Why Essential Digital Skills
Developing the country’s digital skills is a key target for the Government and to support with that the Department for Education created standards based on which Pearson’s Essential Digital Skills Qualifications were created. These qualifications have now been live for over a year and many learners have developed their skills and achieved their certificates. The flexibility around the assessments makes them an ideal qualification for all types of learners from mainstream adult learners to ESOL learners and learners with additional academic needs. Some providers use these qualifications at the start of a distance learning programme to ensure that the learners have the requisite skills to access all the course materials.
Lloyd Bank has produced a survey of national Essential Digital Skills levels across the UK for the last four years. It shows that for work-based digital skills 22% of the population are lacking. While this is evenly split across genders this lack of skills is more marked in older age groups. 34% of 55-64 year-olds lack skills needed in the workplace. The same is true for those on lower personal incomes with 25% of those with a personal income of £13,500 - £24,999 lacking digital skills. It goes to show that there is a need for these skills still in the UK and how these qualifications can help people. You can access the full research here:
Changes To The Assessments
At Pearson we are always striving to improve our offer and this is no different for EDSQ. Having talked with customers and looked at the demographics of our learners, we have made a fundamental change to the assessment of EDSQ to help support learners and to encourage successful outcomes.
Each academic year, Pearson produces three assessments at Entry Level and three assessments at Level 1. Each of these assessments have different contexts, some life-based and some work-based. A tutor is allowed to look at the assessor pack prior to the assessment to choose the best context for each learner. It is feasible that within a cohort learners may do different end assessments based on their needs.
Now tutors can have access to a pre-teachable vocabulary list as part of that assessor pack before the assessments to ensure that their learners can fully engage with the contexts they have chosen for the assessment. This adds to the flexibility of the assessments.
What this means is that prior to the assessment, tutors can access the vocabulary list and pre teach that list to the learners. This helps to ensure that the learners can engage fully with the context of the assessment and the language therein. This way learners are not being assessed on their vocabulary, just on their digital skills. This is particularly important for learners with additional academic needs or learners with an ESOL background.
Each assessor guide now contains a list like the one below:
Contextualisation of task
At Level 1 Centres are not permitted to contextualise the tasks to suit their cohorts. Centres may not replace or change the tasks in any way.
Vocabulary associated with the context to the assessment
Tutors/assesors should ensure that learners are prepared in terms of any vocabulary associated with the context of the assessments. In this assessment material, this vocabulary includes:
Bank account, bank statements, cable, different events, holiday, light,location, meaningful, method, organising, page orientation, photographs, printer, reason, recommend, reflection, regarding, remain, requirements, scenario, score, social networking, tablet, tickets, undertake, wi-fi printing, window.
The tutor can then choose to pre-teach this prior to the assessment in any way they like.
To find out more about the Pearson Essential Digital Skills offer our website offers full details of the qualifications and the supporting resources that we offer. You can access the webpage here:
We hope the insight and information in this blog will help you support your EDSQ learners. If you have any further questions, please let us know.
Chris Briggs - Product Manager Post 16 English, Maths and Digital Skills