BEFORE: What is the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT)?

BEFORE (11).jpg

What is the TEC’s Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT)?

The Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT) is an online tool designed to provide robust and reliable information on the reading, writing, numeracy and vocabulary skills of New Zealand adults.

In other words:

  • it’s there to help you improve the literacy and numeracy skills of your learners.

Sometimes we just refer to the LNAAT as “the Assessment Tool”. And you may hear people call it “the TEC Assessment Tool”.

We’ve also talked about the Assessment Tool in different places through this course. If you think back to the first and third collections, you’ll remember that the Assessment Tool and the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy go together.

In fact, if you don’t understand how the Progressions work, and what the demands of your teaching programme or workplace are, you can’t really make good use of the Assessment Tool.

Here’s what we mean. Consider this scenario with regards to a learner:

  • Your organisation has to use the TEC Assessment Tool and report on learner scores. You have assessed one of your learners and you know that they are at step 2 for both reading and general numeracy.

What use is this to you as a tutor? Well… it might give you some useful diagnostic information if you are prepared to look at the report.

However, if you know how to map the demands of your training it’s much more applicable. Here are two scenarios relating to the teaching side. See if you can put yourself into the picture somehow:

  • A trades course: You teach a trades course in automotive engineering. You’ve mapped the demands of your programme including some samples of the kinds of texts your learners have to read and the calculations they have to do. To your surprise, the reading is step 6 due to the technical and specialised language. Also, the maths is step 6 as well. There are all kinds of measurements and formulas that learners have to use as they apply the skills they’re learning.
  • A workplace literacy course with ESOL learners: You work with ESOL learners in a workplace literacy course that happens in the evenings. Mainly, your learners need help with the everyday communication needs of their workplaces. You’ve mapped this and there’s a range of demands from step 3 to 5. There’s not much numeracy required and your learners are more motivated to improve their listening and speaking skills.

Now the Assessment Tool data is more useful.

  • In the trades course scenario, there is a big gap between where the learner is at (Step 2) versus where they need to be (Step 6). As a tutor, you may have no control over who is enrolled into your programme. However, if you know at the start of the programme that you have a step 2 learner in your step 6 programme you have time to think through what your strategies are going to be. This learner will need more time and support to succeed than one of their classmates who might already be a step 5. Also, the programme is likely to be more prescriptive with regular assessments that the learner will need to complete.
  • In the workplace ESOL scenario, there is still a gap but it’s not so severe. If the job is less demanding when it comes to numeracy, then there are more reasons to focus on listening and speaking. There’s scope for the programme to be more flexible and led by learner needs as they emerge over time.  

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

One of the main things to take away from this section is that the Assessment Tool is a key part of the infrastructure that we have in Aotearoa New Zealand to support embedding literacy and numeracy into training.

The information you get from the tool is useful. But to make the most of it, you need to understand it in relation to the demands of your programme or workplace.

And to do that, you need at least a working understanding of another part of that infrastructure – the Learning Progressions.

Do I have to use it?

The short answer is yes, probably. The longer answer is that this depends on the kind of funding that you get from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). For some organisations, it’s a requirement of the funding contract that you use the tool and report the results.

If you’re unsure, you should talk to the person who manages the contract between your organisation and the TEC. But chances are that you already know whether you have to use it or not.

The TEC and others consider that using the Assessment Tool and Learning Progressions for foundation-level provision is part of good embedded literacy and numeracy.

So, it’s just good practice.

And for most of us, it’s part of “business as usual” where we assess our learners as they enter our programmes. This means we can understand their literacy and numeracy skills and needs. And then we can adjust our delivery and measure learner progress over time.

What are my options?

The Assessment Tool now has a range of assessment options which you can use
to assess your learners:

  1. Adult: This is the ‘default’ option of the Assessment Tool. This is the one recommended for most learners.
  2. Youth: This one has questions designed for learners aged 15-25.
  3. At Ata Hāpara: This has a reading option in English, but the questions are designed for Māori learners.
  4. Starting Points: This includes a listening option for ESOL learners and a reading
    option for ESOL and foundation level literacy learners.

The Adult option is available online and also on paper. The Youth option and Te Ata Hāpara options are only available online. The Starting Points options are designed to be done on a tablet in a supported one-on-one situation and are shorter than full-length assessments.

The Youth option reading and numeracy assessments can be done as full length online
adaptive or a shorter, snapshot version.

How do I request access to the Assessment Tool online?

Another great question…! Here are some things that we often hear from tutors:

  1. I have to assess my students, but I never see their reports.
  2. I want to create my own assessments for my students, but I don’t know how.
  3. I want to experiment with the Youth option, Starting Points, or Te Ata Hāpara. What do I do?

As a tutor, you should have educator access to the Assessment Tool. This means that you should have a login and password that allows you to look at your own learners’ results and reports online.

If you don’t have a login and you want one, you should download this form and submit it through your manager. On page 2, tick the box marked Educator in the row that says Literacy and Numeracy Adult Assessment Tool

Creating your own assessments or trying out the different options is something you should discuss with your manager or the Assessment Tool administrator in your organisation.

What can I use the Assessment Tool results for?

Once you’ve got access to your learners’ reports and results, there are a bunch of things that you can use them for:

  • Focusing on specific areas of literacy and numeracy.
  • Developing appropriate teaching interventions that match learner needs
  • Informing the learning and goal setting conversations you have with your learners.
  • Tracking learners and group progress over time.

Want more information on the Assessment Tool?

As part of this course, there are extra modules available for you to learn more about the Assessment Tool and how to use it. This includes:

  • Creating the right assessment.
  • Engaging learners.
  • Making the most of learners’ reports.

Author: Graeme Smith

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

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