How do I gain access to the TEC Assessment Tool?

Screenshot 2016-03-07 11.17.41I’ve written a lot about how to use the TEC’s Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool.

Just type “assessment tool” in the search box on this blog and you’ll find a bunch of things including how to access your learners’ actual responses on the tool.

  • But how do you gain access to the tool in the first place?

Well, the answer involves bureaucracy. And filling out forms. And probably getting permission from those above you.

The form is buried online, but the link is here. And the first page looks like the screen shot above.



How do I get started on Literacy and Numeracy Diagnostic Assessment – and Assessment 4 of the NCALNE (Voc)


If you’re like a lot of people doing the NCALNE (Voc) literacy and numeracy professional development, you realise there’s a bit of what I call “heavy lifting” to do when you get to this stage.

This not because literacy and numeracy diagnostic assessment is any harder than any other part (well… it might be), but the main thing is that you’ve got to start working with a couple of learners that you need to track through the test-teach-test format of Assessments 4, 5, and 6.

For Assessment 4 on LN Diagnostic you need to actually go and do a bunch of things including using the TEC assessment tool as well as a couple of more contextualised assessments of your own.

This is also the point where you need to start thinking about learning plans as well, so there’s quite a lot going on.

With this in mind, I’ve tried to compile a collection of various links and resources that might help if you need them.

  1. As always, if you haven’t already, all of our course content is available for free in interactive modules on the Pathways Awarua literacy and numeracy learning platform. You can find the instructions on how to register here if you haven’t already. We have a unique ALEC join code so email us for it if you need it (
  2. Don’t forget to check what’s already in your ALEC Study Guide and Assessment Guide for this part of the course.
  3. We’ve also got a great one-page handout that summarises the connections between assessments 4, 5, 6 – email us for a copy if you haven’t got it already.
  4. If you need a refresh on what’s required, I’ve got a short audio-only podcast of me talking through the assessment requirements here.
  5. There are video clips on diagnostic assessment and Assessment 4 of the NCALNE (Voc) that you can watch on our Youtube channel.
  6. And then there are various resources relating to diagnostic assessment on this blog including:
  7. If you’re working on this through the Pathways Awarua MOOC, your employer will need to have paid your course fee in order to unlock the assessment module.
  8. And if you’re a paid up student and you’re not completing this through the Pathways Awarua MOOC, you can email us ( for the latest version of the template for assessment Task 4.
  9. Otherwise, give us a call to discuss (0800-ALEC-1-2) or email us anyway ( and we’ll be in touch to help explain or clarify.

How do I get started on Assessment 3 of the NCALNE (Voc) including Mapping with the Learning Progressions?

Lit Strand

If you need a hand getting cracking on your Assessment 3, which involves doing an analysis of the literacy and numeracy demands of your course, there are several resources online that might be useful:

  • If you haven’t seen it already, all of our course content is now online in interactive modules as part of the Pathways Awarua NCALNE. There are instructions here on how to register if you haven’t already. It’s free. We also have a unique ALEC join code, so email ( us for that if you want it.
  • If you need a refresh on what’s required, I’ve got a short audio-only podcast of me talking through the assessment requirements here.
  • I’ve also got a short post here on my blog on how to get started mapping literacy and numeracy demands.
  • And then there are the video clips available here on our Youtube Channel related to mapping and assessment 3.
  • If you’re working on this through the Pathways Awarua MOOC your employer will need to have paid your course fee in order to unlock the assessment module.
  • And if you’re a paid up student and you’re not completing this through the Pathways Awarua MOOC, you can email us ( for the latest version of the template for assessment Task 3.
Otherwise, give us a call to discuss (0800-ALEC-1-2) or email us ( and we’ll be in touch to help explain or clarify.
Num Strand

How to get started on Assessment Task 1 of the NCALNE (Voc): The New Zealand context


UPDATED FOR 2015: Please go here.

If you need to complete the NCALNE (Voc) and you’re having trouble getting started (or even if you’re not!), here’s your special care package:

  1. Make sure that you are registered to use Pathways Awarua. The latest version of our entire ALEC course for the NCALNE (Voc) is now online in the Pathways Awarua platform. It’s free to register if you haven’t already. There are instructions here on what to do to register. Once you’ve registered you’ll probably have to complete a couple of short modules on how to use the Pathways platform and then you’ll have access to all of the content modules for the NCALNE (Voc) as well as two of the Assessment modules. We can unlock the rest of the Assessments once (or if) your course fees have been paid. If you want to know more about how the NCALNE (Voc) works on Pathways watch this short YouTube Clip.
  2. Don’t forget to check what’s in your ALEC Study Guide and Assessment Guide. It’s easy to overlook this, but your Study Guide, Assessment Guide, and any readings that we’ve sent you contain everything that you need to complete the assessment for this part of the course.
  3. Familiarise yourself with the requirements for Assessment 1. You can listen to me talking through the assessment tasks in short audio-only podcasts here on my blog. All the assessment podcasts are on the same page on my blog so scroll down to the audio for Assessment 1, click it and listen to it. If you have a smart phone these podcasts will run on your phone if you have a data plan or are in Wi-fi. These audio files are also in the Pathways Awarua Assessment Modules.
  4. Ask yourself the following questions as you work your way through the material. 
    • Definitions: What are the established definitions for adult literacy and numeracy? What’s an embedded approach? What about from a Maori perspective?
    • Initiatives: What are some of the historic and current initiatives that are relevant to your training and learners?
    • Reasons and impact: Why do we have low levels of adult literacy and numeracy? And what’s the impact of this on learners, study, work, communities, industry, and the nation?
    • Resources: What resources are out there to help strengthen adult literacy and numeracy?
    • Recommendations? What do you think would make a difference? What would you suggest to address the issues around low adult literacy and numeracy in relation to your work?
  5. Watch the short YouTube clips on the New Zealand Context on our ALEC Youtube Channel. You can access the playlist for Assessment 1 here.
  6. Work your way through the Module 1 on the New Zealand Context in Pathways Awarua. You’ll have to do some reading and a little bit of writing, but there are some interactions as well. Working your way through this module will set you up for the assessment task. This content is mostly the same as the ALEC Study Guide for the NCALNE (Voc). It updates it in a few places.
  7. There’s the brief overview of Literacy and Numeracy in New Zealand by John Benseman. It’s a PDF download that you can find here.
  8. Read up on the various TEC funded national initiatives that support literacy and numeracy. Full text is here from the TEC in their own words.
  9. Find out more about the State of the Nation with regards to national literacy and numeracy surveys including the current PIAAC and the 2006 ALLS.
  10. Get started on Assessment Task 1: You’ve got two choices here. EITHER you can click on the Assessment Module 1 in Pathways Awarua and do it online. The Assessment modules are below the orange ribbon (the content modules are above the ribbon). OR you can work from the template in the ALEC Assessment Guide. Email us here if you want a copy of the template:
  11. Get in touch if you have any questions. If you’re not sure what to do then get in touch with us. Again, send an email to or ring or txt me. My phone number is in the course materials as well. Happy to talk anytime. We can support you further with:
    • Guidance around how to write a report
    • Some models in terms of what we’re expecting for your response
    • Extra information as needed

Can you think of anything else…? Let me know in the comments.

Assessment 6 of the NCALNE (Voc) – Measuring Learner LN Progress: Talking through the assessment task with Graeme

This one’s a bit shorter. Here’s my run down on Assessment 6 for the NCALNE (Voc) to do with measuring and assessing learner literacy and numeracy progress… if you need it. Let me know in the comments if anything is not clear.

Like the other podcasts relating to the NCALNE (Voc), this one also aligns with the content on Pathways Awarua.

Assessment 5 of the NCALNE (Voc) – Knowing what to do – Planning and delivering your embedded LN interventions: Talking through the assessment task with Graeme

This ended up a little longer than I wanted, but it is also the biggest chunk of work in the NCALNE (Voc). Let me know in the comments if anything is not clear.

Keep calm and reduce churn: What will the new education business models look like?


Education researcher and blogger Damon Whitten posted an excellent analysis of the reasons for tutor churn in the tertiary sector on his blog the other day.

When I read it, something went ping in my brain. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I posted an immediate summary here and then an extended rant about the topic here.

Each time I started writing, I wanted to get to this idea of new business models. Each time I failed and got sidetracked on all the other things floating around in my head related to this.

Anyway… here’s the thing I wanted to get to. It amounts to a set of untested assumptions about the future of education and education business models:

  1. If we are going to address the tutor churn issue as well as a whole lot of other systemic issues in education we’re going to need some new education business models.
  2. These new business models will disrupt the existing system to an order of magnitude equivalent to the disruption experienced by the music and film industries in recent years.
  3. The rolling out of these new business models will mean that the existing institutions and the people they employ will either evolve or whither away.
  4. New institutions built around new business models will emerge and threaten the status quo.
  5. Government funding agencies will wield a double edged sword of requiring real, sustainable, and measurable education outcomes from learners on the one hand, and the continued drive for increasing cost efficiencies, on the other.
  6. The only way to continue to achieve increasing cost efficiencies in education will be to leverage educational technologies that use the internet’s ability to massively scale without massively increasing costs. Anyone’s business model will need to take this into account.
  7. The way forward will be patchy to start with, but it will effectively shift the focus of education (and power) away from institutions towards learners and… something. This something could be teachers. But it could also be teaching delivery platforms where learners engage with content. Or a combination of both. Whatever the scenario, the institutions will become less powerful (just like the record labels have).

I don’t have any apocalyptic end point or anything like that. In fact, I think that the outcome  for many learners is going to be better with increased choices over educational pathways. However, there will be losers. And the old business model may co-exist alongside the new ones for a long time.

So what can you do about all this?

There are several responses:

  1. Be the ostrich: this isn’t an option if you’re reading here. But for many people and organisations the default response will be to bury their heads in the sand.
  2. Watch and observe: At least if you’re self aware enough to notice what’s happening you can still just wait and see how it all pans out. But you need to be ready for the opportunities that may present themselves along the way.
  3. Upskill and or cross-skill: You will need a new skill set to survive. However, you don’t know what that is yet. Luckily this doesn’t matter. Just get involved in some kind of training anyway. Extend your expertise in the same area. Develop your expertise in a new area. It doesn’t matter. This is because the underpinning skill that you’re trying to develop is learning how to learn new stuff.
  4. Foster strategic partnerships in order to collaborate: This requires some serious thinking. Who can you work with where you can genuinely create wins for both parties? From an organisational perspective, this could involve partnering with a larger organisation who can subsidise your over heads in some way. E.g. would a corporate partner provide free or cheap rooms for your face-to-face training because of some benefit to them (like you’re training their people).
  5. Unpack how really effective online business models work. For example, have a look at how TradeMe, Spotify, or iTunes works… how do the transactions occur? How is value created? What is the revenue model?
    • In iTunes, music listeners purchase digital copies of the songs they like. The artist records this once, but can sell it again and again. iTunes takes a cut. Could you produce digital education products that would qualify for a portion of the government’s education spend?
    • With Spotify, it’s a subscription model. Would anyone subscribe to your teaching? Could you run an education business on a subscription model? This business model certainly works for your mobile phone provider.
  6. Experiment with online education and assessment platforms. There are a lot of different ways of doing education online. Many of the tools to do this are free or cheap now, e.g. YouTube. Have a look at what others are doing, like Sal Khan at the Kahn Academy.  Or check out Pathways Awarua – the fantastic home grown NZ online platform we used to get our NCALNE (Voc) training online as part of a strategic partnership and collaboration. There are plenty of other platforms out there that you can play with – either as a learner or a developer.
  7. Look for better ways of quality assuring tutors and organisations. I’ve been thinking about this one for several years. I would not like to be responsible for adding to the already large burden on tutors. However, I know from my professional development work with hundreds of tutors over the past 10 years that it is possible to identify the kind of profile that a better tutor is likely to have. I written about this before here, here, and here with regards to the kinds of tutors that we work with. A logical extension of this would be to set up a voluntary, opt in, registration for foundations tutors along these lines. The ones who meet (or are working towards) the criteria could gain a tutor-specific quality mark. Where an organisation could show all the tutors met the profile, the organisation could also gain the quality mark. This would give tutors higher status if they are career tutors with more experience and better qualifications. Something like this is an inevitable development given our current trajectory. It’s just a matter of who does it and how well.