Adult Literacy

 The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released Thursday its assessment of adult literacy in the U.S., a report the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) calls, "the most comprehensive look at the state of literacy among the U.S. population since 1992."

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) in its press release noted,
five percent of U.S. adults, about 11 million people, were termed "nonliterate" in English, meaning interviewers could not communicate with them or that they were unable to answer a minimum number of questions.
and overall,
found little change between 1992 and 2003 in adults' ability to read and understand sentences and paragraphs or to understand documents such as job applications.
The assessment defines literacy as "using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential." NAAL uses three categories to define English-language literacy: prose (e.g., understanding newspaper articles), document (e.g., understanding prescription drug labels) and quantitative (e.g., computing and comparing the cost per ounce of food items).

A First Look at the Literacy of America's Adults in the 21st Century
(The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, available in pdf, 1.7MB, from NCES)

Key Concepts and Features of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy
(describes the assessment's key features and data types and reviews key elements carried over from the 1992 assessment; available in pdf, 1.6MB, from NCES)



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