This report is based on Skills for Life data for the FE sector only, in the period 2000/01-2006/07, and is principally concerned with those Skills for Life learners whose first enrolments and achievement of learning aims in the period were at entry level or level 1, and who progressed to enrolments and achievements at a higher level.
This work originated from a previous QIA project, Motivating Skills for Life Learners to Persist, Progress and Achieve. A question raised in that project was how long, on average, it takes a Skills for Life learner to gain a level in literacy, numeracy or ESOL. Within the constraints of that project it was impossible to add to an estimate drawn from research in the US that 100 hours of instruction is the minimum required to progress by one General Education Development (GED) Test level.1 On the basis of the US finding, NCSALL and NRDC estimated that this implies learners require on average at least 150 hours of time on task (including not only instruction but all learning-related activity) to progress one level within the SfL qualifications framework.
In order to improve our understanding of this estimate, it was agreed with both LSIS and DIUS (now BIS) that we should use records from the Individual Learner Record (ILR) databases covering the years 2000/01 to 2006/07 and use ‘fuzzy matching’ techniques to gain some insights into how long Skills for Life learners in the UK take to gain a level of skill.