienced.”
The explosion of device connectivity and artificial intelligence performing tasks more quickly, safely and efficiently
‘Platform’ economics with porous boundaries
Less jobs with large organisations, The rise of entrepreneurs creating their own jobs/work
Divergent employment profiles
The rising bar – increased technology and complexity required to tasks
Employment growth in the service and education sector – towards a knowledge economy
The video at the bottom of the CSIRO Data 61 summary emphasises the intent of this document to:
offer insight to the future workforce predictions.
stimulate thinking, discussion and strategies about how best to position the Australian workforce for the changes ahead.
The good thing for us (in the education and training world) is that this report, and others, predict education and training will have a significant role – if it remains agile enough to ADAPT, SURVIVE and THRIVE (Deloitte 2016) to the future trends and indicators
Which skills are required to transition successfully into and with the future?
We know that Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills are important contributors to Australia’s innovation and economic growth in a global market; these skills are what employers ‘want’.
Current information also reveals employers want ….. ENTERPRISE SKILLS.
During the three years 2012 – 2015 the Foundation for Young Australians scanned 4.2 million job advertisements gathered from more than 6,000 websites, to track and collate trends in skills required now to enter the workforce. The final report, The New Basics reveals
Enterprise skills are transferable skills that enable young people to engage with a complex world and navigate the challenges they will inherit.
Enterprise skills are not just for entrepreneurs; they are skills that are required in many jobs. They have been found to be a powerful predictor of long term job success.
Which foundation skills are required to transition successfully into and with the future?
The 10 JOB SKILLS YOU WILL NEED IN 2020 captures a broad set of ‘drivers’ and attempts explain or describe the cognitive activities, skills, and tasks in the highly connected global world. It’s from these tasks we can begin to consider – which foundation skills?
Constantly emerging technologies and rapid shifts in the labour market mean that the 21st Century teacher has to navigate uncharted territory (p26)
boosting literacy and numeracy and STEM skills is a priority for the entire population (p31)
The VET sector needs to look beyond the competencies currently required by industry. More emphasis should be placed on foundational knowledge and building the capacity to learn. (p31)
CEDA (p29) predicts there may be tension between job-ready and broad-based competencies ,suggesting the need for both and the capacity to integrate both should be guided by the overarching policy framework .
What initiatives TO ADAPT, SURVIVE AND THRIVE can we implement in our RTOs, with the Industry Reference Groups, and the Skills Service organisations?
When will SCENARIO PLANNING happen; where trends that will influence education and training are considered?
2 HIGH ORDER COGNITIVE SKILLSare the order of the day
modelling, including understanding thresholds and constraints
using extrapolation and extrapolating trends
recognising anomalies and errors
concise and clear communication of judgement
fast and often multi-stepped calculations and estimations
The New Basics points to embracing pedagogy with inquiry approaches, and collaborative activities involving real-world scenarios.
Which of the COMPETENCIES EXPECTED IN HIGH PERFORMANCE WORK ORGANISATIONS are you providing opportunities to develop?
Media literacy and information literacy
Intrapersonal communication skills
Self-direction, emotional intelligence
Problem solving, critical thinking
Initiative, idea generating
3 REMAIN ABREAST of developments in our, industries, and those allied to it
The CSIRO Data 61 video and OECD Skills Outlook 2013 report, and The New Basics (p22) advise we must remain informed about ‘live’ industry trends so that instead of learners relying on heresay, we OFFER RELEVANT AND CURRENT ADVICE:
trends in workforce areas CSIRO p 19
provide quality career guidance CSIROp 27,
continue to promote educational attainment CSIRO p 23
provide easy to find, up to date information and guidance
An outcome of the ‘cutting edge’ technology developments in the construction industry has required tradespeople with higher level skills to apply ‘intelligent and precise’ skills with new technologies
‘With competition so tight, Industry experts claim the cover letter is on it’s deathbed and the CV is on life support’. ‘Recruiters are now urging younger workers to concentrate on strengthening their social media presence and networking ability if they want to stand out of the overcrowded pack.’
How are you REMAINING ABREAST WITH CURRENT AND FUTURE WORKFORCE TRENDS? What networks, collaborative connections and info sources are available to you?
4 A final word from the INFOSYSAMPLIFYING HUMAN POTENTIAL: EDUCATION AND SKILLS FOR THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
INFOSYS commissioned the Future Foundation to undertake research which involved interviewing 1000 young people 16-25 across 9 countries, including Australia. The report was prepared to find out what is on the minds of these young people, some preparing for the workforce and others involved in it. The outcome reports valuable insight to contribute to the debates and discussion about preparing ‘those who will truly master the fourth industrial revolution’. This summary article reports YOUNG AUSTRALIANS ARE THE LEAST PREPARED.
This INFOSYS Infographic, offers 3 optimistic signs and 2 concerns revealed by young people:
Note: EDUCATION IS FAILING TO KEEP PACED WITH THE WORKING WORLD
On the brighter side: a valuable message: To remain agile – PREPARE FERTILE, INQUISITIVE MINDS PREPARED FOR A LIFETIME OF LEARNING.
Might THE NEED TO REMAIN AGILE be relevant to us all, not just those we teach/train and aim to inspire?
So it’s finally happened…
The new Cert IV TAE (TAE40116) is here, and TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills is—finally—a core Cert IV TAE unit… now what?
In this post I’ll:
Provide some background of the ‘LLN story’ and its relationship with the Cert IV TAE
Highlight implications for:
vocational trainers and assessors
trainers and assessors of the Cert IV TAE
Suggest some ‘first steps forward’ for VET practitioners wanting to further develop their ability to address LLN skills in their own training.
First some history
I say ‘finally’ in my opening line above, because we’ve been waiting for LLN to become a core unit in the Cert IV TAE for a long time, now.
Statistics dating back as far as 1996 (SAL) tell us that the LLN skills of adult Australians could be better. Similar results in the 2006 Adult Language and Life Skills (ALLS) survey were a significant contributor to the development of a government endorsed policy: National Foundation Skills strategy for Adults. The policy introduced national skill level targets, and endorsed the role that vocational trainers have to deliver foundation skills.
When the TAE10 Training Package is revised in July 2014 all new and existing trainers will need to hold, or demonstrate equivalent competency for, the unit TAELLN401A.
This announcement sent the VET world into a LLN frenzy—RTOs smothered social media and other networks, falling over each other to offer the ‘mandatory’ LLN unit. Trainers and assessors around the country were duped into thinking that they had to attain this unit, now.
And then a funny thing happened… IBSA realised that its current LLN unit at that time—TAELLN401A Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills—went beyond reasonable expectations for VET practitioners who were not LLN specialists. So, IBSA wrote a new unit—same title, different code. TAELLN411 is the current ‘LLN’ unit and does quite a good job (in my opinion) of describing reasonable expectations for how VET practitioners can address adult LLN skills.
We settled in and became accustomed to TAELLN411. We have known for some time that TAELLN411 would be added as a core Cert IV TAE unit when the TAE Training Package was next updated. But we certainly didn’t expect to take so long! It’s a relief to know it’s finally here.
So TAELLN411 is now a core TAE40116 unit—what are the implications for trainers and assessors?
The answer depends on exactly how you ask the question:
If your question is: Must trainers and assessors attain TAELLN411?
The answer is, ‘no’. In fact, contrary to all those media advertisements you’ve likely seen over the past two years, it has never been—nor is it now (as yet)—mandatory for qualified trainers and assessors to add TAELLN401 or 411 to their list of units held.
Currently the VET world is waiting for an announcement from COAG with information about whether or not trainers and assessors who are already qualified will need to ‘upgrade’ their qualification to meet requirements of the new—and tougher—TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
If the decision is taken that trainers and assessors will need to upgrade, they’ll need to complete more than just the LLN unit. View the post, TAE40116 endorsed… now what? from the TAE Talks blog for details of the key differences between TAE40110 and TAE40116.
But if your question is: Should trainers and assessors attain TAELLN411?
In our opinion, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’! This unit—if delivered by a reputable RTO—is fabulous professional development for trainers and assessors working in any industry. I know that completing this unit has certainly made me a better trainer, because:
I am now far more aware of the foundation skills (including LLN) that my students need if they are to successfully complete my programs
I’m better at being able to uncover and isolate foundation skills and explicitly teach these as I teach workplace skills
It exposed me to endless possibilities and opportunities to keep learning how to address LLN skills in my vocational training… and I’m still learning!
Completing TAELLN411 is a fabulous way to get started building a realisation that LLN is everyone’s challenge, and we can make a positive difference to our students’ lives, even if we only work with them for a short time.
So where do I start?
Whether or not you have attained TAELLN411, we also recommend these resources as a way to refresh your thinking about how you can build LLN skills within your VET practice:
Aligning instruction and assessment tasks to a specific foundation skill level is relevant to each phase of learners’ engagement with training.
Prior to training or early into training
During the teaching and learning
Summative assessment at completion
Prepare tasks to identify foundation skills the learner CAN demonstrate?
Use the information to identify the learners’ foundation skill needs
Prepare tasks to build and support learners’ foundation skill development.
Prepare tasks to enable learners’ to reveal foundation skills progress.
Use the information to consider what strategies effective ir not effective.
Prepare tasks to enables the learners to demonstrate competency at the required foundation skills and knowledge?
Use the information to determine successful or not successful assessment results or course completion.
Aligning, targeting or pitching – this can be an overlooked step
If you aim to identify, instruct or assess a specific core skill at a particular level of competency, then the outcome will be enhanced if there is regard to aligning the task (stimuli and instructions) to the intended foundation skill.
The Performance Variables (pge 5) describe the factors that will influence performance at any one time: context complexity, text complexity, task complexity and the level of assumed support or independence expected. The document includes a one page chart showing the four Performance Variables across the 5 ACSF levels. Each core skill and levels also states the associated Performance Variables. The performance variables provide a useful quick reference guide, but you may want to check other sections to be sure.
Sample Activities for each core skill and level are provided as a guide. Check out the activities suggested in the Education and Training, Workplace and Employment domains. Are there similarities to what you aim to identify, Instruct, assess?
The core skill level Indicators may offer support to your decision, although they may not reveal sufficient information
Specific details can be found in the core skill Focus Area and Performance Features. Some trainers find the Performance Features Grids in the Appendices a helpful section as the Performance Features for each core skill across the five levels are located together.
The document provides a table titled Generic Descriptions of Stages of Performance across the five stages of development (Novice to Advanced performer) in a broad summary format.
The Skill Clusters:
Navigate the world of work
Interact with others
Get the work Done
AND the Skill Areas (10 of these) may help to locate the type and level of employability skill you are aiming to identify, instruct or assess. There is a table that combines the Skills Clusters and the Skills Area,, explaining what each of the skills is ‘about’.
The Focus Areas state the range of employability skills that align with the Skills Areas.
The description of the performance behaviour for each Focus Area and Stage of Development is located within the Performance Features tables. This reveals the specifics.
The CSfW includes Influencing Factors, which, are broader than the 4 ACSF Performance Variables. Like the ACSF Performance Variables, the Influencing factors have the potential to impact performance at any point in time. But unlike the ACSF, the Influencing Factors are not aligned in the Skills Clusters or Focus Areas by Stages of Development.
4 Refer to examples where you can see tasks (Stimuli and instructions) validated by industry specialists:
The Manufacturing Skills Australia site continues to retain the foundation skills resources. There are literacy and numeracy indicator tools (updated in 2015). The resources include the questions mapping to the ACSF. You will need to create a login to the site (accessed 15/3/16).
Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) – is on the horizon, and will be freely available. The tool (developed by ACER) is designed to identify and assess foundation skill capacity. The tool is based on performance features of both the ACSF (LLN) and the CSfW (Employability skills) Watch out for the release of this tool
5 Become observant at Assessment Validation professional development either within or external to your RTO
Does the validation include explicit checking that the task stimuli and instructions align with the intended LLN skill and level?
6 Participate in formal/informal professional development
Adult Learning Australia have a Linked in Adult Literacy Network. Using a webinar platform, the ALA offer opportunities for members who want to submit tasks for validation against the ACSF, The sessions are presented by Philippa McLean; a key contributor to writing the ACSF. Validated tools are then stored and available for others in the network to access.
Connect with like-minded peers/colleagues. Is there a network available that is open to informal discussion, information sharing, and reflecting on effectiveness?
Ask Chemène or I via this website, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call (phone numbers in the right column near the top.
The foundation skill Learning is talked about less than more commonly recognised foundation skills such as reading or numeracy. Perhaps it’s because we assume that if adult learners are going through the motions of the reading or numeracy tasks and activities – not only is the learner developing the reading or numeracy skill but also the adult learner is developing their learning capacity. But are the two skills developing simultaneously?
The capacity to learn:
involves reflecting on, and identify the learning steps and strategies that made the difference between going on and achieving the unexpected, or giving up.
underpins success or progress with all foundation skill development.
We know that learning is:
a personal and invisible process – we can’t see it happening but the learner can be aware of learning something.
a different process for individuals – even with the same learning context/tools
impacted by two factors
What the adult learner brings:
existing skills and knowledge
personal identity and beliefs
desire and motivation to learn
desire and capacity to engage with others
personal learning preference
commitment/confidence to ‘push on’
What the learning context offers:
explanation/rationale about how?
resources to get started
resources to get support
strategies to get connected
Promoting the capacity to learn involves:
Opportunities to learn any time, any day
“Remember that our role goes beyond building courses and other experiences, but is about helping people learn. Learning happens all day, every day, in ways that are as often as not accidental. In 2016 I resolve to find ways of throwing more rocks in the learner’s path, to cause serendipity wherever I can.”
Online resources and tasks allow learning to happen at home, at work, while travelling, and face to face.
Online resources promote learner control, they can watch a video, listen to an explanation, or do a quiz as often as they need to.
Opportunities to ‘see’ all that is involved
Many tasks involving core skill application require steps and strategies. Aim to step back and consider all the sub-skills involved:
what do you need to think about, do, or access?
what distinguishes this task or step from others that are similar?
What enables yo to do this (on the right) or this (below)?
Whatever ‘it’ is make ‘it’ clear, particularly for:
Novice performer, Advanced beginner or Capable performer (Core Skills for Work CSfW)
Levels 1, 2 or 3 (Australian Core Skills Framework ACSF).
Opportunities to access resources, engage with others, and reflect
explain, demonstrate, reveal
provide information, context, summary of purpose or what to notice
(written, visual, or audio)
models, worked through applications
respond to questions
Discussion is a valuable strategy to promote learning, understanding of concepts and contexts, use of language, and practicing communication skills. Look for ways to enable learners to continue to connect and discuss beyond the face-to-face session.
“We rarely grow alone. In fact, some psychologists have made a compelling case that we only grow in connection with others.However, we don’t need to learn with others in formal training or development programs: we can architect our own opportunities to gain insight, knowledge, and skills that move us on an upward trajectory. We can have more control over our learning (at work) if we make building high-quality connections a priority.”
NEW approaches and strategies are required if your RTO offers VET FEE HELP
The VET FEE HELP reforms, effective from 1 January 2016, are explained in this December 2015 Provider Update. New expectations relate to the pre-enrolment stage, particularly where VET Diploma level (and above) courses are offered. The RTO must develop a Student Entry Procedure with two different but related aspects:
information about the course and the course requirements, for example, course overview and purpose, course structure and delivery, commitment in hours per week, task/texts involved, access to internet/on-line resources, time available for workplace experience.
information about the entry procedure and what is required to be eligible to commence the course.
NEW: eligibility requirements:
For VET courses at Diploma level or above,applicants must demonstrate, or provide evidence of reading and numeracy skills at ACSF skills at level 3 or above.
To demonstrate competency, the applicant must provide evidence to satisfy one of the following requirements:
Successful completion of Year 12 (from an Australian State or Territory)
Reading and numeracy skills at, or above, exit level 3 Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).
Information to enable the RTO provider to deem the person holds the competence required.
To ponder ….
1 Completion of Year 12: With any range of subjects? Obtained many years ago? Generally completion of Year 12 is used by higher education to determine eligibility for university entry, including at bachelor degrees (AQF level 7). From your experience, will this be sufficient evidence of existing skills for entry to Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma (AQF level 8)?
2 Complete a pre-training assessment: Does the tool used by your RTO:
identify sufficient information about the person’s reading and numeracy skills ?
3 Deeming the person holds the necessary skills: How will your RTO:
determine which evidence/information?
gather and collate the evidence?
articulate the requirements to applicants?
Could targeted and specific tasks ‘top-up’ current evidence?
NEW:specific requirements for pre-training assessment tools
For courses at Diploma level or above,applicants must demonstrate, or provide evidence of reading and numeracy skills at ACSF skills at level 3 or above.
“Given that this requirement determines access or not to the VET FEE-HELP programme this should be considered as an important and critical process by RTOs where the criteria established need to be implemented using not only a quality LLN assessment tool but also through implementing and undertaking quality assessment processes and practices.”
The Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP providers offers detailed information and considerations to guide the evaluation or review of tools you may be using. Five key aspects are discussed in detail: Validity, Reliability, Fairness, Construction and Effectiveness. The following overview offers aspects to ponder ….:
Does it actually assess the skills as described in the ACSF for the level?
Are the expected responses agreed and accurate?
Have the expected responses been tested and trialled?
Do the tasks use stimuli across a range of real life texts and situations in English?
Are there sufficient tasks to cover a significant number of the core skill focus areas and represent all indicators?
How sure are you that the assessment process produces consistent results?
For manual marking, are there clear and unambiguous marking guides that set out what the responses are and what the overall result needs to be?
Has the tool been trialled with people wanting to study at Diploma Level?
Does the tool advise the resources and support allowed?
Is the tool available to all potential applicants?
Are all applicants offered the same conditions eg necessary time, resource availability, process clarification?
Could the content be offensive, and does the content relate to what is being measured?
What are the security issues?
Does the tool use of clear language, clear and clean layout, clear navigation if online, engaging material, and appropriate use of English.
5 Effectively and validly identifies students who are eligible for VET FEE-HELP:
Are there sufficient questions at level 3 to cover a range of the core skill/level performance features are required to identify competency at ACSF Level 3?
The VET FEE HELP reforms also state that the results are communicated as soon as practicable to the applicant.
Does the tool do this automatically?
If not, how will this happen?
Use an approved testing tool
“The Minister must be satisfied that the tool is a valid, reliable, fair and well constructed way of assessing whether competence is at or above Exit Level 3 in the ACSF; and that the tool has been appropriately verified and evaluated using evidence-based assessment by a suitably qualified independent body in accordance with the report entitled “Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE-HELP providers”,
DET, December 2015, VET FEE HELP Provider Fact Sheet, p2
If you are not sure if the tool used at your RTO meets the VET FEE HELP requirements, a comprehensive checklist with key specifications against each of the five criteria for assessing the tool is located as Appendix 1 of ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP Providers ps 31-36. Assessments of the LLN tool must have regard t0 the contents within this ACER Appendix 1 checklist.
Who can verify (approve)?
“A qualified LLN assessor will be someone with specific expertise and qualifications in LLN, such as the TAE80113 – Graduate Diploma of Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice or equivalent. The new TAE unit TAELLN401A Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills in TAE40110 is not sufficient for this purpose”.
1 Use an RTO developed tool (in-house, or accessed from another RTO)
Providers will have the option of using their own LLN testing instruments where providers are able to provide evidence based justification that their LLN test has been externally and independently verifiedas being able to reliably and validly report performance at the minimum LLN standard established against the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).
If you are aiming to construct a tool, examples of tasks/questions/content range aligned to the ACSF levels can be accessed at Precision Consultancy. Exploring the tools across different ACSF levels is also a helpful way to recognise the performance features indicative at the ACSF core skills and levels.
2 Use a government commissioned Pre-training Assessment too
The Core Skills Profile for Adults CSPA is currently available and recommended in the December 2015 VET FEE HELP Provider Factsheet. This tool assesses Reading Writing and Numeracy skills, as well as Abstract and Mathematical reasoning. The tool can also be tailored to industry specific content.
The Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) has been released. The tool is ready to use for all Pre-training assessments other than pre-training assessment to determine eligibility for VET FEE Help. To meet the requirements for VET FEE Help further trials are required. To read more about the FSAT tool, access the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool(FSAT): 1st of its kind in Australia post on this site.
3 Use a free or commercially available tool
There are a number of tools available. Given the new criteria, it will be important to review the tool and the implementation processes against the quality tool criteria and quality assessment requirements described and explained in the ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP providers. The detailed information provided may help guide your decisions.
If you have further questions, or would like your pre-training assessment tool reviewed, contact me at: