Saturday, January 10, 2009

Statistics just released by NCES show 1 in 7 American adults lack Basic Reading Skills

On Thursday, January 8th, the National Center for Education Statistics released State by State estimates and projections of Adult Literacy. The data shows that 1 in 7 American adults lack basic reading skills.  The data was compiled through the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). 

The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) assessed the English literacy skills of a nationally representative sample of 18,500 U.S. adults (age 16 and older) residing in private households. NAAL is the first national assessment of adult literacy since the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). The NAAL and NALS produced direct estimates of Prose, Document, and Quantitative literacy, each reported on a 0 to 500 scale and on four performance levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient based on this scale. 

The county and state indirect estimates themselves are provided at the NAAL website The measure chosen for the indirect estimation is the percentage of adults lacking Basic prose literacy skills (BPLS). The literacy of adults who lack BPLS ranges from being unable to read and understand any written information in English to being able to locate easily identifiable information in short, commonplace prose text, but nothing more advanced.

It should be noted that adults who were not able to take the assessment because they were not able to communicate in English or Spanish (i.e. language barrier cases) are included in the indirect estimates and classified as lacking BPLS because they can be considered to be at the lowest level of English literacy.

What do YOU think? Have any of you experienced this in your local communities? Post a comment and let's discuss this...

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