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International Review of Adult
Basic Skills: Learning from
High-Performing and
Improving Countries
David Mallows
National R...
Aim
To draw lessons that could inform future adult basic skills policy, its delivery
and the application of skills by adul...
Similar rather than different
Comparison of England to high-performing countries show
relatively similar socio-economic an...
Eg England has a
comparatively high %
who attained tertiary
education
Demographic profiles do not provide a consistent ind...
Some differences
… age trends
… NEETs
… family background
… jobs
Shared policy focus
• …provision tends to be taken up by groups that are
easier to reach, rather than those that are most ...
Size is not important
All countries, regardless of overall proficiency scores in the
PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills, have a ...
Supply and demand
Increasing the supply (and use) of skills.
Supporting adults to respond to the literacy demands of the w...
David Mallows
Director of research
NRDC
UCL Institute of Education,
London
www.ioe.ac.uk
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International Review of Adult Basic Skills Learning From High Performing and Improving Countries

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David Mallows, Director of Research, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) presented at the BIS / Ipsos MORI event Improving basic skills: An international perspective on a UK dilemma in London on 14 January 2015.

Published in: Education
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International Review of Adult Basic Skills Learning From High Performing and Improving Countries

  1. 1. International Review of Adult Basic Skills: Learning from High-Performing and Improving Countries David Mallows National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC)
  2. 2. Aim To draw lessons that could inform future adult basic skills policy, its delivery and the application of skills by adults in England. Methodology Rapid Evidence Assessment for 8 countries: Canada, Estonia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway (high-performing); South Korea and Poland (improving) – Analysis of OECD International Survey of Adult Skills & policy analysis In-depth country case studies of 4 comparison countries: Canada, South Korea, Netherlands and Norway – Expert interviews & English language Rapid Evidence Assessment / Native language lit review
  3. 3. Similar rather than different Comparison of England to high-performing countries show relatively similar socio-economic and demographic profiles to countries that scored more highly than England in PIAAC’s three dimensions.
  4. 4. Eg England has a comparatively high % who attained tertiary education Demographic profiles do not provide a consistent indicator of ‘high performance’ among countries. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Austria Czech Republic Slovak Republic Poland Sweden Germany Netherlands Average Australia Flanders (Belgium) Norway Denmark Korea England (UK) Finland Estonia Japan Canada Lower than upper secondary Upper secondary Tertiary
  5. 5. Some differences … age trends … NEETs … family background … jobs
  6. 6. Shared policy focus • …provision tends to be taken up by groups that are easier to reach, rather than those that are most in need. • Similar target groups: low skilled people in employment, the unemployed and immigrants. • More workplace provision, with employers encouraged to play a role. • Little robust evaluation data. • Low expectation of change.
  7. 7. Size is not important All countries, regardless of overall proficiency scores in the PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills, have a large proportion of their population scoring at or below Level 1 – the so-called Low Skilled Population. Focus on understanding the nature of the low-skilled population. Those who score at or below Level 1 are more likely than the rest of the adult population to exhibit certain characteristics, but of more relevance is that the majority of them do not.
  8. 8. Supply and demand Increasing the supply (and use) of skills. Supporting adults to respond to the literacy demands of the workplace and their everyday lives. Need for a comprehensive, lifelong and life-wide strategy that addresses concerns of supply and demand, and brings together a range of policy stakeholders to address these issues.
  9. 9. David Mallows Director of research NRDC UCL Institute of Education, London www.ioe.ac.uk

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