Foundation Skills Framework

The Foundation Skills Framework, developed by the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy at Penn State in coordination with workforce development partners and stakeholders, provides a common language and understanding of workforce preparation—or foundation—skills.  Through the use of the Framework, professionals and students alike gain a more clear understanding of the basic skills, and competencies adults need to obtain and retain jobs and advance to higher-paying jobs.  The Framework, visually represented as a wheel, has been used to build and plan workforce preparation and workforce education programs, help learners to set goals, develop curriculum and provide instruction, and informally document foundation skills achievement.

Foundation Skills Framework Resources Guide

Post-COVID Workforce Preparation Activity IdeasThe activities can be adapted to be used with varying levels of learners while instructing face to face or from a distance.

Foundation Skills Framework and Career and College Readiness Standards Alignment

This is an image of the foundations skills framework wheel.

The Foundations Skills Framework Wheel

  • Career Information Checklists aligned to the Foundation Skills Framework – This document provides a suggested alignment of each activity in the Career Information Checklists to the Foundation Skills Framework. Teachers can use this to aid in contextualizing instruction to individual learner career goals.
  • Foundation Skills Competency List – Detailed lists of competencies that were identified for each foundation skill to provide a structure to 10 identify specific areas to target in programs, 2) help students to set realistic and measurable goals, and 3) record and document progress and achievement.
  • Foundation Skills Self-Appraisal – Students self-assess their foundation skills and competencies to identify specific areas of strength and need. The results can be used to set learning goals, guide instruction, and informally assess progress.
  • Foundation Skills Program Checklist – Programs can use this checklist to assess which work-based foundation skills they currently address and should address in specific program areas of the agency.
  • Foundation Skills Rubric A guide to help ABLE practitioners to develop and use a scoring guide (rubric) to describe, observe, and document performance of the foundation skills and competencies on a continuum from “beginner” to “competent.”  *Note: The wheel and competency lists were updated in 2016, and the revisions are not reflected in this publication.

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