Implications for Adult Educators of the "SCANS" Report

What Work Requires of Schools - The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills

U.S. Department of Labor, June 1991

Seeking employment or better employment is a major motivation of California's adult learners. The Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) examined the demands of the workplace and whether adult students are capable of meeting those demands. The following three foundation skills and five competencies were identified as a result of discussions and meetings among business owners, public employers, unions, and workers in shops, plants, and stores.

The Commission ascertained that half of the people entering the workplace lack the knowledge and foundation required to find and hold a good job. The eight requirements listed below (foundation skills and competencies) lie at the heart of successful job performance and should be incorporated into a sound adult education instructional program.

Three-Part Foundation Skills

  1. Basic Skills
    • reading
    • writing
    • arithmetic/mathematics
    • listening
    • speaking
  2. Thinking Skills
    • creative thinking (creates new ideas)
    • decision making (chooses best alternative, based on facts)
    • problem solving (recognizes problem; creates and completes a plan of action)
    • reasoning (uses logic to draw conclusions)§
    • knowing how to learn (uses efficient learning techniques)
    • seeing things in the mind's eye (understands charts, symbols, pictures, etc.)
  3. Personal Qualities
    • responsibility (works hard to attain a goal)
    • self esteem (believes in own self-worth)
    • sociability (gets along well with people)
    • self-management (self-planning and control)
    • integrity and honesty (chooses the right thing to do)

Five Competencies

  1. Resources (uses each wisely)
    • time
    • materials and facilities
    • personnel
  2. Interpersonal Skills
    • works well with others
    • teaches others new skills
    • serves clients or customers
    • works with people of diverse backgrounds
    • acts as leader
  3. Uses Information
    • acquires and evaluates information
    • organizes and maintains information
    • analyzes and communicates information
    • uses computers to do above steps
  4. Works With Systems
    • understands how systems work (organizational, technological, social)
    • works within the system improves and designs systems
  5. Technology
    • selects the right technology for the task
    • uses technology to complete tasks
    • maintains and trouble shoots technology

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