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Tacit skills, personal competences and learning success through tutor-supported self-evaluation Karen Evans and Natasha Kersh Institute of Education, University of London

The TLRP Project on Tacit Skills and Knowledge, part of the TLRP Network on Improving Incentives to Learning in the Workplace, developed an innovative approach to tutor-supported self-evaluation (TSSE), with the aim of supporting learners towards the intentional evaluation of their personal competences. Our target groups were initially learners over the age of 19 with interrupted occupational or learning careers, who embark on various courses in colleges of further education with the purpose of returning to work or learning. Most of them have experienced career or education breaks at different stages of their lives and their social and educational backgrounds were varied. They often did not value the personal or tacit skills and competences that they had acquired from their life experiences because they felt that these skills are not recognised by others such as prospective or current employers. Additionally, they often lacked confidence in their abilities.

There is good reason to think that these patterns apply equally to many learners younger than 19, recognizing that they too have many and varied life experiences that are often undervalued and go unrecognized. (Evans, 2002). Moreover, recent work sponsored by OECD is showing how human capacities for self-monitoring develop most strongly in late adolescence and through the twenties. This suggests that supporting learners in the kinds of activities we outline below can best be started in 16-19 phase and built on subsequently through further and higher education or work.

We have been collaborating with several colleges of further education in London to develop methods of tutor supported self-evaluation. Some of these ideas have also been explored with 16-19 year olds in a related NRDC project, Supporting successful outcomes with literacy, numeracy and other key skills in Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships. This explored unsatisfactory achievement in literacy, numeracy and the wider key skills within Modern Apprenticeships.

One approach to improving performance has been to concentrate literacy, numeracy and wider key skills support, either intensively at the beginning of a modern apprenticeship or on a pre-modern apprenticeship programme. These approaches are described as front-end delivery models in contrast to programmes where key skills are introduced later on in programmes or are scarcely taught at all. Some good practice examples have successfully used approaches based on similar principles to those of tutor-supported self evaluation.


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