A Successful Journey
Researched and written by: Nicholas Johns and Debra Parker, Flexible Learning Victoria (FLV)
Defining the measures of success for young people in flexible learning programs
We acknowledge the Elders, their families and forebears of both clans of the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri tribes of the Kulin Nation, who are the Traditional Custodians of Melbourne land for many centuries. We acknowledge that the land on which we work is the place of age old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal and that the Kulin Nation peoples continuous living culture has played a significant and unique role in the life of this region.
This research was enabled by the funding provided as part of the Leading Practice and Leading Change in Youth Education project funded by the Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board Capacity and Innovation Fund (CAIF) Round 7 funding. Many people have contributed to its successful completion.
We would like to thank all the flexible learning programs in southern metropolitan Melbourne that agreed to be surveyed, interviewed, write a case study or take part in a focus group.
I (Nick Johns) would like to thank Debra Parker for setting the scene for this research. Her detailed completion of the research design stage and initial literature review as the first Flexible Learning Victoria (FLV) Project Manager initiated the project. She has continued to provide a detailed eye to proof read draft versions of the document, which has proved indispensable.
Special thanks goes to Louisa Ellum for providing direction and informal supervision for the whole research project. Special thanks also go to Sharon Clifford for extensive proof reading of each chapter and Will Mahon from Atticus Design for graphic design.
The research has been generously project managed by the Bayside Glen Eira Kingston Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN). We have appreciated the collegiality and support of staff in this office, particularly the support of Executive Officer Brendan OConnell. They have been a great sounding board when a second opinion was needed.
Lastly, we would like to thank the FLV Steering Committee members for their input and the Consortium members for their oversight of the research, including Ben Vasiliou (SkillsPlus), Chris Dickons (Melbourne City Mission), John Catto-Smith (Brotherhood of St Laurence) and Tina Bampton (Narre Community Learning Centre).
Creative Commons licence This publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence is a standard form license agreement that allows you to copy, distribute, and transmit this publication provided that you attribute the work. The reference for attribution is below.
A summary of the licence terms is available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/deed.en. The full licence terms are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/legalcode
Please cite as: Johns, N. and Parker, D. (2017). A Successful Journey: Defining the measures of success for young people in flexible learning programs. Melbourne: Bayside Glen Eira Kingston LLEN.
Design and illustration by Atticus Design atticusdesign.com.au
A Successful Journeyii iii
Table of Figures
16 Figure 1 Type of FLP Respondent Worked In
17 Figure 2 Role of Respondents
17 Figure 3 Number of Years Worked in Flexible Learning Programs/ Schools
18 Figure 4 Measures of Success Used by FLPs
18 Figure 5 Measures of Success Ranked by Perceived Importance by FLP Staff
31 Figure 6 FLPs Involving Young People in Measuring Success
33 Figure 7 Enabling Success for Young People in FLPs
Table of Case Studies
21 Case Study 1 Social Wellbeing
22 Case Study 2 Personal Wellbeing
23 Case Study 3 Engagement and Participation
24 Case Study 4 Attendance
26 Case Study 5 Academic Achievement/Certification
28 Case Study 6 Post-program Destination
29 Case Study 7 Community Engagement
Table of Abbreviations
ACFE Adult and Community Further Education
ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder
ATAR Australian Tertiary Admission Rank
COAG Council of Australian Governments
DEECD Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
DET Department of Education and Training
EO Executive Officer
FLP Flexible Learning Program
FLV Flexible Learning Victoria
ILP Individual Learning Plan
LLEN Local Learning and Employment Network
NAPLAN National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy
PISA Programme for International Student Assessment
SBAT School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship
TAFE Technical and Further Education
VCAL Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning
VCE Victorian Certificate of Education
VET Vocational Education and Training
VETiS Vocational Education and Training in Schools
Table of Contents
1 Executive Summary
9 Literature Review
9 Defining Measures of Success
10 Measuring Success for Young People in Flexible Learning Programs
12 Research Participants
12 Data Collection
12 Survey of Flexible Learning Providers
13 Focus Group
13 Telephone Interviews
13 Case Study Collation
13 Limitations of Research
16 The Stakeholder Survey respondent overview
19 Measuring Success how its done and whats considered important
20 WELLBEING Personal Wellbeing and Social Wellbeing
23 ENGAGING WITH THE PROGRAM Engagement and Participation in the Program and Attendance
25 ACADEMIC OUTCOMES Academic Improvement, Certification and Skill Development
27 COMMUNITY CONNECTION Community Engagement and Post-program Destinations
30 Tools Used for Measuring and Recording Success
32 Discussion & Considerations
34 Considerations for action
A Successful Journeyiv 1Executive Summary
The A Successful Journey: Defining the measures of success for young people in flexible learning programs research
report was carried out from January 2016 to February 2017. This research was completed by Flexible Learning Victoria (FLV), a project created in October 2015 under
the Leading Practice and Leading Change in Youth Education project funded by the Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board. Consortium members
overseeing the project are SkillsPlus (Lead), Narre Community Learning Centre, Melbourne City Mission and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, with project management by the Bayside Glen Eira Kingston LLEN (BGKLLEN).
Young people in Flexible Learning Programs (FLPs) have often experienced significant trauma and have complex barriers to learning. As such, standard measures of success, such as completing Year 12, are largely insufficient. FLPs therefore define and measure success differently. The purpose of this research was to explore and define how providers of FLPs measure the success of the young people who attend their programs. It aimed to answer the question
What are the measures of success for young people participating in alternative and flexible learning organisations in southern metropolitan Melbourne?.
The research was limited to the collection of data from FLPs within the southern metropolitan Melbourne region and was informed by data collected in four overlapping phases:
1. Survey of FLPs in southern metropolitan Melbourne: an online survey was distributed to approximately thirty FLPs. There were 73 survey responses received, representing at least thirteen providers in the region.
2. Focus Group Interview: Seven members of the FLV Steering Committee took part in a focus group. Questions were designed to stimulate in-depth information regarding measuring success in FLPs and to clarify data queries from the survey stage.
3. Telephone Interviews: Eight FLPs were selected and approached to take part in phone interviews. Program managers were invited to be interviewed or to nominate an interviewee. Four questions were asked regarding measuring success in FLPs in conversations lasting 2030 minutes.
4. Case Study Collation: Eight FLPs were invited to write a case study of approximately 300500 words in length regarding a young person who had experienced success in their setting. Each FLP was allocated a measure of success to base the case study on, based on data from the survey and focus group. Seven case studies were completed and then edited for inclusion in the final report.
A Successful Journey2 A Successful Journey 3
Research Findings and ConsiderationsThe research report identified seven key areas that require further consideration:
Broadening the definition and measures of success beyond the traditional academic measures is clearly in the best interests of young people. For staff working in FLPs, their ability to view a variety of outcomes as a success enabled them to look beyond the usual paradigm of judging success solely by academic measures. This was particularly significant for young people going through personal difficulties who were facing academic challenges. A more holistic approach to measuring success creates positives outcomes for disadvantaged young people, enabling them to experience success in education, often for the first time in many years.
1 Raise the profile of and funding for wellbeing measures, including investing in the development of s