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Assessment for Foundation Learning: The importance of purposeful assessment in adult literacy, numeracy and language courses

The purpose of this research study is to contribute to an understanding of what is required to enhance the assessment capability of tertiary education providers of learning in literacy, numeracy, and language.

The research began with the development of six broad principles of good assessment practice in foundation learning settings. These principles were derived from the relevant research literature combined with ideas expressed by key informants in the sector. The principles provided a framework for examining current assessment practice, in terms of initial/diagnostic assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment, in 12 diverse foundation-learning settings.

Case studies include two work-based programmes, courses that provide individualised and group literacy tuition, a cadetship programme, an ESOL course for refugees and migrants, and a TOPS/Youth Training course.

Three workshops, attended by practitioners, policy makers, and researchers, constituted the final stage of the research. They provided a forum for feedback on the draft principles and on the initial analysis of the assessment practice within the case study programmes.

The workshops also enabled dialogue about possible strategies that could be used to inform and improve assessment practice.

Full and summary reports are available here


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Publication type: 
Research report
NZCER, for Tertiary Education Learning Outcomes Policy (Learning for Living), Ministry of Education,
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