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

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  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.

NZ’s embedded literacy & numeracy approach justified by PIAAC results?


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That’s a question in the title, by the way… Whether the PIAAC results do justify our current approach, Minister Joyce thinks we’re doing a good job and he’s happy we’ve made such great progress.

Here’s his press release from the other day:

New Zealand fourth in OECD for adult literacy

New Zealand’s ranking in adult literacy has improved significantly to fourth in the OECD from 12th in 1996 says Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce.

The Survey of Adult Skills, released today, shows Japan first in adult literacy followed by Finland, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

“These results are great news for our economy and our society. Our workforce needs world class skills and knowledge that will boost the productivity of the New Zealand economy. A more highly skilled, highly qualified workforce is essential and that must include good literacy skills across the board,” says Mr Joyce.

“The progress we have made is a real tribute to the adult educators and all those involved in improving literacy in New Zealand.”

New Zealand is also amongst the world leaders in problem solving using technology – a skill that’s been tested for the first time in the OECD survey.

“We rank fifth for this important skill and have the highest proportion of adults with moderate to high problem solving skills using computers. These are skills increasingly called for in today’s working environments.”

Adult numeracy skills have remained steady since 2006 and New Zealand is ranked 13th in the OECD, ahead of Australia, Canada and Singapore and the OECD average.

The survey results follow years of intensive focus by the Government on improving adult literacy and numeracy, particularly in the workplace.

“The numbers of adults accessing help with their literacy and numeracy has quadrupled between 2010 and 2013 from 36,200 to 175,000. We’re also seeing earlier identification of problems with literacy and numeracy through use of the adult literacy and numeracy assessment tool,”

In 2015 alone, the Government invested $248 million into tertiary courses with literacy and numeracy embedded within other subjects. Another $48.5 million is available for courses specifically for adult learners to improve their literacy and numeracy and/or learn English.

Literacy and numeracy received a further boost in Budget 2016. $14.6 million will be provided over four years so that foundation education at Levels 1 and 2 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) is completely fees-free (these courses always include literacy and numeracy). Another $11 million is being provided for 600 more places for the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Programme and around 900 places more places from 2017 onwards compared with 2015.

The results show that our system is on the right track.  In the years ahead we will focus particularly on lifting numeracy skills further, while seeking to maintain our strong performance in literacy and problem-solving”

 

Well done NCALNE graduates! We’re holding the line on literacy and numeracy


According to the OECD press release for New Zealand, we’re holding the line on literacy and numeracy. Here’s the summary:

  • Adults in New Zealand score above the OECD average in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.
  • New Zealand’s immigrant population is one of the most skilled across OECD countries. At the same time, native-born New Zealanders who speak English as a second language are over-represented among adults with low proficiency.
  • The differences in skills proficiency related to age, gender, education and social background are less pronounced in New Zealand than in other countries. However, sharp ethnic differences, particularly for Māori and Pacific peoples, exist in New Zealand.
  •  In New Zealand, even more so than in other OECD countries, higher proficiency in literacy and numeracy have a positive impact on labour force participation and wages.
  • The relationship between literacy and levels of trust in others, political efficacy, participation in volunteer activities and self-reported health is positive and mostly in line with those observed in other OECD countries.

What else…? Here’s the background info from the press release:

The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), provides a picture of adults’ proficiency in three key information-processing skills:

  • literacy – the ability to understand and respond appropriately to written texts
  • numeracy – the ability to use numerical and mathematical concepts
  • problem solving in technology-rich environments – the capacity to access, interpret and analyse information found, transformed and communicated in digital environments.

Proficiency is described on a scale of 500 points divided into levels. Each level summarises what a person with a particular score can do. Six proficiency levels are defined for literacy and numeracy (Levels 1 through 5 plus below Level 1) and four are defined for

Six proficiency levels are defined for literacy and numeracy (Levels 1 through 5 plus below Level 1) and four are defined for problem-solving in technology-rich environments (Levels 1 through 3 plus below Level 1).

The survey also provides a wide range of information about respondents’ use of skills at work and in everyday life, their education, their linguistic and social backgrounds, their participation in adult education and training programmes and in the labour market, and other aspects of their well-being.

The Survey of Adult Skills was conducted in New Zealand from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. Some 6 177 adults aged 16-65 were surveyed.

 

ALEC graduates responsible for NZ’s improved literacy rating?


piaac

Well, it’s impossible to prove really, but the new data from the latest research is out. And here’s what you need to know so far:

  • The latest data comes from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).
  • This updates the 2006 ALLS survey.

According to the National Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy to Adults (NCLANA), New Zealand adults score on average above the OECD average and are ranked:

  • 4th highest in Literacy.
  • 13th highest in Numeracy.
  • 5th highest in and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments – while having the highest proportion of adults with moderate to high problem-solving skills.

But how do we compare with other countries? That seems to be the answer on everyone’s lips. I’m not sure it’s the right question. But here you go… again from the NCLANA:

  • New Zealand adults’ average skills in Literacy and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments are similar to those of Australia, and higher than those in England/Northern Ireland and the United States.
  • In Numeracy New Zealand adults’ average skills are higher than those of Australia, Canada, England/Northern Ireland and the United States.

And what about stats for Maori and Pasifika?

  • Literacy skills have increased for the total population since 1996 and increased at a faster rate for Māori and Pasifika since 2006.
  • Meanwhile, Numeracy skills have remained static for the total population since 2006 and increased for Māori and Pasifika since 2006.

That’s a load of comparison data… It looks like someone needs to drill down into this a bit more and tell us what it means for NZ. Any takers?