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Achievement - This does not necessarily mean the achievement of qualifications. It includes measurable improvement and progression in literacy, numeracy and for language skills in vocational, academic, social and personal contexts.

Adults - In education, adults include all learners over the age of 16 outside education. 18 is often taken as the benchmark age for adulthood, since it is the legal age of majority.

Appropriate - Describes a text, word, utterance, style, method or choice that is suitable for its intended audience, form or purpose. ‘Appropriate’ incorporates the idea that different contexts require different treatments and in this respect should be differentiated from ‘correct’, which is associated more with the right grammatical formulation of an expression, or the ‘right’ choice or response etc.

Assessment - Means collecting information in order to make decisions. Assessment should provide the information required to build and maintain a profile of the learner. This will enable teachers and trainers to establish and review both the learner’s requirements and the learning opportunities that can be provided for him or her. It will also provide feedback to the leaner on his or her progress.

Assistant - An assistant is likely to be the person providing additional training or teaching in literacy, numeracy and/or ESOL support.

Audience - The people addressed by a message in any medium. The term includes listeners, readers of print, film/TV audiences, and users of information technology.

Basic Skills - A shorthand to describe the skills which are the focus of the Skills for Life strategy.

Capacity - Availability of opportunities for literacy and numeracy learning.

Coherence - The underlying logical connectedness of a text, whereby concepts and relationships are relevant to each other and where it is possible to make plausible inferences about underlying meaning.

Common Inspection Framework - Sets out the principles applicable to the inspections of post-16-non-higher education and training that meet the requirements under Part III of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. Inspections are carried out by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).

The Framework also includes the more specific evaluation requirements that apply to the inspection of individual providers of education and training. The requirements reflect the principles and the general requirements of the Act for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools (HMCI) and the Chief Inspector of Adult Learning to keep the Secretary of State informed about:

  • the quality of education and training;
  • the standards achieved by those receiving that education and training;
  • whether financial resources made available to those providing that education and training are managed efficiently and used in a way that provides value for money.

The specific requirements for other types of inspections will be guided by the principles in the Framework insofar as they are appropriate. (The Common Inspection Framework for Inspecting Post-16 Education and Training February 2001).

Common - Used to describe words, signs and symbols, patterns of spelling and grammatical constructions that occur frequently in the learner’s everyday experiences. Also, units, measures, instruments, tools, etc. that are widely used in everyday life in non-specialist contexts

Context - The non-linguistic situation in which spoken or written language is used, and in which the learner is operating.

Curriculum - A planned approach to learning made up of identified activities.

Curriculum Framework - A document that sets out the entitlement to learning, against which clear and detailed steps can be planned to enable learners to progress in a structured way.

Data - Information of a quantitative nature consisting of counts or measurements.

Discrete literacy, numeracy and ESOL provision - Where literacy, numeracy and ESOL in the main learning programme, literacy, numeracy and ESOL provision is inspected under area of learning.

Disability - The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) - The ability to understand and employ the English language in daily activities at home, at work and in the community, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.

Feedback - The ongoing reaction given by an audience to those communicating, which helps them evaluate the success of their communication. Feedback may be verbal or non-verbal (e.g. through facial expressions or action).

Images - Pictures, photographs, graphs, charts or graphical representations.

Indicators -

  • the specific learning outcomes that a learner will work towards.
  • the skills, knowledge and understanding that a learner will have acquired and will be capable of using and applying when he or she has been assessed to have achieved those outcomes.

Indicators do not prescribe delivery or dictate the activities a learner will be doing.

Individual learning plan - The output of initial assessment, setting out what the learner plans to learn, by when, the ways he or she will undertake the learning and the resources required to bring the plan into action.

Initial assessment - This may include initial screening to identify whether learners require additional support. It may also include diagnostic assessment to identify the specific areas of literacy, numeracy and ESOL learners need to work on to achieve their main learning goal.

Key Skills - Literacy, numeracy and/or language learning concentrates on developing skills, knowledge and understanding, whereas key skills concentrates on their application. The key skills are Communication, Application of Number, IT, Improving Own Learning and Performance, Working with Others and Problem Solving.

Language, literacy and numeracy - The ability to read, write and speak in English and to use mathematics at a level necessary to function at work and in society in general.

Learner - In relation to the literacy, numeracy and ESOL curricula, a learner is anyone over 16 undergoing a programme of education or training in any context.

Learning infrastructure - The term describes the new Skills for Life framework for delivering adult literacy, language and numeracy learning programmes.

The key elements are:

  • National standards for adult literacy and numeracy, upon which all learning programmes are based.
  • The Adult Literacy Core Curriculum, Adult Numeracy Core Curriculum, Adult ESOL Core Curriculum and the Pre-Entry Curriculum Framework.
  • The Access for All guidance manual that supports teachers in meeting the needs of learners with learning difficulties and disabilities.
  • Screening, initial and diagnostic assessment materials for adult literacy, language and numeracy.
  • Systems for developing individual learning plans (ILPs).
  • Systems for recording learner progress and reporting learner achievements.
  • National qualifications for adult literacy, language and numeracy, including the national literacy and numeracy tests and systems for making these qualifications more accessible.

Learning objectives - Literacy, numeracy and/or language qualifications and other learning objectives that enhance learners’ employment and career prospects.

Learning support - In relation to the literacy, numeracy and ESOL curricula, is the support provided to anyone over 16 undergoing a programme of education or training in any context.

Literacy - The ability to understand and employ printed information in daily activities at home, at work and in the community to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.

Literacy, numeracy and/or ESOL support - Learning that forms part of the learner’s main learning programme. This could be offered on an individual or group basis in separate sessions or as part of the mainstream learning. It may include additional support for learners with specific learning difficulties.

Medium - The way in which language is transmitted from one person, or an agency, to another. The three basic media of language are phonic (speech), graphic (writing) and signing (sign language for hearing impaired people). The term is also used to denote the means of communication (e.g. television, telephone, film, radio, computer, press).

Mentor - A person providing additional support and guidance.

Milestones - Significant points along the continuum in this curriculum framework that have relevance to assessing a learner’s attainment: that help identify the learner’s literacy and numeracy skills at the most appropriate of these points.

National Qualifications Framework - The list of qualifications that have been accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Qualifications are organised into three categories – general, vocation-related/vocational and occupational – and assigned to one of six levels (according to degree of knowledge, skills and understanding, autonomy, analysis and creative thinking within the qualifications).

New Qualifications Framework for teachers of literacy, numeracy and ESOL - New qualifications have been introduced for teachers (Subject Specialists) at Level 4 of the NQF, and Subject Support staff (Level 3) in Literacy and Numeracy, available from Autumn 2002. Equivalent ESOL qualifications were made available from Autumn 2003. A new qualification for Adult Learner Support (Literacy/Numeracy/ESOL) at Level 2 was also made available from Autumn 2002.

Summary of new qualifications:

  • Level 4 – Certificate for Adult Literacy/Numeracy/ESOL Subject Specialists
  • Level 3 – Certificate for Adult Literacy/Numeracy/ESOL Subject Support
  • Level 2 – Certificate for Adult Literacy/Numeracy/ESOL Learner Support

Numeracy - The ability to understand and employ numerical information in daily activities at home, at work and in the community to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.

Personal development skills - Key skills and skills that enhance learners’ employment prospects.

Progression - The measurable improvements or development in learning or teaching that a learner or teacher has achieved.

Provider - Any organisation providing education and training.

Range - A measure of spread in statistics; the difference between the greatest and the least in a set of numerical data.

Skills for Life - In March 2001 the Government published Skills for Life, the national strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy skills.

Style - A difficult term to define because of its many uses, but it can be defined as the selection of a set of linguistic features from all the possibilities in a language, in relation to context, purpose and audience.

Subject Specifications - Definitions of the knowledge, personal skills and understanding required by teachers and those who support teaching and learning in adult literacy and numeracy programmes. See National Qualifications Framework, teaching infrastructure.

Teaching infrastructure - The new Skills for Life framework for delivering adult literacy, language and numeracy teaching programmes.

The key elements are:

  • New Subject Specifications for Teachers of Adult Literacy and Numeracy (from 1 September 2002) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (from 1 September 2003) at Levels 3 and 4 of the National Qualifications Framework (from August 2002). These documents outline the essential skills and knowledge required of teachers and subject support staff involved in literacy, numeracy and ESOL provision.
  • New qualifications for teachers and support staff involved with literacy, numeracy and ESOL provision, that recognise the subject specifications.
  • New level 2 qualifications in Adult Learner Support to cater for a variety of support roles in literacy, numeracy and ESOL provision.
  • Training programmes for teachers in the use of 'Access for All', the 'Core Curriculum' and professional development programmes for existing staff.

Acronyms - TO BE UPDATED?

ABSSU - Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit
ALI - Adult Learning Inspectorate
BECTA - British Educational Communications and Technology Agency
BSA - Basic Skills Agency
CALL - Computer-assisted Language Learning
CIF - Common Inspection Framework
DfES - Department for Education and Skills
EFL - English as a Foreign Language
ES - Employment Services
ESOL - English for Speakers of Other Languages
FENTO - Further Education National Training Organisations
LDD - Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
LLLU - London Language and Literacy Unit
LLN - Language, Literacy and Numeracy
LNE - Literacy, Numeracy, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
LSC - Learning and Skills Council
LSDA - Learning and Skills Development Agency
NATECLA - National Association of Teachers of English and other Community Languages
NIACE - National Institute for Adult Continuing Education
NOCN - National Open College Network
NQF - National Qualifications Framework
NRDC - National Research and Development Centre
OfSTED - Office for Standards in Education
ONA - Organisational Needs Analysis
QCA - Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
QTS - Qualified Teacher Status
SEN - Special Educational Needs
TNA - Training Needs Analysis


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