From the TEC: How to use the TEC literacy and numeracy assessment tools – Part 4


Guidelines for using the TEC assessment tools

Educators with an interest in addressing literacy and numeracy will want to know about the skills of learners as they enter programmes in order to adjust their delivery.  They will also be interested in measuring learner progress.

The TEC expects providers to assess learners at the beginning of a period of learning and to undertake progress assessments at intervals where there is sufficient time and opportunity for learners to make gains.

Providers should develop an organisation-wide plan for assessing learners’ literacy and numeracy. The plan should ensure that:

  • assessments are planned to align with each individual learner’s enrolment over their time of study
  • the key messages and delivery of literacy and numeracy assessments are consistent across the organisation
  • learners are not over-assessed (for example, where a learner completes a series of courses, assessing at the beginning and end of every course would be over-assessment); and
  • educators are aware that they can use assessments from other educators or providers, if the learner has been assessed within the last 90 days.

Assessment expectations by fund

Providers must use the TEC literacy and numeracy assessment tools but may use their own assessments, in addition, as they see fit. Table 1 outlines TEC’s expectations for use of the assessment tools and assessment areas for monitoring and reporting.

Please note:

  • Learners in embedded or workplace literacy courses should have at least one initial assessment in reading and numeracy and one progress assessment in reading and numeracy, unless a learner is initially assessed as at or beyond Step 5 (numeracy) or Step 4 (reading).   Learners at these steps are not required to complete any further progress assessment.
  • The assessment areas used in progress assessments must be the same as those used for initial assessments, this includes assessment thresholds set in the initial assessment.  For example, if a provider administered initial assessments in writing and numeracy, then progress assessments in writing and numeracy must also be used.  This ensures consistency in using the Assessment Tool and underpins reliable reporting on learner gain
  • For embedded literacy and numeracy:
    • courses of 3 months duration or more are expected to provide sufficient opportunity for literacy and numeracy teaching and learning; and
    • the timing of initial and progress assessments should relate to the full duration of learner’s enrolment.  For example: if a learner is enrolled in a multi-year programme then annual assessments are required.  This takes a holistic, learner-centred approach and avoids over-assessment.
    • all students need to be assessed using the Assessment Tool.  The STA is recommended for learners with very low reading skills.
    • Starting Points has three levels which tracks progress in broad terms, before competency is high enough to use the Assessment Tool.
    • the vocabulary assessment is useful in diagnosing whether a learner’s vocabulary is a limiting factor in their reading competency.
    • in 2013, TEC will be working with the Ministry of Education and sector stakeholders to refine the starting points assessment to better reflect learner classification and adapt starting points assessment to specific needs.
  • Full uptake by providers and educators in using the TEC Assessment Tool options  as outlined in this document, will be critical to informing TEC policy and funding decisions to be progressed in 2013 and beyond.  This includes the development and implementation of funding conditions relating to use of the tools, as well as consideration of how learner gain can be evaluated and reported. Comprehensive and accurate data from providers will ensure those processes are evidence-based and robust.
  • From now on, TEC expects 95% learners enrolled in embedded, workplace or intensive literacy and numeracy courses to complete an initial assessment, and for at least 90% of learners who complete their course (or qualification, in the case of programmes with embedded courses) to undertake a progress assessment in the same strand and type as the initial assessment.  Learners who were assessed at step 5 numeracy or step 4 reading do not need to complete a progress assessment and are therefore excluded from the 90% progress assessment requirement.
  • For intensive literacy and numeracy:
    • all students need to be assessed using the Assessment Tool.  The STA is recommended for learners with very low reading skills.
    • Starting Points has three levels which tracks progress in broad terms, before competency is high enough to use the Assessment Tool.
    • the vocabulary assessment is useful in diagnosing whether a learner’s vocabulary is a limiting factor in their reading competency.
    • in 2013, TEC will be working with the Ministry of Education and sector stakeholders to refine the starting points assessment to better reflect learner classification and adapt starting points assessment to specific needs.
    • Full uptake by providers and educators in using the TEC Assessment Tool options  as outlined in this document, will be critical to informing TEC policy and funding decisions to be progressed in 2013 and beyond.  This includes the development and implementation of funding conditions relating to use of the tools, as well as consideration of how learner gain can be evaluated and reported. Comprehensive and accurate data from providers will ensure those processes are evidence-based and robust.
    • From now on, TEC expects 95% learners enrolled in embedded, workplace or intensive literacy and numeracy courses to complete an initial assessment, and for at least 90% of learners who complete their course (or qualification, in the case of programmes with embedded courses) to undertake a progress assessment in the same strand and type as the initial assessment.  Learners who were assessed at step 5 numeracy or step 4 reading do not need to complete a progress assessment and are therefore excluded from the 90% progress assessment requirement.

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