Teach Better Now – Assessment 3 of the NZCALNE (Voc)

Teach Better Now – Assessment 2 of the NZCALNE (Voc)

Online Configurator for Embedded Learning Outcomes

This is an experiment and it’s far from perfect… But tell me what you think in the comments. I’ve designed an online configurator to help you write embedded learning outcomes.

There are two versions of it below. The first deals with the reading strand of the Learning Progressions. The second is much more specific and deals only with vocabulary, but still references the vocab progression in the reading strand..

I’ve added a couple of different contexts for embedding, but you’ll probably need to add your own specific context. If you tell me what you’re working on I’ll add it to the configurator.

I’ve also had to take a few liberties with the Progressions to make it work. If you like it please type your examples of completed learning outcomes into the comment box.

This is based on a survey app so when you click “Finish Survey”, it will disappear. Just reload your web page if you want to have another go.

Reading Learning Outcomes

Vocabulary Learning Outcomes










What’s the big picture for embedding literacy and numeracy via the new NZCALNE (Voc)?

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What’s the big picture?

Here’s the big picture for embedding literacy and numeracy and an update on our work at ALEC.

This is the big picture for our revised embedding process and pipeline. And it’s the big picture for the new NZCALNE (Voc) training and qualification that we’re feverishly working on.

New content for Collections 1 to 4 are complete. We’ve also finished the Portfolio+ assessments for 5 to 7. We’re still working on the regular content for Collections 5 to 7.

What does that mean?

That means that you or your tutors should be working on the new version of this qualification now.

If you’re an experienced tutor, that means that we are now set up to work with you using a portfolio approach for the practical work. Get in touch if this is you – assess@alec.ac.nz

It also means that we’ll have this new content live on Pathways Awarua shortly. There’s a short video overview here on my blog in the meantime and all the new content is summarised here with links.

Also, stay tuned for new and revised content for Collections 5 to 7 covering diagnostic assessment, planning, facilitating, and assessing progress.

If you want to print out the new structure, just hit the link below for a PDF version:

Literacy and numeracy definitions: What’s the difference?


Similarities and differences

We’ve looked a few different meanings for literacy and numeracy. Now we need to look at how these definitions are the same or different. This is so that you can see how they apply to your teaching or to your learners.

Knowing the similarities and differences is going to help you decide what aspects of each you want to absorb into your own approach. That’s one of the things that is going to help you teach better. So while it’s the application that counts, for starters you need to think about some of the differences.

Just like you need to figure out what’s relevant for your context, you need to figure out what you think the similarities and differences are.

Here are some questions to keep in mind as you work through this process.


  • Is the focus just on literacy?
  • People who have good literacy skills behave in certain ways. What does this behaviour look like?


  • Is the focus just on numeracy?
  • People who have good numeracy skills also behave differently to people who don’t. What does this behaviour look like?

Literacy and Numeracy

  • Is there a focus on both literacy and numeracy?
  • We’re most interested in the definition for embedded literacy and numeracy. There are reasons for that. What do you think they are?


  • Is there a more holistic approach? Where does this come from?
  • How can a more holistic definition of literacy, such as from Māori and Pasifika help us in our teaching?


  • Definitions that come from government funding agencies are likely to have economic drivers. This means that under the surface there are likely to be economic incentives behind the drive to encourage and strengthen literacy and numeracy in the population.
  • Let’s assume that this is a good thing. What’s the motivation?


  • Are there social consequences?
  • In other words, if we adopt a particular focus to literacy and numeracy, how can this make our communities better or worse?


  • When leaders talk about literacy and numeracy in a national context – even if they don’t say so – which definition(s) are they likely to be referring to?
  • What kind of political action do you think is associated with this?


  • Does it incorporate English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)?
  • If this is not already relevant for you, how could it be important in the future?

Time to do some work

Let’s pause for a few moments. Here’s your task:

  • Download the PDF worksheet, or use the chart below to make notes on how the six definitions we’ve discussed are similar or different.
  • Make sure you think about the questions above.

This task is not assessed, but it will help you with your assessment.


Thinking more deeply about what we mean by literacy and numeracy


It’s one thing to read about definitions for literacy and numeracy. It’s another thing to figure out for yourself what you think about them.

With that in mind, we think it’s a good idea for you to have a go at making some notes on the six definitions we’ve talked about so far.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that the process of making notes will help you think more deeply about the learning. Another is that you need to be able to talk about similarities and differences between these definitions. This is important as we move forward in the course.

Let’s make some notes first.

To start with, you need to know what the definitions are and where they come from. You should be able to skip back and check on these details.

Also, you need to have some ideas about the following:

  • What are the key features of each?
  • How is each relevant to you?
  • What framework does each connect to?

Much of this we’ve covered, like the features. Relevance is up to you to figure out. It’s your call on that one. And we haven’t discussed the frameworks in depth yet. But we will.

Time to do some work.

Let’s pause for a few moments. Here’s your task:

  • Download the PDF worksheet, or use the chart below to make notes on the six definitions we’ve talked about.
  • Make sure you’ve got a quote for each definition as well as where it comes from.
  • Make notes on any features, the relevance, and frameworks these connect to.

This task is not assessed, but it will help you with your assessment.

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Teach better – What is embedded literacy and numeracy?


What’s the definition?

Embedded literacy and numeracy means

Combining the development of literacy and numeracy with vocational and other skills (p.5).

Where does this definition come from?

Tertiary Education Commission (2013). Adult Literacy and Numeracy: An Overview of the Evidence, Annotated Bibliography’. Wellington: TEC

What are some key features?

Literacy and numeracy skills

  • Are contextualised to the programme. In other words, it’s not literacy and numeracy for everything. It’s literacy and numeracy for farming. Or agriculture. Or employment skills. Or whatever it is that you teach.
  • Provide learners with competence, confidence and motivation to success in the vocational or other training programme.
  • Are embedded at the level of the learner, programme and organisation.

How is this definition relevant to my teaching context?

This is relevant because it gets to the heart of what this professional development is about. In other words, how to mix in the kinds of literacy and numeracy learning that your learners need to really succeed at your course.

It’s also relevant because this is what the TEC wants and funds you to do. It’s just business as usual. But don’t forget that the motivation behind this is a good one. The embedded approach is backed up with research that says it works better for you and your learners.

Contextualising and integrating literacy and numeracy means your teaching becomes more relevant, more helpful for your learners. You’ll teach better. Learners are complex bundles of motivations. Much of the time you can’t control all the variables. But the idea here is that you can start with what you can control. That’s your approach to teaching.

Learners are complex bundles of motivations. Much of the time you can’t control all the variables. But the idea here is that you can start with what you can control. That’s your approach to teaching.

Your approach is internal to you. And you have complete access to yourself. There might be limitations in terms of resources you have to use or coursework that you have to get through. But you can choose how to approach these things.

And that’s powerful. Harness that power and you can teach better and in new ways.

You can’t know what state your learners will be in when they show up next week on Monday (or even if they will show up). But by taking an embedded approach you can set up the best conditions for learning to happen. That makes you a better teacher.