|Evaluation of the front end delivery of basic skills in modern apprenticeships (Completed)|
This is an evaluation report of a development project which explored different models of delivering literacy, numeracy and other key skills within apprenticeships (formally known as Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships).
This project followed concern about unsatisfactory achievement in literacy, numeracy and other key skills within apprenticeships. Knowledge of existing practice amongst providers indicated that many centres had regarded literacy, numeracy and other key skills as ‘a chore’ and had been leaving them until late in the programme. Between May and December 2003, the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) led a development project which set out to try out ways of making such skills a higher and more integral priority from the beginning of programmes.
The project trialled a range of models in eight centres, chosen to cover a range of vocational areas and different geographical locations. Literacy, numeracy and other key skills were delivered precourse, or early in the apprenticeship programme and all addressed activities such as: preparation of the trainers for key skills support; development of initial and diagnostic assessment and individual training plans; development of ‘front-end’ provision; and preparation of learners for test-based assessment and for their portfolios.
The NRDC evaluation of the LSDA project was carried out through semi-structured interviews, observation of classroom practice and interviews/focus groups with learners. The researchers also collected factual data on each project and quantitative data about each cohort of learners.
This evaluation report describes and analyses the key findings, looking at pedagogy, and its effect on retention and engagement, assessment approaches, the background and training of teachers, and last but not least the responses from learners. The report paints a picture of the issues involved in achieving a practical whole organisation commitment to literacy, numeracy, and other key skills being delivered as a significant and integral part of Modern Apprenticeship programmes.
“This was a textbook example of effective joint working to solve a pressing problem. Diagnosis by the ALI, proposing a way forward, followed up by the DfES, LSDA and keen providers, and authoritatively evaluated by researchers, is a pattern through which the creases in apprenticeships are being progressively ironed out.”
David Sherlock, Chief Inspector of Adult Learning ‘Talisman’ November 2004
The evaluation study found that: