ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement: 2016 version

First…
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Thank you!  And now, back to our regularly-scheduled post!

acsf-pre-l1-supp

Hot off the press!

The Department of Education has released a new version of the ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement.

This new supplement will make it easier for us to meet needs of our learners.  Learners working at pre-level 1 need time to build skills, and usually progress in small steps.  The new pre-level 1 supplement describes these small—and now more recognisable—steps that learners working at pre-level 1 may take towards pre-level 1 exit level.  This will make it easier for us to more accurately identify, develop and report on the capacity of learners at ACSF pre-level 1, and identify ways to link from pre-level 1 to higher ACSF levels.

Make sure you access the 2016 DET updated version, rather than the previous PDF version

What’s new about this version?

The new ACSF Pre-Level Supplement offers, for each core skill, the same sections and structure as the 5 LLN core skills levels 1 to 5. This includes…

“… a detailed set of Indicators, Focus Areas, Performance Features and Sample Activities by which learner core skill gains can be determined and reported.”

(Department of Education and Training 2016 ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement, p1)

Stages are new!

At first glance, it may seem that the pre-level 1 information in this new supplement is presented in the same way as for core skill levels 1 to 5.  But this isn’t quite true.

For the first time, the new ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement describes two stages of progress—Stage A and Stage B—to represent the incremental progress learners may make.

The table below explains how each core skill is described in the new ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement:

Indicators Indicators are provided for each core skill.

Most of these start with, “Begins to …”

Focus Areas The focus areas that learners are likely to be able to demonstrate have Performance Features included.
Performance Features Performance features now describe two stages of skill development—Stage A and Stage B.
Sample Activities Sample activities are not divided into the three Communication Domains.  This is because at this level learners will need to develop their skills from highly familiar, personally relevant, and immediate contexts.

Sample activities for Stages A and B are provided.

Variables One set of variables applies to both stages.
Here’s an example

The example below shows Pre-Level 1 Writing Indicator 0.05: Begins to produce basic written text Performance Descriptions – stages A and B:

pre-level-1-3

Why should we bother using this Pre-Level 1 Supplement?

SBS’s Insight program recently aired an episode called Reading Between the Lines (first aired on 23/9/2016), which highlighted the challenges some adult learners face with developing LLN and foundation skills.

reading-between-the-lines

This episode is an important reminder of the many people in our communities who may have limited LLN/foundation skills but who sincerely want to participate successfully in today’s world. We have a responsibility to do what we can to facilitate this.

We feel that this new Pre-Level 1 Supplement will help us identify a way forward.

Extra reading… preparing pre-level 1 instruction or assessment activities

  • The Pre-Level 1 Supplement offers good practice approaches (within the Theoretical Underpinnings section, page 1)
  • The Performance Features  and Sample activities for each LLN core skill  provide a range of skills and activities that are highly useful to preparing instruction and assessment strategies and approaches
  • If you want to see some examples of instruction or assessment tasks, have a look at the  Precision Consultancy ACSF validated tools. Two examples are shown here.
Example 1:  Making numbers work

pre-l1-numeracy-eg-1

Example 2: Make a Sling

pre-l1-reading-eg1

An update: LLN links for vocational trainers

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Why this post?

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.

See LLN teachers in action – video links

Ideas that work

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.

National Foundation Skills Strategy Project

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.

National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults (New Zealand-based)

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:

Self-paced online activities to build LLN skills

BBC Skillswise website

This site features various self-serve, self-paced activities that help people develop:

  • English skills
  • Literacy skills
  • Numeracy skills.

You may want to direct your learners to this site.

Khan Academy

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.

Examples of how to conduct ACSF assessments

Example 1 IBSA Pre-training Assessment Video on the IBSA video channel

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:

  1. 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:
  2. 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.

These videos are copyright (©) to the Commonwealth of Australia.  Please read the terms of use you’ll find when you visit each link.

ACSF assessment of Paul (Paul works in industry)

  1. View Paul’s ACSF assessment interview
  2. Listen to foundation skills specialists as they discuss the ACSF core skill levels demonstrated by Paul

ACSF assessment of Zoe (Zoe wants to learn English)

  1. View Zoe’s assessment interview
  2. Listen to foundation skills specialists as they discuss the ACSF core skill levels demonstrated by Zoe

Where to find LLN assessment tools

Precision Consultancy

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.

Keep your eye on the horizon for the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT).  We are waiting for the Department of Education and Training to release it (hopefully soon).

General LLN information and research

If you’re interested in staying up to date with latest research on LLN and foundation skills, we suggest:

Foundation Skills POD by the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER)

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’.

Numeracy matters

http://www.freeimages.com/ on 7/12/15
http://www.freeimages.com/ on 7/12/15

We know that Numeracy matters

Numeracy integrates with many aspects of our lives. Sometimes we may not be aware of the calculations we apply so seamlessly, then there are other times when we are aware that we can’t work something out! Living in the 21st Century requires increased numeracy skills and knowledge to navigate the personal, community and workplace numeracy contexts.

For example, Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey of more than 150,000 adults in 148 countries in 2014 asked adults four questions based on financial concepts: risk diversification, inflation, numeracy and compound interest

The results: 30% of women and 35% of men could answer at least 3 of the four questions asked

In his discussion post (below) Dave Tout reminds us of the possible impact of living with limited numeracy skills or knowledge. Referring to the Australian results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), Dave comments …..

…..…”that the results, no matter how you read them, demonstrate that a significant number of Australians aged 15 years and upwards do not have access to sufficient numeracy and mathematical skills to cope equitably with life in the 21st century.

The capacity to make informed decisions – in the workplace or when out shopping, following instructions about a medical or health matter, making decisions about financial matters, or understanding the implications of, say, gambling – all require good numeracy skills.

LinkedIn discussion (TAE Newcomers 2/10/15)

Numeracy instruction matters

The AAMT and AIG Identifying and Support Skills of 21st Century Workers provides an overview of the mathematics used in the workplace. The need to communicate mathematically,  use in the head techniques and interpret from given data are featured in different examples.

Where possible, and perhaps more than usual, identify opportunities to strengthen learners’ numeracy skills and knowledge. Here are some suggestions to consider.

Go beyond the expected

http://www.freeimages.com/ 8/12/15
http://www.freeimages.com/ 8/12/15

 

Encourage learners to tune in to where numeracy is ‘happening’ in their lives. Go beyond the training context (if you have the opportunity) Each day on news – no matter where it is accessed, there are facts, figures , results, amounts, budgets, statistics ……- there is usually a context relevant to the learner group that could bring numeracy to life and/or be incorporated into training. Build opportunities to talk about numeracy in an ‘everyday’ conversation way.

Go beyond your comfort zone!

http://www.freeimages.com/ 8/12/15
http://www.freeimages.com/ 8/12/15

Building numeracy skills can feel ‘prickly’ if you are not usually involved with the numeracy task. Our everyday lives may not involve using the breadth of mathematical and measurement calculations, we can be a bit rusty, or there may be calculations we have never learnt; this can be the case in specific vocation areas.

 

  • Check your own capacity to do the task. Be sure of the underpinning steps involved, potential trouble spots, required skills and knowledge.
  • If you are feeling a bit rusty – go to where you might be able to revisit some important basics. This free 5 week MOOC Numeracy Skills for Employability and the Workplace starts again in February.
  • If you are looking for how to build your learners’ foundation skills training, We also have the Numeracy webinar recording available for purchase. We discuss Teaching Tips instruction strategies to  build learners’ numeracy skills within training, including use of elearning resources. Read more about the webinar here.

Go to where the learner is at

Purchased from Stocksy 4/8/15
Purchased from Stocksy 4/8/15
  • Learners may be a bit rusty too. Offer tasks and activities that enable you to see or hear how the learner approaches the calculations involved.
  • Offer step by step revision, scaffolded with resources to ‘see’ the steps again, or practise them.
  • Some calculations require steps in a particular order, to remain on-target, reveal the hidden traps.

Go to sites that encourage learners to use numeracy for personal use

  • Google Calendar
  • Google Maps
  • Google Spreadsheet
  • online calculators, currency converters

Go to resources that show how to do a specific calculations.

The following resources are a selection of from the Teaching Strategies page 2 Numeracy resources. There are many more, we encourage you to ‘go and have a look’!.

  • BBC Skills wise – range of familiar getting started concepts presented at three levels. Includes teacher explanation, practice worksheets, many with answers available, some videos and quizzes.
  • VALBEC Strength with Numbers – range of familiar getting started concepts. Includes teaching strategies, activities and games, worksheet tasks
  • Khan Academy (need you own login) – may take a little navigating but once you know your way around there are video explanations, practice tasks (self correcting) quizzes for many mathematical calculations.
  • Mathcentre resources  – four examples
  • Facts and formula for functional mathematics (Leaflet)
  • Reading tables and graphs (PDF)
  • Finance – range of topics (PDF)
  • Percentages (VIDEO)
  • 10 You Tube channels showing a variety of strategies – check these out first. Aim to to avoid resources prepared for use with children, especially if they look very child-friendly

 

 

 

 

ACSF, LLN, FSK, FS, CSfW, FSAT – making sense of the jargon

Foundation Skills under the Spotlight

Why are these acronyms relevant? No doubt you are aware that foundation skills are under the spotlight. As training professionals we are encouraged to raise the foundation skills profile; shifting their presence from implicit and assumed, to explicit and planned to be part of each stage of training delivery.

Each VET course and each VET unit has foundation skills within the Performance Criteria tasks and the Required Skills and Knowledge. Identifying the ACSF (LLN) core skill and the CSfW (Employability Skills) is the first step to bringing these to the forefront of planning, instruction and assessment.

A snapshot of these acronyms: FSK, ACsf, FS, csfw, fsat, and lln
Foundation Skills (FS)
The term Foundation Skills was introduced by the National Quality Council (NQC) and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Joint Steering Committee (2009) in the Foundation Skills in VET Products for the 21st Century. Foundation Skills are under the spotlight; promoted as being critical for a person to fully participate in the workforce, community, education and training, and critical to the future of the Australian economy. Foundation Skills were initially described in the DEEWR National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults Consultation Paper (2011) as a combination of the ACSF Core Skills (Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication and Numeracy) AND Employability Skill (see list below) and continue to be understood in this way.Foundation SkillsACSF and CSfW

Both the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and the Core Skills for Work developmental framework (CSfW) are nationally developed frameworks. Each presents stages of development across levels of performance.  Each provides a common language and reference points to discuss or address particular skills. The ACSF presents descriptors that relate to the life-wide participation of adults in community, the workplace, or education/training contexts. The CSfW descriptors relate to  employability skills within the workforce practice, or workforce training: navigating the world of work, interacting with others, and getting the work done.

They are purposefully designed resources to enable professionals to:

  • communicate about aspects of  training content and context using consistent descriptions (the foundation skills involved).
  • identify and describe, the required  foundation skills to successfully participate within the training context (knowing the the foundation skill demand)
  • articulate the foundation skills and knowledge of those participating in the training, their skills, knowledge or understanding, observed or revealed through their responses. (knowing the learners).
  • tailor instruction and assessment approaches to strengthen foundation skills and knowledge (knowing what to do)

It is important to note, foundation skills capacity:

  • is not necessarily fixed or permanent, there is scope for development.
  • in any single descriptor/indicator is usually dependent on capacity of more than one related descriptor/indicator.
  • is dependent on the context, and can vary from one context to another.
  • takes time to develop. A complex matrix of inter-related variables impact on learning and transformation.
LLN

LLN is an acronym for Language Literacy and Numeracy – generally used to represent the core skills embraced in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF)  – Learning, Reading Writing Oral Communication and Numeracy.

FSAT

Funded by the Department of Industry, the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) is currently being developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The tool will involve identification of an individual’s capacity against both  core skills (ACSF) and  employability skills. Information provided on the link explains how the different skills will be assessed. Currently RTOs have volunteered to be involved with the trials of the tool, then following necessary adjustments it will be available freely for use. The ACER want more RTOs to be involved with the trial stage, so register your interest.

FSK

FSK can represent Foundation Skills, or, is more commonly known to represent the Foundation Skills Training Package (FSK).

The Foundation Skills Training Package (FSK) is a suite of 91 units, each one aligned to an ACSF core skill (Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Numeracy), and core skill level level (1 to 5). The Employability Skills are embedded within these 91 units aligned to the relevant ACSF core skills and levels . For example Team Work, Negotiating and Presenting are within the ACSF core skill Oral Communication

It is intended that the Foundation Skills units, or courses (FSK10113 Certificate I in Access to Vocational Pathways , FSK10213 Certificate I in Skills for Vocational Pathways, FSK20113 Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways) are delivered  within a vocational context to support the foundation skill development that may be necessary for people undertaking workplace training.

If you have any questions – contact us. We welcome your interest.

Are you going round in circles about how to identify your new learner’s LLN/FSK existing skills? Consider these options.

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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 llnandvetmeetingplace@gmail.com:

  • 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