How we let assessment drive our training

Here’s a snippet from the document I’ve been writing up over the weekend. Below is quite a good short summary of how the training is organized and how the assessment tasks pretty much shape the delivery and everything we do around this.

Our training curriculum for the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education otherwise known as the NCALNE (Voc) is shaped by seven assessment tasks that connect with the seven elements of the compulsory Unit Standard 21204.

In our words, these are:

  • Task 1: The New Zealand Context. This is a 1500 word analytical report that brings together information from the training, study guide, and readings.
  • Task 2: Māori literacy and numeracy. This is a written summary of key initiatives, concepts and approaches from the world of Māori education.
  • Task 3: Mapping. This is a practical assessment where candidates use the framework provided by the Learning Progressions for adult literacy and numeracy to map their training demands for literacy and numeracy, both on a “big picture” global level, and for a number of specific samples. The results of the mapping are then written up in a template.
  • Task 4: Diagnostic. This is also a practical project where candidates have to find and use a number of different diagnostic tools and processs to identify the literacy and numeracy strengths and needs of their own learners. Results of the diagnostic tests and processes are written up in the form of individual learning plans with a literacy and numeracy focus.
  • Task 5: Deliver embedded literacy and numeracy outcomes. This task is the heart of the course and is where the participants have to design and then deliver a set of embedded literacy and numeracy outcomes. Again the focus is practical. The intention is for the candidates to use or create resources, strategies, activites, assessments etc based on the work they did previously around mapping skill demands and then diagnosing learners’ skill needs. Embedded training should ideally be pitched at the difference between the skill demands identified and the actual skill levels of the learners.
  • Task 6: Measure learner literacy and numeracy progress. Having designed and delivered embedded training focused on specific skill needs, candidates are required to assess learner progress in the specific literacy and numeracy skills they targeted with their interventions. The short time frame here often means that learning is still being consolidated. However, despite the time pressure candidates often see skill gains in the short term if the embedded training has been well targeted.
  • Task 7: Evaluate embedded literacy and numeracy. This is the final task. Candidates need to reflect critically on their practical project work and evaluate what worked, what further improvements could be made, and future directions. As well as a written summary, candidates need to give a short presentation on the highlights of their project work.

All facilitated delivery is tightly focused on setting participants up to achieve the outcomes outlined in the assessment tasks above. Live delivery takes place over five or six days as follows:

  • Workshop 1 (Days 1 – 3): Orientation to the NCALNE (Voc) and workshop content in relation to  Tasks 1 – 3. Usually day 2 is a special content area in our enhanced version of the live training and in the past has included numeracy content in relation to trades. We’ve also started to incorporate content around reading and vocabulary here as well.
  • Workshop 2 (Days 4 – 5): Workshop content in relation to Tasks 4 – 7 with a focus on Assessment (Task 4 & 6) and Embedding (Task 5). Our approach is prescriptive in that we offer a very straightforward way of writing up the embedded literacy and numeracy outcomes as well as structuring the kind of learning sequences that you would find in tutor lesson plans. Our approach to structuring teaching and learning sequences is in line with the approach used in the Learning Progressions resource books, although we’ve simplified it.

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