Literacy as Numbers

On June 17th the International symposium on Literacy as Numbers was held in London, England to address the fact that
"Large-scale enumerative projects of literacy assessment are increasingly global in scope and impacting on educational policy and practice."
Here is a video of Mary Hamilton introducing the symposium.

Canada was represented by Tannis Atkinson, Richard Darville, Christine Pinsent-Johnson and Audrey Gardner.

Here is something from Richard's abstract that you might relate to:
Literacy workers experience reporting requirements aligned with enumerative discourses as ruptured from how they otherwise know the diverse, shape-shifting actualities of literacy learning. Experiences of rupture generate reform proposals for program-level accountability that better represents actual learner gains – especially in confidence and social connectedness. However, within an obdurate regime, critiques of enumeration don't stick, and accountability reform proposals aren't taken up. Reporting arrangements are held in place by their attachments into human resource quantifications and jurisdictional rate competitions, and by their parallel alignment with "management by outcomes."
Here is something from Chritine's abstract that people working in literacy in Ontario will recognize:
For nearly two decades federal policymakers in Canada have overseen a project that involves curricularizing the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), creating a virtual literacy for policy interests, and not teaching and learning. In addition, recent reformulations of the IALS testing initiative are being used to classify learners and redirect literacy policy development in order to focus educational efforts on certain groups of adults over others. Based on these reformulations, work is currently underway to develop and widely market to policymakers a comprehensive IALS derived literacy learning system that includes instruction, assessment and program accountability elements.

Leading the IALS curricular and policy projects are consultants who were directly involved in developing and implementing the IALS. They and others have honed their expertise developing various IALS derived curricular products over the years, such as assessments and a ‘basic skills' curriculum framework, the Essential Skills.
 And something from Tannis' abstract that literacy students might relate to:
This paper uses governmentality analytics to examine the statistical indicators of adult literacy developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and first employed in the 1994 International Adult Literacy Survey. ...Drawing on empirical data from one jurisdiction in an OECD member nation, I outline how adult literacy policies based on these calculations coerce and punish those who are poor or unemployed. I argue that, by disciplining those who are not ‘productive'—even those who are not working because of injury, discrimination or broad economic conditions—these policies construct lack of ‘literacy' as a threat to the population as a whole. Further, the authoritarian mechanisms employed in these policies oblige (Scott, 2005, p. 25) everyone to comply with the narrow OECD definition of what constitutes an acceptably active and productive citizen.
Here are some of the presenters talking about how numbers represent, or not, literacy. You will see Tannis Atkinson at 4:44.


"Understanding how each individual learns is a large facet of the research. Since different approaches work for different students, reading literacy should be taught with an extremely dynamic approach, custom-catered to each type of student."

This is from an article by Trish Underwood called Recent Trends in Literacy and Reading Instruction about some research into teaching reading.

I just thought I'd post it here in case this was news to you :)

Math Lesson

Here is a little math lesson about skills and immigration. And perhaps why immigration will work better for us all than "temporary" foreign worker programs.