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Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy


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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

To work and participate effectively in a modern knowledge society, New Zealand adults require a certain level of numeracy expertise. Adults who have not yet developed this level of expertise will find it difficult to fully participate. If they and their teachers understand how expertise develops, and if they have a clear picture of the steps they can take, they will be able to make progress in learning to solve number problems, reason statistically and measure and interpret shape and space.1

The learning progressions set out on in this book provide a framework that shows what adult learners know and can do at successive points as they develop their expertise in numeracy learning. This framework can be used as guide when identifying the next steps for adult learners. Each progression covers a particular aspect of learning.

The progressions can be used in many different adult learning settings. They describe what is learned in the order that it is usually learned. They can be used:

  • to gain a basic picture of an adult learner’s current skills, strategies and knowledge in numeracy
  • to identify the numeracy-related demands of specific workplace, community or personal tasks, problems and texts, and
  • as a source of sequences for teaching and learning programmes and of suggestions to use in designing such programmes.

The progressions are neither a curriculum nor a teaching and learning programme. They are not, as they stand, an assessment tool, and they are not a set of teaching and learning activities.

Rather, teachers and managers of foundation-level adult numeracy learners are invited to use the progressions as a basis for developing or adapting their own curricula, programmes, assessment tools and teaching and learning activities.

The professional development resources that accompany this booklet will suggest some ways to develop materials based on the progressions for many different purposes. They also include some models for task and problem analysis and diagnostic assessment, as well as a range of teaching and learning activities.

The learning progressions do not describe all of the knowledge and skills needed to meet any specific achievement standards or Unit Standards of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).2 However, the progressions do have a natural link to the national assessment system. The highest step in each progression describes the knowledge and skills that underpin the numeracy competencies demonstrated by students with level 2 or 3 NQF qualifications. Adult learners who acquire all the knowledge and skills described in the relevant progressions will have a sound foundation to build on if they decide to study for achievement standards or Unit Standards at level 3, 4 or 5 of the NQF.

The research that informed the development of the learning progressions is described in a companion booklet, Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy: Background Information.

1 Adults also need basic language and literacy knowledge, skills and strategies. The language and literacy progressions are presented in a companion booklet, Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy.

2 Students within the school sector work towards these standards in order to get the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), and many adult learners also work towards them, for example, in adult learning courses in institutes of technology and polytechnics.

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