These are adults who in many cases have bought homes, are raising children and drive cars, all stressful and difficult activities. Yet when required to put pen to paper their confidence evaporates because of deep-seated insecurities regarding previous testing and schooling. If this is the result of the regime of tests and and targets in schools targets then FE is simply becoming a drop-off point for the losers in this game and we are supposed to pick them up again.
Not everyone can take tests and many who fail feel like failures. The national tests of course are designed to assess ability. But, as we know, ability develops at different rates: so many children are tested when they are simply not up to it. You seem to be suggesting that your role is becoming more of a psychologist or care-worker and I can believe it. That many are prepared to have another go at education is positive but I can sympathise with your anger at being the net in this game.