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Research report

Adult basic skills

Shona MacLeod and Suzanne Straw

Findings from the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT Education Trust) International Review undertaken to inform continuous improvements in the teaching and learning of adult basic skills. Written and researched by the National Foundation for Educational Research

The International Review Programme comprises six literature reviews which were undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) between September 2009 and May 2010 for Education Development Trust, with the purpose of informing continuous improvements in the teaching and learning of adult basic skills.

In the context of this work, ‘basic skills’ covers the ability to read, write and speak English, and use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society. It also spans basic skills which are acquired for different purposes (such as financial capability) or through different modes of learning (such as work-based learning).

Through reviewing the UK and international evidence, this Education Development Trust-commissioned International Review Programme highlights what approaches are being, and have been, taken to improve adult basic skills. It looks at what works well, and what still needs to be done to increase the ambition, aspiration and achievement of employers, employees, learners and trainees as well as those who make up the potential current and future workforce. This evidence suggests the most effective approaches in terms of improving adults’ basic skills.