[AAACE-NLA] the counting metaphor is the fundamental flaw
gdemetrion at msn.com
gdemetrion at msn.com
Fri Mar 24 18:26:29 EST 2006
As long as some version of counting is the operative mode of assessing progress, the field will lose hands down every time. I do think the qualitative data leads to other conclusions, though progress is typically gradual and linked up with other aspects of life enhancement, which may or may not be measurable according to the criteria of measurement available.
in the near future I hope to have an 11,000 word student newsletter available on line that tell another story about adult literacy. For those of us who have been working in local programming for decades (almost 2 for me), this is nothing new, as other colleagues and I have also written about our experiences and understanding of adult literacy from various anthropological perspectives. Thus, there is research available which supports the insights for practitioners and the commentary of students themselves and much of this research is quite rich even as it may not be necessarily countable in any meaningful sense of what a counting paradigm requires There are other ways of looking at things as many of us on this list and elsewhere have been elaborating upon ad infinitium.
However, as long as policy leadership, responding to very real policy pressures of an immediate sort feel compelled to work with the reigning counting paradigm, even if the metaphor becomes a source of short term legitimization, the long term result is failure because the paradigm is flawed from the et go. Thus, based on the counting paradigm the US-based AELS is not working according to its own professed standards--which would be measurable results on the NRS. And now even in the UK, the program is "failing" because it is not netting its anticipated quantitative results.
A most, the counting metaphor buys a little time. The chickens seem always to come home to roost, sooner or later. it is now "later" in the English speaking world.
O Canada! Are you next or will you stem the tide?
Further education news
Adult literacy scheme branded failure
Wednesday December 7, 2005
Education inspectors condemned a £2bn government drive to improve basic
literacy and numeracy levels among adults as a "depressing" failure today
Ministers have hailed the Skills for Life scheme, which aimed to encourage
more adults to take basic qualifications and develop their abilities in
English and maths.
But the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) said the programme was failing,
despite the "extraordinary" amount of money the government had spent.
The findings came just 48 hours after a government review warned Britain's
economic prosperity was at risk because so many adults cannot read, write
or add up properly.
The ALI said Skills for Life was not achieving its key aim of helping people
from the poorest backgrounds.
In its annual report, the ALI said: "There has been a depressing lack of
improvement and a failure to effectively tackle weaknesses over the past
"This is despite an extraordinary injection of funds and capacity building
from the government's Skills for Life campaign.
"All this is most disappointing."
Last year, ministers hailed the success of the scheme as one of the few high
profile education initiatives that had met its key targets.
But the ALI report said the achievement was of "debatable" value.
"Last year, Skills for Life met its initial target of three-quarters of a
million new qualifications achieved in numeracy or literacy.
"Half these were gained by 16 to 18-year-olds already enrolled on college
"It is debatable how much extra value was added by the programme in that
The report said the amount of good quality work on literacy and numeracy in
colleges has fallen.
The ALI's chief inspector, David Sherlock, said adult education colleges
were being forced to make up for the shortcomings of state schools.
"We cannot get away from the fact that the adult learning sector is
distorted to deal with the shortcomings of our schools system," he said.
"Until we deal with our failure to properly equip so many young people for
adulthood, let alone successful careers, we cannot hope to build a
world-beating adult skills strategy."
On Monday, Lord Leitch published the interim findings of his review into the
UK's skills requirements for the 21st century.
Half of adults do not have the maths abilities expected of primary school
children and one in six does not have the literacy skills of an
11-year-old, he said.
Lord Leitch warned that current targets for improving skills levels will be
"difficult" to achieve.
And even then, they will not be enough to improve Britain's "poor" standing
on the world stage, he said.
The skills minister Phil Hope acknowledged that there was much more to be
done, stressing that the ALI report had highlighted major improvements in
the quality of training.
"However, we acknowledge that there is still more for us to do if we are to
improve basic skills," he said.
"The report will be a spur to help us identify what needs to be done to
raise the quality of provision across the board.
"More than a million adults have improved their skills and gained a first
qualification since we launched the Skills for Life programme.
"We are on course to meet our target of improving the skills of 2.25 million
adults by 2010."
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