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American Literacy

Just released:
A First Look at the literacy of America’s Adults (12/15/2005)
This report provides a “first look” at the literacy skill levels of the nation’s adults in 2003. It includes results by various background characteristics (such as gender, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment) as well as information on changes in adult literacy performance between 1992 and 2003.
Some highlights:
– The National Assessment of Adult Literacy 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.
– African Americans scored higher in 2003 than in 1992 in all three categories, increasing 16 points in quantitative, eight points in document and six points in prose literacy. Overall, adults have improved in document and quantitative literacy with a smaller percentage of adults in 2003 in the Below Basic category compared to 1992.
– Whites, African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders have improved in all three measures of literacy with a smaller percentage in 2003 in the Below Basic category compared to 1992.
– Hispanic adults showed a decrease in scores for both prose and document literacy and a higher percentage in the Below Basic category.
– The report also showed that 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.
– White adults’ scores were up nine points in quantitative, but were unchanged in prose and document literacy.
– Hispanic adults’ scores declined in prose and document literacy 18 points and 14 points, respectively, but were unchanged in quantitative literacy.
– Asian/Pacific Islanders’ scores increased 16 points in prose literacy, but were unchanged in document and quantitative literacy.
– Among those who spoke only Spanish before starting school, scores were down 17 points in prose and document literacy between 1992 and 2003.
This is the sort of data that can be compared to the data in the Normative Data Project and the role of library strategies can be improved.

Posted on: December 18, 2005, 10:26 am Category: Uncategorized

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