Restoring the Balance
Authors: The Centre for Literacy of Quebec
This document is a bibliography compiled for the 2006 Summer Institute at The Centre for Literacy of Quebec. The selections include lectures, research studies, policy papers and government documents that describe and analyze recent concepts of accountability in the context of government funding in the non-profit sector in several countries. They look at issues of assessment and accountability in the broad field of education and more specifically in the fields of adult literacy and adult basic education.
Each section has been arranged in chronological order to reflect the evolution of ideas over the past two decades. Although far from exhaustive, the selected entries offer a set of essential readings on the topic and a point of entry for further research.
This document is divided into the following sections:
- Concepts of accountability
- Accountability frameworks: government and non-Profits
- Assessment and accountability in education
- Assessment and accountability in adult education
1995 - 96 Report
Authors: Murray J. MacKinnon
Provides data about ABE students in British Columbia and the educational, social, and economic effects of ABE programs as reported by them. Includes statistical data about who the students are, why they enroll, what outcomes they expect, whether their goals are met, and the barriers they experienced. Third in a series of three reports.
A Compendium of Quantitative Data and Interpretive Comments
This report provides information about methods of assessing adult literacy skills and programs. The authors use theoretical examples as well as extensive quantitative data from World War 1 (1917) up to the present.
Michel presented a new tool called “Assessing the Complexity of Literacy Tasks.” It is designed to help document designers understand the ability levels of readers as defined in the International Adult Literacy Survey. This complexity-rating tool, based on the work of Irwin Kirsh and Peter Mosenthal, can help information designers ensure that the level of complexity of public information matches the literacy level of the target readers. It complements plain language techniques and can deal with some of the shortfalls of readability formulas based on school grade levels.
The Canadian Labour Business Centre (CLBC) carried out a study from October 2000 and January 2001 exploring Canadian employers’ views and experiences with assessing and recognizing the credentials of foreign-trained workers, as well as approaches to raising the awareness of employers on these subjects.
“The assessment and recognition of the education credentials of foreign-trained workers is an issue of growing importance in Canada. An accurate understanding and evaluation of the skills, knowledge and experience of foreign-trained workers plays a key role in enabling these workers to find jobs in which this preparation can be used to full advantage. When this happens, the individual benefits from earnings in keeping with his/her skills, and the employer and economy benefit from the full productive use of those skills. When this does not happen, the full productive potential of the labour force goes unrealized, and the affected individuals and their families suffer lower incomes and standards of living.” (Executive Summary)
Building a Case for Pursuing and Completing an Apprenticeship
Authors: Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF)
The goal of this project was to assess the outcomes of apprentices, and compare those outcomes with the outcomes of individuals who did not complete an apprenticeship; graduates of other college programs; and individuals who did not pursue any postsecondary training.
The authors analysed several surveys of provincial college graduates as well as the National Apprenticeship Survey (NAS) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Only the four provinces that collected and were able to share relevant data were included: British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
For the purpose of comparing college outcomes, the authors identified four distinct groups: apprenticeship completers; trades program completers; graduates of selected applied and technical programs; and all college completers, excluding trades programs.
The findings showed that individuals who complete apprenticeships are more likely to be working, both immediately after graduation and several years later; have better earning potential, in both the short and long term; and report higher levels of job security and satisfaction.
This document was prepared by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF), a national non-for-profit organization that promotes apprenticeship as an effective means of training and education.
A National Study
Authors: Brent David Novodvorski
This project was prompted by another initiative of the Deaf Literacy Initiative (DLI), an umbrella organization that provides training, research, networking and resources to the deaf and deaf/blind literacy community in Ontario.
DLI has been preparing an employment-based literacy assessment tool it wants to share with Deaf Adult Literacy Programs (DALPs) outside Ontario. As little is known about Canadian DALPs, this project was launched to fill that knowledge gap.
The project, carried out between October 2010 and March 2011, included a review of literature and the gathering of information through questionnaires, interviews and a focus group. The author describes the report as providing a snapshot of 16 DALPs across Canada.
Based on the research findings, the author suggests that more work needs to be done to develop successive American Sign Language (ASL) levels for deaf adults, an ASL curriculum, and assessment tools specifically for deaf learners.
The Black Youth Literacy Project is an initiative of the Toronto ALFA Centre, a community-based program that has been delivering literacy services to adults in the northwest corner of the City of Toronto since 1985. The aim of this project is to improve the educational engagement and self-concept of Black youth who have been turned off or let down by the regular education system and have left school; experience reading and writing difficulties; are either unemployed or underemployed; and are at risk of falling short of realizing their full potential.
The primary goal of this guide is to provide organizations, agencies and individual teachers with a framework and building blocks for creating programs that will: inspire a love of learning; and equip Black youth with the awareness, access and ability to further their education in whatever way they choose.
Series: WWestNet’s The bottom line
The lead article in this issue deals with WWestnet’s conference, “Measuring Success: International Comparisons and Bottom Lines,” held in Calgary in June 2005. Another article discusses a conference on Essential Skills (ES) and the Northern oil and gas workforce, held in Yellowknife in May 2005.
Other articles deal with English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in Manitoba; the release of new Essential Skills profiles by the federal government; resources for Essential Skills practitioners; assessing workplace readiness; and the need to make skilled trades a desirable career choice.
Series: Best Practices - CWS
Authors: Canadian Auto Workers
This case study looks at an eight-hour adjustment course designed by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union to help workers prepared for the impending closure of Ford’s assembly plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, in 2011.
The goal of adjustment is to help workers make the transition towards whatever is next, and that varies from one worker to another, the authors note. For most, a new job is an urgent priority, but others may be looking at retirement, while many will consider retraining. Access to services and information well before the actual closure can help workers make better choices.
The course, delivered on paid time to all workers, covers the fundamentals of plant closures and adjustment in the current labour market. Key components include a review of the closure agreement and its provisions; information about the labour market; and a review of both regular and special Employment Insurance benefits, as well as services available through Employment Ontario.
In addition, the course is designed to help workers recognize the skills and abilities they have already and could transfer to future jobs, and to understand and deal with the impact of the layoff on social, emotional and physical health.
The course also includes a “snapshot” of workers’ needs to help the adjustment committee and action centre prioritize and plan programs and services.
CAW members at Ford St. Thomas were also able to take advantage of the Labour Market Readiness Certificate, a program offered by the union in partnership with the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton. The program includes a series of after-hours courses designed to sharpen such basic skills as writing and computer use; enhance understanding of the local labour market; and explore supports to manage the transition into training and re-employment.