Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

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Susan Godsland

Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Susan Godsland »

Ten years and £9bn later and still 5 million can't read

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6112096
In 2001, a new £9 billion programme to improve adult basic skills in England was hailed as a world-leading investment in literacy. What followed was one of the highest profile campaigns of its kind ever undertaken - it was impossible to miss the marketing and the advertisements.

A decade on, the results of an inquiry by adult education body Niace published last week found the Skills for Life programme was not wholly successful. In fact, it failed to reach many of the people most in need of improving their reading and writing.

The 12-month inquiry culminated in Niace's report, Work, Society and Lifelong Literacy, which assessed progress since the Moser report that inspired the programme in 2001. Its judgment? Too many resources were directed to people with the fewest literacy problems; the Government needs to encourage demand for better skills among those who struggle to read and write; and family learning could be the key to greater improvements.

The Moser report called for the Government to halve the number of people - seven million - who could not read and write competently in daily life and work. It gave examples of tasks such as finding a plumber in the phone book. But the new inquiry said the number had fallen by only two million after a decade of investment. "At least five million of our adult citizens are missing out because they do not have an adequate standard of literacy," said inquiry chairman Lord Boswell.

The target was missed, the report explains, partly because Skills for Life was driven by raising qualification levels, leading to the recruitment of those who could most easily get qualified. There were too few enrolments on the lower-level courses for people with the greatest obstacles to reading. And many of the higher-level courses were accrediting people whose literacy was already acceptable but who lacked the certificate to prove it.

Susan Godsland

Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Susan Godsland »

The Commissioners of the Inquiry, led by former Education Minister Lord Boswell of Aynho, have made the following seven recommendations to Government in their final report Work, Society and Lifelong Learning. The recommendations are:
1. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) must work with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), local authorities, further education colleges and providers, higher education and professional bodies to raise the standards of teaching and learning.

2. The Department for Education (DfE), working with BIS and local authorities, must help to break the cycles of intergenerational difficulties with literacy through family literacy and learning programmes.

3. BIS and DfE, working with employers, trades unions and civil society organisations, should explore environments, opportunities and pedagogies which reach and respond to those who are currently under-represented in provision.

4. BIS should lead on optimising effective organisational processes and structures, which help to join up policies and provision and ensure adequate resourcing.

5. BIS should support the development of a range of measures to identify and record success.

6. BIS must work with the media to raise awareness, demand and motivation to support cross-sector initiatives and build upon research.

7. BIS should work with research and development organisations to carry out more research, in particular about how to reach those most in need.
So, have they recommended anything practical that will actually WORK to get 5 million illiterate adults reading? It sounds like a lot of hot air to me.

Susan Godsland

Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Susan Godsland »

http://www.axiseducation.co.uk/products ... ading.aspx

FastTrack to reading

''The UK’s first ever complete reading course for 14+ adults.’’

‘’FastTrack to reading starts from first principals (sequencing and letter sound and name recognition) and by the end of the programme students will be able to read simple sentences with CVC words.’’

£150

:shock:

FEtutor
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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by FEtutor »

It's even worse than you thought, Susan-

£420 for the bundle, or £150 for each set of photocopiable materials: Phonics1, Phonics2, Reading and Writing

http://www.axiseducation.co.uk/products ... track.aspx

chew8
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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by chew8 »

'FastTrack to reading starts from first principals...'.

I always have reservations about people who claim to be experts on literacy teaching but make basic errors in spelling (or punctuation or grammar).

Jenny C.

Susan Godsland

Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Susan Godsland »

On the subject of the OP, adult illiteracy

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15478753

Poor patient literacy 'hampers healthcare'
One in six people in the UK have a literacy level below that expected of an 11-year old.

This is alarming enough in terms of the ability to manage day-to-day activities, but problems may be even more widespread if we consider health literacy, which is an individual's ability to read, understand and use healthcare information to make decisions and follow instructions for treatment.

Literacy difficulties may stem from a variety of factors including conditions such as dyslexia, health problems, disrupted schooling or stresses acting as barriers to learning in childhood.

Unfortunately, stigma still surrounds adults who struggle to read and they are often too embarrassed to disclose any literacy difficulties, even in the confidential setting of a doctor's consulting room.

Patients with reading difficulties may have developed effective strategies to conceal problems and minimise any impact on their lives, such as avoiding form filling and declining to read aloud when in company.

They may have excellent verbal communication skills, and it is therefore not always easy for anyone - doctors and other healthcare professionals included - to detect there is a problem that could have an adverse effect on the patient's health.

Susan Godsland

Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Susan Godsland »

Dec. 2011: The NLT comments on the BIS 2011 Skills for Life survey
http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/blog/41 ... _in_the_uk
However, the number with the poorest literacy skills has not changed significantly: there are still 15% of adults at or below entry level 3 (the equivalent of the level expected in the National Curriculum of11 year olds). Worryingly, the number with entry level 1 (the equivalent of the National Curriculum’s 5-7 year old) has grown slightly between 2003 and 2011, from 3.4% to 5%. The research estimates this group to be 1.7 million.

“Low hanging fruit” is an ugly term, but the statistics do suggest that the approaches of the last decade have been successful in improving the literacy skills of adults who have already mastered the basics, whilst not impacting significantly on the 1 in 6 for whom the issues are more complex
Tricia Millar responded to this on her blog:
http://thatreadingthing.com/2011/12/ghoti-fish/
This week the government published an update of the 2003 Skills for Life Survey. Jonathon Douglas blogs about it on the National Literacy Trust Policy Blog and I’ve highlighted a bit of that post here.

…there are still 15% of adults at or below entry level 3 (the equivalent of the level expected in the National Curriculum of11 year olds). Worryingly, the number with entry level 1 (the equivalent of the National Curriculum’s 5-7 year old) has grown slightly between 2003 and 2011, from 3.4% to 5%. The research estimates this group to be 1.7 million.

“Low hanging fruit” is an ugly term, but the statistics do suggest that the approaches of the last decade have been successful in improving the literacy skills of adults who have already mastered the basics, whilst not impacting significantly on the 1 in 6 for whom the issues are more complex.

In the past 10 years I’ve met a few older strugglers who will always find decoding difficult due to a learning difficulty. However, many of those “1 in 6″, with or without a diagnosed learning difficulty, simply don’t know that the squiggles on the page represent the sounds that we say out loud. Instead, they have memorised loads of little words by sight and they guess (badly) at the longer content words.
What has been done since 2011 to help those '1 in 6' achieve functional literacy through practical and straightforward synthetic phonics reading instruction?

This week, 16 January 2014, the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BIS) announced a new inquiry into Adult Literacy :roll:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/commi ... -literacy/

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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by FEtutor »

Out of curiosity I went along to the second evidence session of the BIS select committee on Adult Literacy and Numeracy this morning. The chairman and members seem genuinely concerned, open to ideas, eager to fathom out what's gone wrong, and what needs to be done, questioning the witnesses on their views, asking them to email further information, inviting a member of the public to put in writing what she wanted to contribute at the end. It does not seem too late to contact the Chairman (MP Adrian Bailey) and members with written contributions.

Today's witnesses came from a variety of backgrounds in the charity sector, the army, etc etc, and there was much talk of the need to 'engage' learners and 'embed' literacy, with the Prisoners Trust representative talking of the value of peer recruitment and 1:1 peer (I think) teaching, and the Thames Reach rep talking of the need for 1:1 specialist support. Teaching methods did not seem to be mentioned (though they could have been while I was out of the room).

One question that MP Brian Binley put very forcefully was how come England's OAPs are now more literate and numerate than today's 16 -24 year olds (OECD report Oct 2013)? I thought I know just the people to explain it all to him and the rest of the committee, to trace it back to through time. So, if any of you contact the committee with explanations of what went wrong (and why England has slipped down the international tables) and what must be done (ensure good sp teacher training throughout schools as a starting point?) I feel sure your contributions would be read and appreciated.

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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by FEtutor »

I forgot to say that Brian Binley did not get any explanations that seemed to satisfy him. "Disrupted education" was the best guess of several of the young witnesses he asked. He responded with another good question: "More disrupted in England than in other countries?"

kenm
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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by kenm »

On 26 January 2014 I sent the following to the Secretariat of the Select Committee for Education:
A proposal for a new enquiry by the Education Select Committee

1 Since the Rose Review of the teaching of early reading, 2005-6, and the publication of its Report in 2006, the Government has changed its guidance to teachers and to University Education Departments in several respects:

1.1 The simple view of reading (that the ability to read is composed of word recognition processes and language comprehension processes) is recommended as a strategic guide to the initial teaching of reading in YR and Y1.

1.2 Decoding words on the alphabetic principle is recommended as the prime means of word recognition.

1.3 Synthetic Phonics is recommended as the method of teaching decoding.

1.4 Schools are now required to administer to all Y1 children a new "Phonics screening check" (PSC), which tests their ability to decode. Y2 children who failed the Y1 check must also take it.

2 These initiatives have been criticised and resisted by teachers, their unions, and several respected children's authors.

3 Aggregated results of the PSCs of 2012 and 2013 (respectively full and preliminary) have been published.

3.1 The 2013 results are markedly better than those for 2012.

3.2 The histogram of marks departs somewhat from what would be expected from a good method for teaching decoding universally applied. That the primary mode occurred at the maximum mark is a good indicator that the test was not unduly difficult; that a secondary mode appeared at the known pass mark of 32 is an indication that marginal pupils were given some sort of additional support during the administration of the test. However, two other features of the results, the high percentage of Y1 pupils who failed to reach the pass mark and the better figures for girls than for boys, raise the suspicion that not all pupils were being taught to decode by an effective method.

4 It is common in engineering production for the results in changes of working practices or product design to be measured following their introduction, to see whether expected benefits have been realised and to determine whether further changes might provide additional benefits.

4.1 The Department for Education (DfE) has published some analysis of the results of the PSCs, but these mostly concern correlations between the marks achieved and measurements of pupils' abilities at school entry. I have been unable to find a published report of an examination of the effectiveness of the particular methods used by different schools to teach decoding.

4.2 The information that the DfE now holds includes detailed descriptions of the ethnicity, socio-economic circumstances and special needs evaluations of the children who have taken the PSC. These data and the performance of the same children in the English component of KS1 appear at first sight to have the potential for analysis that would give an indication of the effectiveness of their teaching.

4.3 Whether this measurement can be extracted from these data depends upon the extent to which the other influences can be separated from them; this needs consideration of the problem by an expert in multivariate analysis.

5 I suggest that the Select Committee hold a session or sessions to which it invites representatives of the DfE to describe the extent to which it has used these data to evaluate the teaching in individual schools; how widely schools vary in the effectiveness of their teaching; and whether OFSTED inspections have identified the sources of such variation.

--
Ken Moore
I received a reply informing me that the Committee had no plans to consider literacy teaching in primary schools but that when they returned to the subject my proposal would be re-examined.

I propose now to email the BIS Committee pointing out that the problems with literacy in the UK are evident among entrants to secondary education, so clearly arise during primary education. I shall refer to the RRF as a source of informed comment on this matter and in particular to this contribution.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite »

Excellent, Ken, well done.

But how very revealing in itself that there was a comment concerning no investigation into primary teaching.
the Committee had no plans to consider literacy teaching in primary schools
Now, for moving forwards into the future to avoid/reduce this issue with adult weak literacy, what else could be done to further our understanding of what is happening in practice currently?

Personally, I think that SP and LP specialist consultants could be invited by the DfE to observe literacy teaching in primary schools to form the basis of a collective report.

What if the recognised, reputable phonics programme authors/publishers provided personnel to see how well and how closely schools provide the specific phonics programmes and practices.

So, it wouldn't be a case of being competitive or biased but simply a case of observing the practice in reality compared to the 'theory' as put across in the programmes and training.

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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Tricia »

Joan- you haunted me till I did it! :grin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJaozGt1DFo

It's not my forte - but I spoke from TRT experience.

3 minutes is quick!
Tricia Millar
http://www.thatreadingthing.com
http://trt-for-teachers.com/
@TRT_Tricia

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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by FEtutor »

Well done, Tricia!
Joan

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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite »

I just watched your video, Tricia, you gave me goose bumps.

As you spoke, images of various, largely disaffected young people I know of who have, quite frankly, been failed by lack of good phonics and basic skills teaching, have transformed and shown that they are very capable of learning when the relationship, content and formula is 'right'.

In other words, I know exactly what and who you are talking about - as do many other RRFers I am sure.

Very well done - you need a video with you describing the basis/content of your programme - or showing it 'in action'.

If there is one already, please do flag it up here.

:grin:

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Re: Adult literacy: 10yrs & £9bn later - still 5m can't read

Post by FEtutor »

Well done Tricia on two BIS acknowledgements of your video contribution (tweets from BIS and MP Crockart). Did you submit two?
Joan

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