AFTER: Should I get help to administer the evaluation to my learners?

There are lots of things to think about before you go ahead and do the evaluation with your learners. Here are a few questions that you need to ponder:

  • Is their level of literacy going to impact on their ability to do the evaluation?
  • Do they need a translator?
  • Does anyone need a reader-writer?
  • Would this work better as a group evaluation?
  • Can we use pictures instead of words for any of this?

Depending on the level of your learners, you may need someone to do the evaluation with them. If your learners are refugees or migrants with very little spoken or written English you may need to involve a translator. Or someone with dyslexia type issues may need a reader-writer.

Also, if the evaluation happens verbally, you need to think through whether a group approach is going to help the process or cause some learners to keep their thoughts to themselves.

If you’re going to stick with a written format, you might be able to usual some visual prompts instead of words. For example, some ESOL tutors and others use thumbs up-thumbs down type images rather than using words like “agree” or “disagree” in a rating scale.

1. Circle the best answer for you

Smiley, sad faces or emoticons also work in the same way.

1. Circle the best answer for you


AFTER – Kia ora and welcome to Collection 7 of the NZCALNE (Voc)

Kia ora and welcome back once again…!

This is the final collection and you’ll complete your last assessment task. Let’s do a quick review and then get on with finishing everything off.

Here’s an updated outline of what you’ve learned and done so far.

  • Collection 1 – CONTEXT: We learned about definitions, frameworks and factors associated with poor adult literacy and numeracy.
  • Collection 2 – APPROACHES: We looked at approaches used in learner-centred adult education. This included a range of Māori concepts and approaches.
  • Collection 3 – DEMANDS: Here we looked at the Learning Progressions for literacy and numeracy and how to analyse the demands of your programme and teaching resources.
  • Collection 4 – STRATEGIES: You developed some broad strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy, as well as learning outcomes for embedding literacy and numeracy into your teaching sessions.
  • Collection 5 – BEFORE: We discussed a range of different assessments including diagnostic assessments that you can use in your teaching. And you carried out different kinds of diagnostic processes and related activities.
  • Collection 6 – TEACH: Hopefully, you’ve just finished this one including pulling together all the evidence that you need. The focus in this collection was on planning and teaching using embedded literacy and numeracy.

Well done on making it this far. There’s not that much more for you to learn. Just a few things for you to do. You’ll be finished before you can blink.

Here’s what’s ahead in Collection 7

7.1 Just do it: Progress assessment

You need to assess your learners’ literacy and numeracy progress. For most people, this means simply reusing your contextualised literacy and numeracy assessments from Assessment 5. You’ll need to supply evidence for at least two learners. These should be the same two learners that you’ve been tracking through Assessments 5 and 6. You should scan or take a digital copy of the completed assessments.

You also need to have a go at some kind of collaborative assessment. You can get the group to work together and complete this. We have a generic version that you can use or modify. Or you can make your own if you need something more specialised. You’ll need to scan the results or make a digital copy as supporting evidence as well.

7.2 What does it mean?

Here we expect you to analyse your learners’ progress assessment results. We have a template to guide you as always. But there are two main things to make sure you cover. One is summarising your learners’ progress results including identifying strengths and needs. And the other is describing implications from the results that can inform the design of future literacy and numeracy teaching and learning strategies

7.3 Collecting some final information

You’ll need to do a couple of things here to get some evaluation data. One is carrying out learner evaluations. Again, you can use or modify the template in the course notes or make your own. Make sure you scan these as well or make a digital copy as supporting evidence. And you’ll need to ask your supervisor to complete the Supervisor comments and checklist. This should be as per our format. You should also scan this and provide it as supporting evidence. We’ll guide you via the templates.

7.4 Review: The whole project

The very last thing you need to do is review your teaching across the whole project and portfolio overall. This includes your reflections on what went well and what you’d do differently, but also what you need to do moving forward from here. This includes any key changes and improvements you might make, possible goals for your learners, and any other implications for designing your teaching and learning.

Has the NCALNE (Voc) expired?

NCALNE Expired

Well, yes it has!

It’s expiring at the moment. It’ll take a few months to breathe its last gasp but it’s been replaced.

  • If you’re still working on the expiring NCALNE (Voc) you need to switch to the newer NZCALNE (Voc).

We can help with that. Call Graeme on 0800-ALEC-1-2 or email us on

In the meantime…

Out with the old and in with the new. There’s a new suite of very cool unit standards that we’ve integrated into an exciting new programme. The new stuff is lean and mean. And so much better than the old stuff (which was pretty darn good).

The new material will be available on Pathways Awarua shortly. Stay tuned here for when.

If you just can’t want and want to preview what I’ve been drafting, you can follow the links below to the first four collections. Each link will take you to a summary page for what we’re working on.

Let me know what you think. Your comments make this work better. Like our old course, it will continue to be a work in progress.

New content for the new NZCALNE (Voc)

    • Here we cover the New Zealand context for embedding literacy and numeracy including definitions, frameworks, and things that we associate with low levels of adult literacy and numeracy.
    • Here we cover concepts and approaches in adult education including from Te Ao Maori. There’s some good stuff here including short discussions about motivation, learner agency, ako, tuakana-teina and more.
    • This is our revamped introduction to the Learning Progressions and how to use them to map your big picture programme demands as well as the more specific demands of your teaching content.
    • This is new. We look at how to write big picture strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy into your programme. And we drill down into how to take a narrow slice of this big picture and write specific learning outcomes for your teaching and assessments.

More to follow soon. And please, if you’re stopping to have a look, please let me know what’s helpful and what’s not.



NZCALNE (Voc) Course Approval Granted By NZQA


Good news…! It’s taken longer than we expected, but following the release of the new standards for Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education the other day, NZQA has now granted our course approval.

This means that we can now start on the course development work for the latest update to the most popular qualification for literacy and numeracy professional development.

This will include new content for the online version of our training on Pathways Awarua.

Please note the name change

  • From: National Certificate in Adult Literacy & Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace) or NCALNE (Voc).
  • To: New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy & Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace) or NZCALNE (Voc).

Also, the current version of the qualification – the NCALNE (Voc) – is still fit for purpose for the next two years. By this, I mean that it’s still fine for providers to deliver training and assess against the existing qualification and standards for the next two years.

By this, I mean that it’s still fine for providers to deliver training and assess against the existing qualification and standards for the next two years. After this time, the existing qualification (like the version before it), will be deleted, and providers will no longer be able to award it.

If you already hold the existing version of the qualification or an older one, you will still meet the TEC compliance requirements. You won’t need to do it again.

However, we are creating new knowledge in the sector all the time. It’s up to you to stay current with what’s happening in the sector.

The design of our new programme will reflect the latest thinking and research. Even if you’ve already finished the NCALNE (Voc), you may want to have a look at the content modules to make sure that you are current.

As they are now for the NCALNE (Voc), the content modules for the NZCALNE (Voc) will be freely available on Pathways Awarua. TEC funding and the top-up fees for participants won’t kick in until you official enrol and complete the first couple of assessments.

Lots of things are not changing:

  • 40 credits
  • Level 5
  • Required TEC compliance for SAC 1 and 2 as well as WPL and ILN funded training.
  • Online via

There are a few subtle differences, though, and I’ll post a breakdown of how we’re going to structure the new version of the course programme shortly.

If you’re in the middle of the current version of the qualification, your best course of action is to continue with it and complete it before the end of the year.

More to follow soon. Any questions, please let me know in the comments.

Designing our approach for the new NZCALNE (Voc)

Currently, I’m working on the design for the new version of the qualification that we teach. This new qualification will update the existing NCALNE (Voc) and unit standard 21204.

I’m after some feedback. Outlined below are what I see are some of our major assumptions about how we want to deliver this course moving forward.

If you can stand it, have a read through and let me know what you think.

Just hit the voting buttons in the poll at the top to respond in brief. Or leave me comments if you want to provide more detail. Any and all feedback appreciated:

Teaching and learning approach

ALEC’s approach to teaching, learning, and assessment includes:

  • A shift to blended and distance learning using cloud-based digital platforms including Pathways Awarua.
  • Contact with tutors, check-ins, coaching and other support via phone, Skype, email, and SMS messaging.
  • Face-to-face consultation, support, workshops and labs tailored to the needs of customers.

In the past, teaching and content delivery has relied more on face-to-face delivery supplemented by text-based resources. With this programme, we expect to that teaching and content will be more orientated towards video-based and other online material.

Some of the reasons for this shift towards an online environment are economic. Many employers are working in restricted funding environments which means they are less willing to fund face-to-face training that removes tutors from their teaching environments.

We hold a number of assumptions about our planned approach. These are that our NZCALNE (Voc) candidates:

  1. Are typically existing practitioners already working in the adult education and training sector who are self-directed in the sense that they can cope with the demands of this professional development course part-time while working in their jobs. Candidates should also possess the capacity to use the learning tools provided to explore the content area on their own terms, but in a way that is well supported by us as needed.
  2. Bring to the training a growing reservoir of experience from their work in industry or education that becomes an increasing resource for learning. Candidates will also have different levels of experience using blended and distance education tools, so we can provide a range of different support mechanisms using different media to address this.
  3. Are ready to learn the content due to their roles as adult educators, and in particular because of the requirements of their employers or the TEC with respect to their training.
  4. Will find immediate application of the knowledge and skills gained through this programme, particularly with the components involving assessing or teaching learners. The focus of our programme is pragmatic with an emphasis on addressing real-world literacy and numeracy problems as they impact tutors’ teaching and training.
  5. Are motivated to learn for a combination of external and internal reasons. Intrinsic motivation will stem from a growing desire to teach and train in ways that are more aligned with best practice for adult literacy and numeracy.

In terms of applying principles from adult education to our own training, our approach is to:

  1. Explain the reasons why we are teaching specific things. For example, this includes the reasons why it is important to understand the context for adult literacy in New Zealand, or why it is useful to take a strategic approach to designing learning through mapping literacy and numeracy demands or looking at organisational processes. In the ten years that we have been teaching and assessing the NCALE (Voc) and the NCALNE (Voc), we have developed an approach to content design that is dynamic rather than static. This is built on feedback from our learners, graduates, and strategic partners. While the assessment standards will most likely remain static for medium-term future, we will continue to develop, update, and upgrade our content to match TEC requirements and new developments in the sector, locally and internationally.
  2. Make instruction task-oriented. Assessments, where possible, are in the context of tasks and activities performed by candidates in their jobs as tutors and trainers. This includes in relation to designing learning, conducting assessments, and planning and facilitating learning which is framed as a teaching inquiry project designed to have candidates experiment and explore different approaches and activities relating to adult literacy and numeracy education in their own contexts.
  3. Allow assessment activities to take into account the wide range of different backgrounds of candidates and their teaching or training contexts. Learning materials and assessment tasks are designed to allow for different levels or types of previous experience with teaching and training. Also, due to TEC contractual requirements relating to funding, candidates will gain a permanent real-world benefit by gaining this credential recognising the baseline knowledge and skills for embedding literacy and numeracy into education and training.
  4. Allow instruction and assessment activities to discover things including new knowledge about their learners and their teaching for themselves. Because much of the learning is framed in terms of a teaching inquiry project (design, assess, plan, facilitate, assess progress, evaluate), candidates will have the chance to fine-tune skill sets relating to education and training, and acquire and retain practical knowledge by doing the work. We’ll be there to provide support and guidance as necessary and help when barriers present or mistakes are made.

NZ’s embedded literacy & numeracy approach justified by PIAAC results?


That’s a question in the title, by the way… Whether the PIAAC results do justify our current approach, Minister Joyce thinks we’re doing a good job and he’s happy we’ve made such great progress.

Here’s his press release from the other day:

New Zealand fourth in OECD for adult literacy

New Zealand’s ranking in adult literacy has improved significantly to fourth in the OECD from 12th in 1996 says Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce.

The Survey of Adult Skills, released today, shows Japan first in adult literacy followed by Finland, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

“These results are great news for our economy and our society. Our workforce needs world class skills and knowledge that will boost the productivity of the New Zealand economy. A more highly skilled, highly qualified workforce is essential and that must include good literacy skills across the board,” says Mr Joyce.

“The progress we have made is a real tribute to the adult educators and all those involved in improving literacy in New Zealand.”

New Zealand is also amongst the world leaders in problem solving using technology – a skill that’s been tested for the first time in the OECD survey.

“We rank fifth for this important skill and have the highest proportion of adults with moderate to high problem solving skills using computers. These are skills increasingly called for in today’s working environments.”

Adult numeracy skills have remained steady since 2006 and New Zealand is ranked 13th in the OECD, ahead of Australia, Canada and Singapore and the OECD average.

The survey results follow years of intensive focus by the Government on improving adult literacy and numeracy, particularly in the workplace.

“The numbers of adults accessing help with their literacy and numeracy has quadrupled between 2010 and 2013 from 36,200 to 175,000. We’re also seeing earlier identification of problems with literacy and numeracy through use of the adult literacy and numeracy assessment tool,”

In 2015 alone, the Government invested $248 million into tertiary courses with literacy and numeracy embedded within other subjects. Another $48.5 million is available for courses specifically for adult learners to improve their literacy and numeracy and/or learn English.

Literacy and numeracy received a further boost in Budget 2016. $14.6 million will be provided over four years so that foundation education at Levels 1 and 2 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) is completely fees-free (these courses always include literacy and numeracy). Another $11 million is being provided for 600 more places for the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Programme and around 900 places more places from 2017 onwards compared with 2015.

The results show that our system is on the right track.  In the years ahead we will focus particularly on lifting numeracy skills further, while seeking to maintain our strong performance in literacy and problem-solving”


Well done NCALNE graduates! We’re holding the line on literacy and numeracy

According to the OECD press release for New Zealand, we’re holding the line on literacy and numeracy. Here’s the summary:

  • Adults in New Zealand score above the OECD average in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.
  • New Zealand’s immigrant population is one of the most skilled across OECD countries. At the same time, native-born New Zealanders who speak English as a second language are over-represented among adults with low proficiency.
  • The differences in skills proficiency related to age, gender, education and social background are less pronounced in New Zealand than in other countries. However, sharp ethnic differences, particularly for Māori and Pacific peoples, exist in New Zealand.
  •  In New Zealand, even more so than in other OECD countries, higher proficiency in literacy and numeracy have a positive impact on labour force participation and wages.
  • The relationship between literacy and levels of trust in others, political efficacy, participation in volunteer activities and self-reported health is positive and mostly in line with those observed in other OECD countries.

What else…? Here’s the background info from the press release:

The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), provides a picture of adults’ proficiency in three key information-processing skills:

  • literacy – the ability to understand and respond appropriately to written texts
  • numeracy – the ability to use numerical and mathematical concepts
  • problem solving in technology-rich environments – the capacity to access, interpret and analyse information found, transformed and communicated in digital environments.

Proficiency is described on a scale of 500 points divided into levels. Each level summarises what a person with a particular score can do. Six proficiency levels are defined for literacy and numeracy (Levels 1 through 5 plus below Level 1) and four are defined for

Six proficiency levels are defined for literacy and numeracy (Levels 1 through 5 plus below Level 1) and four are defined for problem-solving in technology-rich environments (Levels 1 through 3 plus below Level 1).

The survey also provides a wide range of information about respondents’ use of skills at work and in everyday life, their education, their linguistic and social backgrounds, their participation in adult education and training programmes and in the labour market, and other aspects of their well-being.

The Survey of Adult Skills was conducted in New Zealand from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. Some 6 177 adults aged 16-65 were surveyed.