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bksb - is it effective?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Debbyron, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Good Morning
    bksb has just hit Australian shores and am researching the effectiveness of using it as diagnostic or assessment of 'gaps'.
    To date I have found the reports do not accurately reflect student levels and of course it is a little more complex as Aus curriculum is quite different to the UK....... the product we have purchased still links to the uk curriculum but supposedely reflects our Aust Core Skills framework, am finding this very inconsistant.
    Is this system still be used widely in the UK? All i can find are advertising sprukes and am very concerned about using only bksb to assess literacy and numeracy levels (working the Vocational training sector with very poor literacy and numeracy as a rule)
    hope someone has a few answers
    kind regards
  2. We have used the initial assessments as a "starting point" when streaming students into the right level for their Functional English/Maths/ICT classes. These decisions are finalised through checking GCSE results and through observation during the first few weeks. There is always a worry that students don't take the assessments seriously and just click at random but I think the feeling is that the results do point us in the right direction mostly. I know that some vocational lecturers use the IA results to highlight possible problem areas in the main qualification as well.
    One day, when GCSE English and Maths results really mean something (ie that students can use their skills in a variety of situations rather than answer the standard GCSE type questions), I think there will be less need for English and Maths Initial Assessments. However, we have had students this year who have a C and above in Maths but who can't get to grips with Functional Maths L2 at all. Similarly, a student went for an interview with the Royal Navy (with a C in English) but his performance in their own literacy test was such that he was instructed to come back to College and enrol immediately onto a L2 Functional English course so that he could show that he was making every effort to improve his basic skills before they would accept him!!! Oh and his Literacy IA result was L1 - probably just about right.
    Finally, we go with BKSB as they are reliable, the results transfer automatically onto our system and also they seem to be the most "functional" assessments around - which is what we need.

  3. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    I like the BKSB and have found it to be effective. It gives a good indicator of learner's current level and is easy to follow and produces reliable results.
  4. its as good as it gets, its the best ive used, although still not accurate as such. the initial assessment indicates the diagnostic level to take, but its not a great indicator as to how functional an individual is with relation to literacy and numeracy.

    the problem is still that GCSE results do not reflect a individuals capabilities.
  5. Afternoon

    Just thought I'd add a quick note that as a Functional Skills (previously Key Skills) Lecturer in the UK, I have found the BKSB assessment informative and certainly an advantage in highlighting certain gaps in English and Maths skills. However, I would also add that I also get my students to write a piece of literature within a set time to ascertain their writing styles and comprehension (as well as grammar, syntax and punctuation) as I don't feel that the BKSB assessment accurately does this. With these two assessments, it certainly gives me anyway a 'heads up' for the learning styles and different teaching required with the start of each academic year. I have been using BKSB assessments, both initial and diagnostic, for the last 8 years.

    I am interested to hear that BKSB has now 'hit' Australian shores as am looking to emigrate to this lovely country and would like to know if such a thing as Functional (and/or Key) skills (English, Maths and ICT) are taught at colleges/universities/TAFE over there as part of vocational courses as they are over here? Could anyone let me know... many thanks, x
  6. Just to clarify the last post, ForSkills is a separate provider to bksb. ForSkills produced the first truly online Functional Skills assessment available in the UK and is now relied upon by many of the top training providers in the UK.
    For more information or a free trial please visit our website forskills.co.uk

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