Introduction to Foundation skills

Overview

  • The National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults defines foundation skills as 'the combination of: English language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) - listening, speaking, reading, writing, digital literacy and use of mathematical ideas; and employability skills, such as collaboration, problem solving, self-management, learning and information and communication technology (ICT) skills required for participation in modern workplaces and contemporary life. Foundation skills development includes both skills acquisition and the critical application of these skills in multiple environments for multiple purposes'.
    • The strategy focuses on improving outcomes for working age Australians (aged 15-64 years) with a view to moving more people to higher levels, but with a particular focus on those with low levels of foundation skill proficiency. Australian governments have set an aspirational target that by 2022, two thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at Level 3 or above.
    • Fact sheet: Foundation skills
      (Source: Australian Government Department of Education and Training)
  • The FSK Foundation Skills Training Package differs from all other training packages in that it is designed to work in combination with them to support the achievement of vocational pathways.
  • The Australian Core Skills Framework is a tool providing a consistent national approach to identifying and developing the core skills in three diverse contexts: personal and community; workplace and employment; and education and training. It helps both specialist and non-specialist LLN practitioners describe an individual's performance in the five core skills of learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy.

Free resources

Research

  • Adult literacy and numeracy: research and future strategy [2009]
    (Source: NCVER)
    From 2002 to 2006, the Australian Government funded the Adult Literacy Research Program (ALRP), which was managed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research. This report considers how the ALRP has contributed to the adult language, literacy and numeracy sector.
  • Exploring perspectives on adult language, literacy and numeracy [2016]
    (Source: NCVER)
    This review focuses on the perspectives of adult language, literacy and numeracy, particularly the human capital and social practices perspectives, which at times do not sit comfortably in relation to each other.
  • Literacy and numeracy in vocational education and training: review of research [2001]
    (Source: NCVER)
    The aim of this report is to bring together the major insights from research since 1990 on literacy and numeracy as they relate to vocational education and training. It deals with the complexities of the relationships between VET and workplaces and schools as well as the language, literacy, numeracy relationship. The report includes relevant policy developments and practice in the field.
  • Literacy in the new millennium [2004]
    (Source: NCVER)
    This paper examines some of the often contradictory ways in which literacy has been defined before considering how and why literacy conceptions have changed over the years. The final section of the paper outlines a number of implications for literacy policy and practice highlighted by the research.
  • The professional development requirements of Workplace English Language and Literacy Programme practitioners [2006]
    (Source: NCVER)
    This report examines the extent and nature of professional development required to meet the current and future needs of Workplace English Language and Literacy Programme practitioners.

Focus on practice

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Foundation skills in VET

Free resources

Research

  • Focussing on generic skills in training packages [2002]
    (Source: NCVER)
    Ten industry training packages are investigated to assess how much focus they give to the attainment of generic skills. Drawing on recent case studies where generic skills are taught in companies and TAFE institutes using training packages, the study also examines approaches that can enhance the delivery of generic skills so that students are better prepared for the new demands of the workplace.
  • Community adult language, literacy and numeracy provision in Australia: diverse approaches and outcomes [2007]
    (Source: NCVER)
    This study examined non-accredited community language, literacy and numeracy provision in Australia. A diverse range of providers assist many adults who do not need or cannot yet cope with accredited training. Growth in self-confidence appears as important as development of literacy and numeracy skills, with teachers and tutors playing a key role in this.

Focus on practice

  • Adapting Lesson Study for community college mathematics instruction (project + report, 2017-2021, US) NEW
    Lesson Study is a structured, collaborative professional development intervention that has shown evidence of improving mathematics instruction among K-12 teachers. Despite a lengthy history of use internationally and in elementary and secondary schools in the United States, Lesson Study has rarely been implemented in higher education. This project will test the usability of Lesson Study among instructors teaching developmental mathematics at three community colleges in Oregon.
  • Built in not bolted on: information kit for language, literacy and numeracy coordinators on incorporating communication skills into training packages [1998]
    Produced by ANTA, this kit provides information on the National Training Framework, training packages, industry standards and assessment, and the implications of these changes for language, literacy and numeracy practitioners.
  • Effective practices in post-16 vocational maths [2014, UK] NEW
    This project looks at some of the best ideas from around the world for teaching maths to learners aged 16-19, with a focus on the teaching of learners who have previously struggled with maths. It focuses on pedagogy as well as how to enhance learner motivation and engagement, and the experience of employers in supporting the teaching of maths to these learners. The research found that cultural contexts and negative attitudes all have an impact on the teaching of maths and learners' maths development.
  • English, maths and digital delivery in traineeships and apprenticeships: case studies [2018, UK]
    Uses six case studies to demonstrate effective practice in the delivery of English, maths and digital skills across a range of traineeship and/or apprenticeship providers, and practices that are particularly effective for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
  • Foundation Skills
    (Source: Australian Industry and Skills Committee)
    This page provides information and data on the Foundation Skills Training Package, which is one component of the Education industry.
  • How to teach critical thinking [discussion paper, 2019]
    (Source: NSW Department of Education and Training)
    This paper considers what cognitive science can tell us about how critical thinking is acquired, and the implications for how education might best develop critical thinking capabilities in light of this evidence. A four-step process to develop a program to teach critical thinking is recommended.
  • Into learning: a professional development kit for teachers and trainers of adult literacy learners from aural/oral learning cultures [2006]
    This DVD/CD-ROM kit facilitates dialogue on how best to facilitate the acquisition of second language literacy. It features five filmed sequences in five classrooms, each of which may be used as the basis of a professional development session for teachers and tutors.
  • Language literacy and numeracy (LLN) assessment tool information
    (Source: Department of Education and Training)
    Lists assessment tools approved for use to meet the VET Student Loans program student entry requirements.
  • Literacy Net
    (Source: Department of Education and Training)
    Resources include: training materials designed to enhance LLN skills that are aligned with nationally endorsed Training Packages; industry relevant LLN assessment and reporting methods; and LLN professional development resourses for industry trainers/assessors aligned with Training Packages.
  • LLN Resources
    (Source: RTO Doctor)
    A range of publicly available LLN resources providers could use to support LLN in their education and training.
  • Simplifying embedded literacy and numeracy for tertiary tutors: practical ideas and resources for teaching and learning [2020, New Zealand] NEW
    The guides feature teaching and learning strategies presented in simple diagrams and pictures that are based on practice that has been trialed and refined over the last few years.
  • TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills
    (Source: Hospitality Institute of Australasia)
    Learning resource for unit within TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Contains learning materials needed to complete the unit, which develops skills and knowledge required to recognise core LLN demands of training and assessment and to tailor training and assessment to suit individual skill levels, including accessing relevant support resources.
  • The crux of the matter: language, literacy and numeracy and vocational education and training [2011]
    (Source: Queensland VET Development Centre)
    Provides models of good practice, suggestions and practical assistance and a number fact files that include practical information and tools. Updated to take into account changes to the VET system: the development of the Australian Core Skills Framework (replacing the National Reporting System) and the review of the Australian Quality Training Framework.
  • Transforming ideas into action when Foundation Skill needs are identified [2014]
    (Source: Ann Leske, 2014 Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference)
    Presents a ten step process for identifying and delivering the required Foundation skills within a Unit of Competence.
  • What Works for LLN video library
    (Source: Ideas that Work)
    An online library of free LLN training and professional development videos.

Industry specific

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Foundation skills in the workplace

Free resources

Research

Focus on practice

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Foundation skills for speakers of languages other than English

Free resources

Focus on practice

  • Adult Migrant English Program
    • Volunteer Tutor resources
      Topic Packs are a resource used by volunteer tutors for the AMEP. They are designed to support the tutor in the delivery of sessions and are organised by language levels (pre-beginner, beginner, post beginner and intermediate). The syllabus focuses on issues relating to settlement in Australia and will provide new arrivals with information about Australian society, culture, laws, services and practices. They are intended to complement existing resources and include teaching tips and strategies, ideas for developing a session and excursion ideas.
  • EAL/D teacher resources - adult
    (Source: Australian Council of TESOL Associations)
    • Curriculum - Victorian Adult EAL Framework
      The EAL Framework of adult EAL certificates is an accredited curriculum designed to be used to develop English language skills of adult learners of English as an additional language. It was developed in Victoria. It has 10 certificates across all levels beginner to advanced and in three streams: Access, Further Study and Employment. This version accredited for the period: January 1 2019 to December 31 2023. January 1 2019 to December 31 2023.
  • TAFE NSW free teaching resources
    The activities in these resources are aligned to the learning outcomes in the Certificates in Spoken and Written English. They are designed to integrate safety and emergency training into ESL language programs.

For purchase

This is an example only of a commercial producer of training and assessment resources. Inclusion on this list does not signify endorsement by NCVER.

  • AMES Australia Bookshop
    Features a wide range of educational resources for English language learners and ESL teachers - from basic resources for learning English to advanced industry-specific training resources for teachers working with students who have English as their second language.

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