Language Literacy and NumeracyThe Dept of Industry in consultation with IBSA has recognised the need for training providers to better understand and indentify language literacy and numeracy deficiencies in students. As a result of this they have added a LLN unit as a core unit in the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. The Australian Literacy Testing Centre plans to develop tools to assist RTO’s and trainers in assessing students AQF levels. In the meantime, some basic principles are outlines below:
Establishing students’ LLN needsa. Prior to the course
As part of the pre-course information sent to students and clients, students are encouraged to advise of any learning support needs they may have, including in the area of LLN. Where the organisation is aware that a student has specific LLN needs, they will endeavour to:
- Discuss those needs with the student or a client representative prior to the course to establish whether the student should be attending the course, and if so, how they can best be supported, AND
- Advise the facilitator about the needs of the student
At the start of a course, facilitators should:
- Ask students to indicate privately if they feel they need extra support. Encourage students to be forthcoming early in the course so that the facilitator can record the issues and make reasonable adjustments in a timely manner. If anyone does express a need, ask them what type of support they may find useful, AND
- Undertake some form of LLN diagnostic assessment to identify the students who may need additional support. This form of assessment is usually informal and can be incorporated as part of an initial icebreaker / warm-up activity. For example, on a Safety & Health Representatives course, participants could be asked to complete a form that asks for details about their safety knowledge, experience with the health and safety legislative framework, etc. They can then be given the opportunity to exchange information with each other. In the first instance the trainer will have some evidence about their reading and writing, and in the spoken exchange the trainer has the opportunity to observe and evaluate their speaking and listening skills.
- students can interview each other and then write a note to the trainer about their partner
- they can write a description of their workplace, share it with a partner, then the partner can report back to a larger group, or the whole class
- facilitators can provide a newspaper article about a relevant topic which students read and answer some questions about, and then write a response – including, possibly, some numeracy elements
The facilitator should inform a Training Advisor if any student’s LLN levels are substantially below the pre-requisite level and together formulate a strategy for managing the students’ progress. In some cases, it may be determined that the students’ low LLN levels will not be sufficient for them to complete the course in the set time.
As the course proceeds, trainers can continually assess and gauge their students’ LLN proficiency, progress and respond to their needs. There are many opportunities to diagnose and review the students’ LLN levels. This should present a clearer picture of the strengths and areas of LLN that may require further development, practice and feedback. If students are struggling, the option to discuss their case with a Training Advisor remains.