Improving adults’ literacy and numeracy skills is a key action within the New Zealand Skills Strategy. Over the next three years, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will be helping to build the tertiary sector’s capability to provide education and training opportunities that embed literacy and numeracy into vocational and other curriculum.
Research confirms that improving workforce literacy, language and numeracy skills works best if the learning is in a context that is relevant to the learner, eg. existing workplace training. The Literacy, Language and Numeracy Action Plan proposes a significant increase in the amount of explicit literacy and numeracy teaching and assessment that is embedded into vocational training.
To achieve the scale of high quality learning opportunities required we need to ensure a whole system approach which makes literacy and numeracy a sustainable part of core business.
Providers will be encouraged to make changes in organisational infrastructure, leadership, teaching, resources, curriculum, training arrangements, course design and assessment that will be necessary to deliver the outcomes sought from this plan.
(Tertiary Education Commission, 2008a, pp. 6, 10, 13.)
This document comprises a theoretical framework that will be refined and elaborated as the capability and capacity of the sector to provide effective literacy and numeracy teaching and learning increase. This developmental approach recognises that the current situation will change from 2008 and, consequently, the theoretical framework will evolve to reflect this. The intention throughout is to keep the focus clearly on improving literacy and numeracy outcomes for a significant number of adults in New Zealand. The document outlines the theoretical understandings that can be used as a basis for making principled decisions about strengthening literacy and numeracy in vocational training. Ongoing development of the theoretical framework will take account of emerging evidence about means of strengthening literacy and numeracy , that include for example, embedded provision.
The theoretical framework provides the basis for a series guidelines for strengthening literacy and numeracy in vocational training. The guidelines will assist different types of TEOs to systematically apply understandings about effective practice to their organisation. As well as responding to changes in the theoretical framework, the guidelines will be elaborated on through the experiences of the sector as it strengthens literacy and numeracy by embedding these skills in vocational courses.