The project explored the amount of progression from adult literacy, language (= ESOL) and numeracy (ALLN) Skills for Life provision which did not count towards the national qualification targets to provision which did count towards those targets. The project aimed to provide both some quantitative facts about the amount of such progression, and some qualitative understanding of the factors influencing it. The quantitative strand was undertaken by a team at the University of Sheffield, and the qualitative strand by researchers at Lancaster University and the Institute of Education, University of London. This is the report of the quantitative strand; for the report of the qualitative strand see Hodge and Koutsoubou (2015).
One implication of the way ‘progression’ was defined for this project needs to be explained immediately. ‘Progression’ might normally be taken to imply movement up the levels of the NQF, but for present purposes policy-makers and administrators were interested in all forms of progression, including movement sideways or even down in terms of NQF levels.
The project was commissioned by the (then) Department for Education and Skills in 2005, and this report was essentially complete by August 2008; the detailed statistical analyses required explain the length of time. To prepare for publication, some further editing was done in November-December 2009 and in March-May 2013.
The analyses in this report cover the period 2000/01 to 2004/05, the academic years for which validated Learning and Skills Council (LSC) data were available at the point when the main analyses were being conducted. The updatings in 2009 and 2013 could not encompass carrying the analyses on from 2004/05 to further academic years; that would have required a great deal of time and further funding, and both of the statisticians who had worked on the project had by then moved on to other work.
The project as a whole was conceived of as having possibly important implications for policy questions relevant to Skills for Life, for example: Was the amount of progression high or low? What factors might influence adult learners to move on, or not? It was commissioned, and early drafts of this report were available, in time for the findings to be considered during the refreshing of the Skills for Life strategy in 2007-08.
The project aimed to provide both some quantitative data about the amount of such progression, and some qualitative understanding of the factors influencing it. This is the report of the quantitative analysis – the qualitative analysis can be found here.