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Our Mission Statement:
The Centre for Family Literacy builds, develops and improves literacy with families and communities.


Establishing Adult Literacy Benchmarks in Alberta

Consistent and reliable assessment tools and measures of learner progress are important to adult literacy programs. “Establishing Alberta Adult Literacy Benchmarks”, a multi-year project funded by Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, was created in 2010 based on the key Priority Actions of the Government of Alberta plan for foundational learning called “Living Literacy: A Literacy Framework for Alberta’s Next Generation Economy”. The Centre for Family Literacy is on the Advisory Committee, led by Bow Valley College, along with the Community Learning Network, Literacy Alberta, Northern Lakes College, Advanced Education and Technology, and Employment and Immigration.

There are two primary objectives of this project: to establish a provincial system of adult reading levels, or benchmarks, and to provide key supports for their implementation. The first stage was to explore the work undertaken by other provinces that have already established benchmarks. Once this information was compiled, input was sought from various literacy practitioners throughout the province, representing Alberta’s diversity of programs and people using them.

Practitioners of a variety of programs including volunteer tutor, community adult learning, family literacy, and aboriginal literacy, as well as community colleges, were consulted, and their feedback has formed the framework for the project outcomes. The most consistent messages that emerged from these dialogues were the need for a simple format, clear language and progression between levels, practical and relevant examples at each level, and around six levels total. From the research undertaken on other provincial benchmarks and the needs of Alberta learners and facilitators, the committee adopted a six-level matrix based on IALS (International Adult Literacy Survey).

The focus of this project is now on developing a curriculum that will support these benchmarks, including the adaption of existing materials, tools and resources, and the production of new ones. Ultimately, this curriculum will give learners in literacy programs meaningful information about their reading skill levels, providing them with a way of understanding and measuring their own progress. It will also ensure that those delivering the programs will have the training, information and resources they need to implement these benchmarks and support their adult learners.

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