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Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy


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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 expertise in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Adults who have not yet developed this 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 listen, speak, read and write more effectively.1

The learning progressions set out in this book provide a framework that shows what adult learners know and can do at successive points as they develop their expertise in literacy learning. This framework can be used as a guide to 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 oral and written English
  • identify the English-language demands of specific workplace, community, or personal tasks and texts, and
  • provide a sequence for teaching and learning programmes and 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 adult literacy 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 suggest some ways in which to develop materials based on the progressions for many different purposes. They also include some models for text 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 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).2 The progressions do, however, have a natural link to the national assessment system. The highest step in each progression describes the knowledge and skills that underpin the literacy competencies demonstrated by learners 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.

The progressions and Te Reo Rangatira (the Māori language)

The progressions show the development of expertise in listening, speaking, reading and writing in New Zealand English and the examples used include some words from Te Reo that are commonly used in New Zealand. This acknowledges Māori iwi as tangata whenua and reflects the fact that Te Reo is one of our official languages. Most New Zealanders regularly use, see or hear Te Reo and Māori concepts in their everyday lives. People who are fluent in Te Reo as well as English move easily between both languages and may respond to a question in English by using both languages. Tutors can acknowledge and reflect this in their own teaching, while at the same time using the progressions as a guide for literacy development.

1 Adults also need basic numeracy knowledge, skills and strategies. The numeracy progressions are presented in a companion resource, Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy.

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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