CONTEXT – New Content for the new NZCALNE Assessment 1 with ALEC


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Teach Better Now with ALEC in 2017

We’re in the middle of a transition from the existing NCALNE (Voc) to the newer version of this qualification – the NZCALNE (Voc). Most qualifications are now in the process of shifting from the old “National” qualifications to the current “New Zealand” quals.

It’s a bit of a messy transition as we’re all caught in the middle. We really like the new unit standards so we want to switch everyone to the newest version as fast as possible. This means that we’re writing the new content as we go.

If you have the old assessment 1 and you want to see the new one, please email us on assess@alec.ac.nz and ask for the new assessment 1 template.

If this is confusing, please email as well or ring Graeme on 0800-ALEC-1-2. There will be some teething problems to make the shift, but we’d rather roll out the new qualification now rather than later. It’s much better.

New course structure

The new course structure is similar to the old with a few changes to make it more streamlined. There’s a short explanation below and a longer one here.

  1. Context
  2. Approaches
  3. Demands
  4. Strategies
  5. Before
  6. Teaching
  7. After

New Assessment 1

You are welcome to stick with the old assessment 1 if you’ve already made a start. But if you haven’t, here is what you need to know below.

New content for assessment 1 is complete but it hasn’t made its way onto Pathways Awarua just yet. But it is on Graeme’s blog now.

The new assessment 1 no longer requires you to write a report and there are only three parts. There’s still work to do, but it’s a lot easy to focus on just the three content areas of definitions, frameworks, and factors.

Down below are the links you need for all of the new content for Assessment 1 including:

  • What do we mean? Definitions for literacy and numeracy
  • What’s under the hood? Frameworks we use in adult literacy and numeracy
  • Why do we have this problem? Factors associated with low adult literacy and numeracy.

Follow the links below for definitions and explanations

What do we mean?

What’s under the hood?

Why do we have this problem?

If you’re stuck, please get in touch with us assess@alec.ac.nz

The context for adult literacy and numeracy: Some things to think about before we move on…


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From here you can move on to the second section. Next up we’re going to look at some of the approaches we use in adult teaching.

Before that, though, you should have a think about your answers to the questions below.

The questions aren’t assessed, so you don’t have to hand in your answers. But talking about what you think with someone, and then writing down your responses will help you engage with this work more deeply.

Definitions

  • What do you think about the definitions that we’ve discussed?
  • Are there any aspects that you really like?
  • Is there anything here that you can use or absorb into your own teaching and training?

Frameworks

  • How familiar are you already with the Learning Progressions frameworks?
  • What value you can see in the Māori and Pasifika frameworks?
  • Do you think you’ll need to refer to the ESOL Starting Points framework?

Factors

  • What do you see as the major factors associated with low levels of adult literacy and numeracy?
  • What causes the biggest impact on your learners?
  • What do you think has the biggest impact on our country as a whole?

Good work…!

Literacy and numeracy definitions: What’s the difference?


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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.

Literacy

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

Numeracy

  • 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?

Holistic

  • 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?

Economics

  • 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?

Social

  • 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?

Political

  • 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?

ESOL

  • 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.

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Thinking more deeply about what we mean by literacy and numeracy


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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?


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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.

Teach better – What is numeracy?


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(ii) Numeracy

This next definition comes from the PIIAC study as well.

What’s the definition?

Numeracy is the ability to use, interpret and communicate mathematical information and ideas in order to engage in and manage the mathematical demands of a range of situations (p.4).

Where does this definition come from?

Ministry of Education and Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (2016). Skills and Education: Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). Wellington: Ministry of Education and Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

What are some key features?

Understanding:

  • Quantity
  • Dimension and shapes
  • Patterns
  • Data and chance
  • Visual displays.

How is this definition relevant to my teaching context?

As with the definition for literacy, this one is important because it allows us to talk about our learners, our country and other countries when it comes to numeracy.

Also, it has a practical focus on using maths for a purpose. As with literacy, numeracy shouldn’t be mindless repetition and practice. It should be about solving problems that have meaning in the context of every life and work.

This is relevant to your teaching because this isn’t about the maths that you, or your learners, got at high school. This is about how to use maths ideas and knowledge to do stuff that you need to do.

The kinds of situations that are relevant to your learners and your teaching should provide you with the kinds of maths and numeracy that you need to do. But more on that in the next definition.