Following its review of English and maths provision for adults, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published its English and maths action plan in New Challenges, New Chances.
One of the key actions is to run a pilot with a small group of colleges and training providers in 2012/13. The pilot will explore and determine how skills gained - or "distance travelled" - in English and maths can be assessed and measured, and make recommendations to the BIS and the Skills Funding Agency on how providers could be funded on the basis of the distance each learner has travelled.
The BIS and the Skills Funding Agency would like colleges and providers to contribute so they can draw on their knowledge and understanding.
Six Pathfinder pilots
To enable this, the BIS and SFA would like to establish up to six Pathfinder pilots across England, working with the AELP, AOC and others. It's envisaged that each pilot will comprise up to three providers.
Aim of the pathfinders
- To identify how existing assessment tools can be used to capture a learner’s starting point
- To determine how suitable they might be as a means of capturing "distance travelled"
- To consider how they interrelate with the qualifications being taken
- To test and evaluate the use and impact of suitable tools
- To make recommendations on the most appropriate way of ensuring integrity in the assessment process
- To consider ways in which "distance travelled" can be used to incentivise the way provision is funded, taking into account wider developments in order to ensure sustainability in whatever approach is recommended.
Steering group will oversee the pilots
The work and progress of the pilots will be overseen by a steering group, chaired by the BIS and the Agency, made up of representatives from each Pathfinder group, AELP and other representative bodies, LSIS and other stakeholders.
The steering group will be asked to review the findings, provide ongoing scrutiny and challenge and help shape the conclusions and recommendations. Alongside this, the BIS will commission an independent evaluator to work with each of the pilots to ensure the necessary data, feedback and ideas are captured and evaluated.
What will be required from participants
Being a participant will require you (providers) to share your findings and views with the evaluator and to provide information and data from management systems – although all findings and conclusions will remain anonymous. The evaluator will report emerging findings to the steering group.
It would be helpful if participating providers were those that already use an assessment tool that could be included in the pilot, or who would be prepared to introduce the use of a new tool as part of the pilot. The BIS and SFA are particularly keen to identify a range of suitable tools to use across the pathfinders, and to ensure that there is a sufficient mix among pathfinders both geographically and in terms of the delivery context.
Interested in participating?
If you would like to express an interest in participating in the pilot, please complete the "Distance Travelled" Pilot Programme questions below and email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by 25 June 2012. This will help ensure that an appropriate mix of providers is involved. The BIS and the Agency plan to hold a half-day workshop with the pathfinders and others to coincide with the launch the pathfinders at the start of September 2012.
Would you like further information?
If you would like more information and would like to discuss this further, please email email@example.com.
"Distance Travelled" Pilot Programme
If you're interested in participating, please complete the following questions and email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by 25 June 2012.
- Name of organisation and contact details
- Location and catchment area
- Briefly describe the method and tools you currently use to provide initial and diagnostic assessments to learners to determine the English and maths course they enrol on. Can these be used for the pilot or would you be prepared to introduce a new tool?
- Briefly provide a summary of how you would like to approach this pilot including your ideas on measuring "distance travelled" based on the objectives set out here.
- Please provide the following information about your English and maths provision:
- Approximate size / mix of your provision, including learner cohort (learner characteristics)
- What qualifications you currently deliver, including breakdown by level
- What qualifications you plan to deliver in the coming academic year 2012/13 (including by level if different from above).