This time of year offers an opportunity to reflect and revisit those great ideas that passed your way during the year. Sometimes changes are made to teaching, learning and /or assessment practices as a result of that insight.
Who will find time to explore the ‘must-remember this’ collection from 2017 – those useful resources and tips pinned to the ‘remember this’ notice-board? This might be that time to ask, ‘Now where is that URL?’, ‘Where did I pin that resource suggestion?’, or ‘Where’s that blog with the 6 tips about …?’
Some reports are released with little fanfare and limited discovery. This blog is about one report that may, or may not have passed your way. We believe it deserves some attention and reflection. It is the 2017 OECD report:
Building Skills for all in Australia Policy Insights from the Survey of Adult Skills
If you are looking for something to prompt, prod, nudge, or trigger you into a reflective mindset, then explore this report. This OECD report is relevant to each person involved with adult education and training – regardless of the context.
This slideshow reveals a summary of the key messages. The powerpoint is pre-loaded – click the arrows to progress slides.
Look out for:
- the foundation skill that needs the greatest ‘shout out’
- the NEET recommendations (NEET ** see below)
- literacy and numeracy skills of graduates with high-level VET courses
- addressing individual needs
- the link between literacy and numeracy skills, and quality criteria
NEET** = Young person Not in Employment Education and Training
Each of these report findings is worthy of more attention than we provide now – it’s not the time of year for more tips and strategies – so we will finish with one or two key points, or quotes, for you to think about.
1. Raise the numeracy profile
“One Australian in 5 performs below [ACSF] Level 2 in Numeracy, which means that around 3 million Australians struggle with the numerical reasoning necessary to cope with everyday situations (such as reading a petrol gauge).”
Teach Numeracy Differently – keep it in context
Hot off the press – a new resource from one of Australia’s Numeracy experts – Dave Tout – Numeracy: teaching maths in context. Go to http://multifangled.com.au/wp/?page_id=70
Include numeracy in teaching and learning conversations. Point out where numeracy exists – it’s everywhere. Numeracy relates to every workplace role in some way – either explicitly or implicitly – ‘How long does it take you to …?’, and it relates to many areas of life. Here’s something relevant to most learners: What Happens in an Internet Minute
2. Engage NEETs
NEETS (aged 16 – 29) may be unemployed, outside the labour market and may not be looking for a job. This makes it a challenge to engage with them via usual policy and promotion.
“Almost 40% of NEETs are [school] dropouts.”
“NEETs have lower levels of non-cognitive skills than non-NEET youth…(openness, extroversion, emotional stability, conscientiousness, and agreeableness).”
OECD 2017 Building Skills for all in Australia p.74
3. Build foundation skills for learners in high-level VET courses
Our VET system is inclusive and caters to adults with different needs. This is a hallmark of the Australian education sector. We have a strong focus on identifying learners’ existing skills, prior to training, or as close to the start of training as possible. We use this information to plan support approaches to build foundation skills for those learners’ with identified foundation skill needs.
“For many [higher level VET] students, the problem of basic skills is not resolved at the point of graduation”
OECD 2017 Building Skills for all in Australia p.58
4. Address individual needs
“Helping adults to improve their basic skills remains a challenge nearly everywhere and there are no easy answers. But the alternative – of doing nothing – is even worse.”
OECD 2017 Why it matters if you can’t read this accessed 12/12/17
5. Embed foundation skills within quality processes
“Some institutions may accept students with poor basic skills with no intention or capacity to address this challenge.
Basic numeracy and literacy should therefore underpin all post-secondary VET qualifications.”
ASQA made two subtle shifts this year, each intended to strengthen the focus on quality training delivery and assessment – this includes attention to foundation skills. ASQA:
- introduced a student-centred audit approach. The summary video is here
- sharpened their focus on foundation skill requirements for units of comptency. See the second half of the ASQA 2017 Trainer Provider Briefing PowerPoint .
Perhaps you will be prompted to:
- take on a new strategy
- be more rigorous with observation
- initiate a new approach
- develop or revise a plan
- increase tactic discussions
- think, “How can I tweak my training and assessment practice to address this?”
Enjoy any time you have to reflect!