Latest Research from John Benseman on the Value of a National Adult Literacy & Numeracy Qualification (the NCALNE) just published

John Benseman

I know we’ve been waiting a while for this to come out… perhaps nearly a year, but here it is finally and it’s all online and available for free.

John Benseman surveyed as many graduates as he could get to respond from across a range of providers in New Zealand. There were some negatives, but on the whole their response was very positive.

This is independent research that should validate the need to continue providing Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (ALNE) qualifications in New Zealand. It’s timely, because these qualifications are in the middle of the ongoing Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ).

Specific providers aren’t identified (so feel free to make your own assumptions).

You can read the entire piece of research online here. And I’ve reproduced the abstract below for quick reference and easy digesting.

The underlining is mine below.

Benseman, J. 2014. Practitioners’ Perspectives on the Value of a National Adult Literacy and Numeracy Qualification. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, Volume 11, Issue 1, 107-126, 2014


Adult literacy and numeracy practitioners are integral to the successful development of this emerging sector and yet there is little research about them as a professional group or their practices. This study of 217 enrollees in two
national adult literacy and numeracy certificates reviews their experiences undertaking these qualifications and explores the impact their participation has had on their practice. Overall, it shows that the respondents rate their
involvement in the certificates very positively and that they believe it has had a beneficial effect on their work.

Here’s a couple more excerpts:

Comments from the ‘highly influential group included:

Naming what they already do. Builds confidence and
professionalism. Using a wider range of literacy and numeracy strategies. Understanding the importance of research and how it contributes to good practice. More patience with learners, better targeted strategies. Knowing their learners better and the effects and challenges learners face including cultural diversity. Leads to more appropriate strategies and more flexible teaching and learning. Building their own understanding of basic maths. Building their own confidence to teach numeracy effectively. Wider ripples to helping their own children and Whānau.
Better understanding and use of the assessment tool and
other literacy and numeracy assessments. Using ILP’s
[Individual Learning Plans]. Knowing course demands,
knowing the learners and knowing how to bridge the gaps.
Connecting to the wider community of adult literacy and
numeracy. Many ex-students have moved on into other roles in the sector including research and development roles.

They are passing on the ‘torch’. Has built up the
professionalism in the sector. Knowing what to do next – using the Learning Progressions. I think it has really come of age in the last two years. I would point to [provider’s] work with [agency] as a case study in how trades tutors can change their practice in a large organisation.

Comments from the ‘moderately influential’ group included:

Trade tutors have adopted strategies learnt in the sessions and are using these in their classrooms: tutors using more hands-on activities to engage their learners, a greater emphasis on vocabulary, promotion and use of contextual language during practical sessions and developing understanding of underpinning knowledge and skill needing to be mastered by the learner –ultimately leading to success with course demands.

Staff have developed a better understanding of how to support their learners to improve their literacy and numeracy skills in order to meet the demands of the programme. Teaching practices have been enhanced as staff have been introduced to different strategies and approaches.

Great work… Thanks John.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

5 thoughts

  1. Interesting isn’t it. Much the same feedback you get while travelling the country, many people had very positive experiences while a few did not. I think in large part it relates to the previous experience of the candidate. It’s not a popular opinion, for obvious reasons, but for many the NCALNE was the first qualification completed since school. As such, the demands on time, the academic demands, and the amount of learning and reading necessary has come as a surprise to many. I would love John to have asked how much associated reading they did during the qual. My guess 90% none, other than the compulsory material.

    The same thing happens in Postgrad study – you simply must put in massive amounts of time. In an already tight schedule this means something has to give (usually your sanity). Anyway…

    Did John look at their previous qualifications and experience? Be good to cross reference that with perceptions of value (I could probably just go and look huh -lazy).

    Finally, it does show that the NCALNE is a valuable qual and is making a difference to tutors and learners. Could you image the state of things if it didn’t exist?

    A big part of that is you Graeme, running a great programme. Well done.

    1. Thanks Damon. I’m not sure on what was cross referenced. Prob not, but I suspect that you’re right re high perception of value correlating with first real experience of meaningful professional development.

  2. Oh yes, years of experience, previous work experience and qualifications. Almost a quarter with Postgrad quals! Perhaps I’m wrong? But I do notice that 40% are from Poly’s so that may account for some of that. May have to dig down a bit. Might end up raising more questions…

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