23 SES 13 A, Adult Literacies and the Effects of Comparative Performance Measurements: Local, National, Global
This paper argues that enactment of the outcome measurements used by the OECD and the EU to assess literacy skills is always incomplete because they are interpreted at both the national (state) level and also at the local level. It will use Scotland as a case study to show that, although there are ambiguities in the overarching policy goals of literacy provision, the Scottish outcomes policy uses a human capital argument to emphasize the negative impact of individuals with weak literacies skills on Scotland’s economy (Scottish Government, 2012). This tends to drive a ‘teaching curriculum’ (Lave & Wenger, 1991) that prioritises narrow employment skills-focused learning that does not respect learners’ own goals. However, policy making is implemented at the local level with a history tied to particular individuals and agencies that have their own views of what is appropriate. This has enabled some practitioners to continue to put learners’ goals at the heart of their programmes. This is also supported at the national level by an overall commitment to ‘fairness’. However, the dominance of the current financial and accountability regime is making these wider goals more difficult to achieve.
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