4: How do I identify LLN skills in learners?

Assessing learner's skills with a generic LLN test will give you results that are unrelated to the skills required on the job.

One way to get some information about learners' skills is to use a self‑assessment tool (based on skills required on the job).

The best way to get a sense of a learner's LLN skills is to observe them performing the LLN skills required on the job.


Use a self-assessment checklist, eg the example below, based on the aspects of the workplace. You can change the content of the list to match the requirements of the workplace.

Self-assessment checklist

Rate yourself on the following tasks:

Answer:  Yes (I can do this by myself)           or         No (I need help to do this)


In English?


In my first language?


I can:

Read the time on a clock (analogue or digital)



Use a calculator



Add up the prices of things in my head



Work out how much change I should give (without help from the register)



Know roughly how tall I am in centimetres



Make a guess how much things weigh in kilograms



Use a map to find a place



Look up a phone number in a telephone book or on the internet



Read and understand letters or bills



Take a phone message and write it down accurately



Fill in a form (e.g. timesheet for work)



Write notes, letters or emails



Speak at meetings or in a group



Do my banking



Follow instructions for a task



Order supplies from a list



Analyse the responses to the self-assessment tool and see if there are gaps in the learner' skills and the skills that they will need in the workplace.

Choose a workplace task relevant to the individuals' job ‑ such as taking a customer order (which requires accurate listening and note-taking skills) or perhaps calculating the space needed to store four boxes based on the dimensions of one box (which requires calculation and spatial visualisation skills).

From observing a trainee carrying out a number of LLN tasks related to their work you could build a picture of their confidence and competence with the range of LLN skills required on the job.

You should use this process to identify any skills gaps and then assist the trainee to revise and develop any weak skills.

A range of additional strategies for assessing a learner's LLN needs can be found in Literacy Face to Face, a resource for volunteer literacy tutors, NSW TAFE, 2006.