New Adult Literacy and Numeracy Standards Released for the New Qualifications


Well, it’s taken a while… but it’s finally official. Here’s what you need to know:

  • We have a new suite of unit standards for adult literacy and numeracy education.
  • These new standards are for the new qualifications including the New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy & Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace).
  • The old standards are now expiring, but are still fit for purpose for assessment until 31 December 2018. So there is roughly a two-year transition period.
  • The content for Unit Standard 21204 has been broken up.
  • The new NZCALNE (Voc) will eventually replace the current NCALNE (Voc), just like the current NCALNE (Voc) replaced the original NCALE (Voc).

In terms of the new NZCALNE (Voc), there are four new standards. These are:

  • Unit 29622. Describe adult literacy and numeracy education in Aotearoa New Zealand. 5 credits
  • Unit 2962. Design strategies to embed adult literacy and numeracy in the delivery of a training or education programme. 10 credits
  • Unit 29624. Plan and facilitate embedded adult literacy and numeracy skills development in a training or education programme. 15 credits
  • Unit 2962. Use assessment to strengthen adult literacy and numeracy teaching and learning. 10 credits

A caution:

  • These standards are not the roadmap to delivering the new qualification. But they do provide a clear guide to what content the new NZCALNE (Voc) should assess as part of programme delivery. It will be up to providers to determine what that delivery roadmap should look like.

The good news:

  • As ALEC already has consent to assess the ALNE standards to level 6, we’ll automatically get this consent extended to the new standards.
  • We submitted our course approval documentation to the NZQA months ago for delivery of the new qualification but it’s been in limbo land pending the release of these new standards. This is now underway again on the NZQA side and we’re waiting to hear on its status.
  • I’ve worked on both the new qualification and the new standards as part of the subject expert group. This means any new content will incorporate the best of what ALEC has had to offer to date, as well as our most current thinking and knowledge about embedding literacy and numeracy into training.

The plan:

  • Our plan is to begin delivering the new version of the qualification with the new standards as soon as we can. Hopefully, this will be by the start of the academic year in 2017. This will depend on how much longer the course approval process takes and then how quickly we can move to develop the new content required.
  • We’ll keep you updated here on any progress.

Any questions? Please let me know.



From the NZQA: Review of Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education unit standards


NZQA have now officially listed the new standards for the NCALNE (Voc). I’ve pasted in their blurb below. But I’ll do a shorter summary of my own later today. Cheers, Graeme

Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (ALNE) unit standards

In September 2016, following the review of ALNE unit standards, a new suite of ALNE standards were approved for listing. The new suite of standards is now available in Domain – Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education.

The new ALNE standards will contribute toward the government strategy of developing the literacy and numeracy of adults and improving the quality of teaching within the context of training or education programmes.

The ALNE unit standards were reviewed to support the New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace) (Level 5) [Ref: 2754] and the New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Educator) (Level 5) [Ref: 2755]. The standards align with the graduate profile outcomes in content and credit value.

An expert panel, comprised of representation from the tertiary sector (polytechnic, private training establishment and university), the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, an ALNE consultant, and the national moderator, met to review these standards. Changes proposed by the panel were circulated to the wider network for consultation and endorsement.

Main changes

  • Literacy and numeracy teaching and learning are not treated in separate standards. Both literacy and numeracy are covered in all standards.
  • The standards have taken on a more applied approach, taking the theory of ALNE teaching and learning into practice.
  • The credit value of the standards are between 5 – 15 credits. There is no longer a 30 credit standard required for vocational/workplace candidates.
  • In the explanatory notes, reference has been made to the New Zealand ALNE qualifications, to which the new standards have been aligned. These standards are a valid way of achieving the qualifications.


Cross-crediting between the ALNE Vocational/Workplace qualification and the Educator qualification is explicit in the areas of knowledge required for ALNE in Aotearoa New Zealand. The standards below may be used for both qualifications:

  • Unit 29622, Describe adult literacy and numeracy education in Aotearoa New Zealand (5 credits)
  • Unit 29625, Use assessment to strengthen adult literacy and numeracy teaching and learning (10 credits).

Other skills and knowledge in the above two areas, required for the specialist adult literacy and numeracy Educator qualification, are reflected in extra standards. A table, showing the relationship between new ALNE standards and NZ ALNE qualifications, is available in the document “List of ALNE stds showing relations.docx” (DOCX, 22KB).

ALNE standards may also be credited towards the New Zealand Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Teaching (Level 5) [Ref: 2993] in areas where the same skills and knowledge are required for these qualifications. Dependent on the programme design for these qualifications, there are potential overlaps in areas of design, facilitation, assessment and evaluation.

Transition period

The replaced ALNE standards are now designated as ‘expiring’. The last date for assessment against these standards is 31 December 2018. This is a transition period to allow time for providers to adjust their programmes and resources to the new standards. For more information on Expired and replaced unit standards go to Outcomes of unit standard reviews page.

Providers who currently have consent to assess ALNE unit standards will have this extended to the new standards automatically.

Want to help your kids with reading?

My friend James is developing free resources for parents to help kids with reading. There’s video tutorials, PDF downloads, comprehension questions, and all kinds of  stuff.

This is very cool Kiwi content that you should support. You can also watch and listen to James reading the stories out loud.

There’s a low-key focus on teaching and learning reading comprehension strategies and building vocabulary through original stories.

More about James’ background and own story here.

This is what I feel like when I’m writing my new course submission…

crazy wall

This is what it’s like with too many browser tabs open inside your brain. I’m nearly finished our course submission for the new NZCALNE (Voc) qualification.

It’s slowly driving me nuts. I think I started out all “A Beautiful Mind” style of crazy wall…


But now I’ve gone full Carrie from Homeland crazy wall…


Keeping track of the differences between the new standards and how I actually want to deliver the course is like trying to track down Professor Moriaty…

sherlock crazy wall



How to map the numeracy demands of your course, context or a particular calculation

This is a guest post by our numeracy expert, Janet Hogan. Thanks Janet…!

Making Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand

Screenshot 2016-08-18 10.33.22.png

  1. There are six progressions in this strand. The first three are about how to do things (strategies) and the second three about what you need to know to do those things (knowledge).
  2. You only need to think about the first three when you map demands. What you need to know (the second three) will sit one step behind the highest step of the first three
  3. Have a look at the example above. The context mapped here is stocktaking in a warehouse. It requires addition, subtraction of whole numbers (Step 4), multiplication of whole numbers (Step 5) and finding fractions of a whole number such as ¼ of 60 (Step 4). The knowledge progressions will all be at Step 4.
  4. Please note, demands will never be mapped at Step 1 and Step 2 of the additive and multiplicative strategies progressions or Step 1, 2, and 3 of the proportional reasoning progression. These are developmental stages in becoming numerate. For example Step 2 is about adding and subtracting by counting, maybe on your fingers. Learners may be at Step 2 but no demand wants people to be doing that!
  5. Remember: If you know that your learners are at step 2, then you’ve got diagnostic information about your learners – not the mapped demands of the course, context, or calculation.

Measure and Interpret Shape and Space strand

  1. There are three progressions here.  Most demands require the use of some measurement – even if it is just an understanding of time – so you will probably be mapping on the measurement progression. Again Step 1, 2, and 3 are developmental so you will be mapping at Step 4 or above.
  2. If your course/context or calculation does not require an understanding of distance, directions, grids and bearings, in other words how to find your way (location progression) or recognising and working with mathematical shapes (shapes and transformation progression) then do not map on these progressions – indicate that these progressions are not applicable to your context/course or calculation.

Reason Statistically strand

  1. Statistics is the branch of mathematics that deals with the collection, organisation, analysis, and interpretation of numerical data, usually with a view to making predictions. If this is not part of your courses/context or calculation, do not map your demands on the statistics strand – indicate that this stand is not applicable to your context/course or calculation.
  2. Please note statistics is not about reading tables such as bus timetables, wage tables etc. Some would argue that reading tables is a literacy skill for which you might also, depending on the table, need some numeracy knowledge.

Where do I find the full versions of the Learning Progressions?

The TEC have decided that they will not print any more copies of the Learning Progressions resources. Nor do they have any plans to print them again.

Rather these are available online only now, and you can just use them as electronic documents or you can print them out yourself.

You can download the main books in the links below. These are each 1MB PDF files. There are also the double-page strand charts further down as well which would probably open up on your phone if needed.

Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy

Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy (PDF, 1 MB)

Strand charts and Guidebooks

Open Source Learning Progressions

And just as an interesting aside, the progressions are now licensed for re-use by the TEC under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.

This means, in essence, we are free to copy, distribute and adapt these documents for non-commercial purposes, as long as we attribute them to the TEC and abide by the other licence terms.

And that means we could remix and potentially upgrade them… in other words, develop Learning Progressions 2.0. Anyone interested?

Designing our approach for the new NZCALNE (Voc)

Currently, I’m working on the design for the new version of the qualification that we teach. This new qualification will update the existing NCALNE (Voc) and unit standard 21204.

I’m after some feedback. Outlined below are what I see are some of our major assumptions about how we want to deliver this course moving forward.

If you can stand it, have a read through and let me know what you think.

Just hit the voting buttons in the poll at the top to respond in brief. Or leave me comments if you want to provide more detail. Any and all feedback appreciated:

Teaching and learning approach

ALEC’s approach to teaching, learning, and assessment includes:

  • A shift to blended and distance learning using cloud-based digital platforms including Pathways Awarua.
  • Contact with tutors, check-ins, coaching and other support via phone, Skype, email, and SMS messaging.
  • Face-to-face consultation, support, workshops and labs tailored to the needs of customers.

In the past, teaching and content delivery has relied more on face-to-face delivery supplemented by text-based resources. With this programme, we expect to that teaching and content will be more orientated towards video-based and other online material.

Some of the reasons for this shift towards an online environment are economic. Many employers are working in restricted funding environments which means they are less willing to fund face-to-face training that removes tutors from their teaching environments.

We hold a number of assumptions about our planned approach. These are that our NZCALNE (Voc) candidates:

  1. Are typically existing practitioners already working in the adult education and training sector who are self-directed in the sense that they can cope with the demands of this professional development course part-time while working in their jobs. Candidates should also possess the capacity to use the learning tools provided to explore the content area on their own terms, but in a way that is well supported by us as needed.
  2. Bring to the training a growing reservoir of experience from their work in industry or education that becomes an increasing resource for learning. Candidates will also have different levels of experience using blended and distance education tools, so we can provide a range of different support mechanisms using different media to address this.
  3. Are ready to learn the content due to their roles as adult educators, and in particular because of the requirements of their employers or the TEC with respect to their training.
  4. Will find immediate application of the knowledge and skills gained through this programme, particularly with the components involving assessing or teaching learners. The focus of our programme is pragmatic with an emphasis on addressing real-world literacy and numeracy problems as they impact tutors’ teaching and training.
  5. Are motivated to learn for a combination of external and internal reasons. Intrinsic motivation will stem from a growing desire to teach and train in ways that are more aligned with best practice for adult literacy and numeracy.

In terms of applying principles from adult education to our own training, our approach is to:

  1. Explain the reasons why we are teaching specific things. For example, this includes the reasons why it is important to understand the context for adult literacy in New Zealand, or why it is useful to take a strategic approach to designing learning through mapping literacy and numeracy demands or looking at organisational processes. In the ten years that we have been teaching and assessing the NCALE (Voc) and the NCALNE (Voc), we have developed an approach to content design that is dynamic rather than static. This is built on feedback from our learners, graduates, and strategic partners. While the assessment standards will most likely remain static for medium-term future, we will continue to develop, update, and upgrade our content to match TEC requirements and new developments in the sector, locally and internationally.
  2. Make instruction task-oriented. Assessments, where possible, are in the context of tasks and activities performed by candidates in their jobs as tutors and trainers. This includes in relation to designing learning, conducting assessments, and planning and facilitating learning which is framed as a teaching inquiry project designed to have candidates experiment and explore different approaches and activities relating to adult literacy and numeracy education in their own contexts.
  3. Allow assessment activities to take into account the wide range of different backgrounds of candidates and their teaching or training contexts. Learning materials and assessment tasks are designed to allow for different levels or types of previous experience with teaching and training. Also, due to TEC contractual requirements relating to funding, candidates will gain a permanent real-world benefit by gaining this credential recognising the baseline knowledge and skills for embedding literacy and numeracy into education and training.
  4. Allow instruction and assessment activities to discover things including new knowledge about their learners and their teaching for themselves. Because much of the learning is framed in terms of a teaching inquiry project (design, assess, plan, facilitate, assess progress, evaluate), candidates will have the chance to fine-tune skill sets relating to education and training, and acquire and retain practical knowledge by doing the work. We’ll be there to provide support and guidance as necessary and help when barriers present or mistakes are made.