We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Evaluation of the Scottish Adult Literacy and Numeracy (ALN) Strategy - Final Report

Listen

CHAPTER THREE: LEARNER CHARACTERISTICS

In this section a comparison is made between the characteristics of the first and second samples in order to identify the nature of the sample and the differences between the two cohorts. The changes in work status of the 393 learners that participated in both interviews is then reported on.

Learner Characteristics: Comparison with the First Interview Sample

3.1 The first sample comprised six hundred and thirteen learners and it was possible to re-interview 393 of these learners or 64%. Table 3.1 shows the numbers interviewed in each Partnership area in the first and second samples.

Table 3.1: A comparison of the first and second samples by Partnership

Partnership

First Sample
(Frequency)

Second Sample
(Frequency)

1

37

26

2

28

15

3

37

38

4

111

80

5

68

48

6

108

71

7

57

34

8

84

49

9

65

32

Totals

613

393

3.2 The samples were compared by gender (62% female and 38% male in both interviews), ethnicity (92% white British 1 st interview, 88% 2 nd interview), age distribution and the only significant differences were that there were fewer learners in the under 21 age group in the second interview. This is because this age group was the most difficult to contact due to their frequent changes of address and telephone numbers. Chart 3.1 shows the differences in age distribution.

Chart 3.1: A comparison of the first and second samples by age

Chart 3.1: A comparison of the first and second samples by age

Programme Characteristics: Comparison with the First Interview Sample

3.3 The two samples were also compared to see if it had come from the same types of provision. Below the two samples are compared by type of provider, learning location, type of programme and programme arrangement. As can be seen from charts 3.2 and 3.3, slightly fewer learners were re-interviewed whose programmes were provided by FE Colleges and there was some variation in the learning location with slightly fewer learners in community centres and slightly more in schools.

Chart 3.2: A comparison of the first and second samples by type of provider

Chart 3.2: A comparison of the first and second samples by type of provider

3.4 Non- FE provision comprises programmes provided by the local authorities' community learning and development departments based mainly in community centres or other education premises such as schools, other local authority provision provided by libraries and social work departments, the voluntary sector, including the WEA and Youth Work Agencies, private providers based in work places and prisons. Details of the percentage of provision that took place in these locations are provided in chart 3.3 below.

Chart 3.3: A comparison of the first and second samples by learning location

Chart 3.3: A comparison of the first and second samples by learning location

3.5 Chart 3.4 below shows the type of programme in which learners participated. The category 'other' includes provisions such as 'Basic Computing', which involved a range of learning that incorporated literacy and numeracy as well as computing skills. The variation between the samples is mainly because the younger age group was more likely to be studying in FE and these were the most difficult group to re-contact due to their moving from their original address and no longer using the same mobile phone number.

Chart 3.4: A comparison of the first and second samples by type of programme

Chart 3.4: A comparison of the first and second samples by type of programme

3.6 The final chart in this section shows the programme arrangement. Provision of learning opportunities was either dedicated, that is its sole focus was on literacy/numeracy or integrated, where literacy/numeracy was offered in courses such as First Aid or as part of a vocational course in, for example Hairdressing, where the subject matter may be the learners' first concern. Integrated programmes are more likely to be offered in FE Colleges and so the differences in programme arrangement detailed in chart 3.5 are the result of a smaller sample of learners from this setting.

Chart 3.5: A comparison of the first and second samples by programme arrangement

Chart 3.5: A comparison of the first and second samples by programme arrangement

Changes between the first and second interviews

3.7 In order to see if the respondents had changed any of their circumstances between the first and second interviews they were asked about their marital status, their living arrangements and their work status. There were changes in work status where more learners were working full time and fewer were registered unemployed. The 'not employed' category in Chart 3.6 includes people who described themselves as 'housewives', those who were in part-time education but not also working and those that were in full time education. DLA refers to people who were in receipt of disability or incapacity benefits.

Chart 3.6: A comparison of the first and second samples by work status

Chart 3.6: A comparison of the first and second samples by work status

3.8 Details of these positive changes in status are provided below in table 3.2. As can be seen respondents have moved from unemployment into employment, from part time into full time employment, from FE into employment and from community based provision into FE provision. The individual that moved from FE into a University course had been involved in ALN provision for over 10 years and had been receiving help with numeracy in an FE College before gaining her University place.

Table 3.2: Positive changes

1 st round

2nd round

Frequency

Not employed/reg. unemployed

Part-time employed

13

FE College

Full-time employed

13

Non- FE provision

FE College

9

Part-time employed

Full-time employed

7

Not employed/reg. unemployed

Full-time employed

5

FE College

Part-time employed

2

FE College

University

1

3.9 For some respondents there had been negative changes in status with some moving from full or part-time employment into unemployment as detailed in table 3.3 below.

Table 3.3: Negative changes

1st round

2nd round

Frequency

Part-time employed

Not employed/reg. unemployed

7

Full-time employed

Not employed/reg. unemployed

6

FE College

Not employed/reg. unemployed

4

Full-time employed

Part-time employed

3

Summary

3.10 The personal and programme characteristics of the 613 learners who took part in the first interview and the 393 who took part in the second interview were compared. The sample was predominantly: female (62% in both rounds), White British (92% 1 st; 88% 2nd), receiving tuition in a non- FE (70% 1 st, 78, 2 nd) setting and taking part in dedicated provision (68%, 1 st, 70%, 2 nd).

3.11 There were marginal differences between the two samples as follows:

  • Fewer were under the age of 21 (17% 1 st, 22% 2 nd)
  • Fewer were studying in integrated programmes
  • Fewer were studying in FE colleges

3.12 Of the 393 learners who were interviewed in both rounds:

  • Fifty (13%) had experienced positive changes in terms of moving into full time or part time employment or moving into FE provision from community-based provision.
  • Twenty (5%) had experienced negative changes by moving from employment into unemployment or from FE into unemployment.

3.13 Further details about individual changes in learners' lives in terms of their personal, family, work, education and public lives are provided in chapter 10 using data from the analysis of the qualitative sample.