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|A review and exploration of literacy, language and numeracy for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities (Completed)|
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||This exploratory project was designed to gain a detailed picture of literacy and numeracy provision for physically disabled adults with learning and communication difficulties. The aims of the project were: to supplement a recent US literature review on literacy and numeracy for adults with learning difficulties and to carry out a parallel review on literacy and numeracy provision for adults with physical disabilities and/or communication difficulties; to carry out observations of literacy and numeracy teaching and learning provision at Portland College, one of a small number of specialist colleges in England; and to use the outputs from both the literature review and the fieldwork to inform future practice and to develop hypotheses for further investigation.
- The experiences of adult literacy and numeracy learners with physically impairments and of their tutors seem to have been overlooked by the research community. In the light of recent policy developments, legislation and initiatives affecting this group of learners, there is now a pressing need for research in the field.
- The new adult literacy and numeracy frameworks under Skills for Lifehad been introduced at the specialist college, but with limited impact so far on planning. Limited reference was found to these frameworks in relation to the specific literacy and numeracy targets identified in lesson plans and Individual Learning Plans, although most tutors spoke positively about their eventual effectiveness.
- All tutors had received recent literacy training via the Basic Skills Agency, but not all were being offered numeracy training, which was funded internally. However, the priority for the college was to enable those tutors who did not have qualified teacher status to gain qualifications. Training for team leaders and also for support staff would be advantageous.
- Literacy and numeracy was mainly embedded within the curriculum, with some discrete provision at certain levels. Every session observed at the college provided evidence of literacy and/or numeracy development. However, some learners’ perceptions were that little or no literacy or numeracy took place, and others requested further provision.
- Tutors used initial assessment procedures to identify learners’ literacy and numeracy needs, but there was no systematic structure for the ongoing identification of needs. The Databridge system was being used to identify targets and monitor learners’ progress and not all staff were yet fully using this system.
- The majority of learners expressed positive views about their experiences at Portland College, and reported that the tutors were very supportive. They also identified several barriers to learning, including groups being too large and noisy. Some referred to previous tests and examinations taken, and certificates obtained, and noted their current absence.
Note: The first bullet point above refers to a finding from the literature review. The subsequent five points refer to findings from the fieldwork.