This project focuses on best practices in adult literacy and basic education in the Northwest Territories. However we are not the first jurisdiction to try to define them. Our starting point therefore was to examine what is “state of the art” in other parts of the country and the world and build on that work.
In May 1988, the International Reading Association (IRA) passed a Resolution calling for the development and promotion of “standards for volunteer tutoring programs and the training of literacy volunteer tutors” and “evaluation standards for literacy programs”. In its background statement, the IRA acknowledged the contribution of volunteer tutors in literacy work, but stressed the need for well-planned training for them. The IRA attributed the high drop-out rate in part to the lack of qualified tutors and program shortcomings (Thomas, 1989a).
In Canada, work on best practices in adult literacy also began in 1988, when the Executive of the Adult Basic Education Association of BC approved a statement on “Quality Literacy Programs” (Thomas: 1989a). This was followed in 1989 by the development of the Adult Literacy Volunteer Tutor Program Evaluation Kit for the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and the National Literacy Secretariat. Programs can use the kit for self-evaluation or can have someone outside the program use it for an external evaluation. It has four components: