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​​​The Essential Adult Skills Initiative

Core skills such as literacy, numeracy and problem solving are critical to success in today's workplace and in life. Yet, concern over whether postsecondary graduates lack these essential skills is growing.

To gain a better understanding of the situation, HEQCO is piloting an international test that will attempt to evaluate core skills in first-year and graduating college and university students in Ontario. The Essential Adult Skills Initiative (EASI) marks the first time such a test has been administered in Canada at the postsecondary level.

The project will use the internationally recognized Education and Skills Online assessment, an assessment tool of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The first phase of the EASI pilot will test 350 first-year students at 11 colleges in Ontario. In the second phase, the test will be administered to a similar number of graduating college students. A similar pilot for universities will follow. The results will evaluate the feasibility of the test and provide a glimpse into whether students' literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills have improved over the course of their postsecondary studies.

One measure won't answer all the questions about graduates' skills acquisition, but it is an important first step.

For more information about EASI click here or read the 2016/2017: Status Report.