Have you heard that ProLiteracy has released its first peer-reviewed, online research journal? Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy will publish research on adult basic and secondary education and transitions into the workplace and higher education twice a year. Research will reflect best practices in adult education to inform practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and funders.
The journal is FREE and available as one document or as separate articles for download. We encourage you to circulate the journal widely to share timely, relevant topics and practices in adult education research.
We are regularly highlighting excerpts from research articles published in the current issue of the journal. This week, we are featuring the article The PIAAC Literacy Framework and Adult Reading Instruction, by Amy R. Trawick.
This article is excerpted (with slight adaptations) from the reports Using the PIAAC Literacy Framework to Guide Instruction: An Introduction for Adult Educators (Trawick, 2017) and Bringing Reading Instruction to Life: Supplement to the Introductory Guide (Trawick, 2018). The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) conducted an international literacy assessment for adults in 2012 and 2014, and this article describes how adult educators can use its literacy framework to frame instruction as well. Key aspects that can guide teaching and learning include a “literacy-in-use” orientation to reading, the definition for “literacy” adopted by the literacy expert group, and how PIAAC operationalized Context, Content, and Cognitive Strategies. A model of contextualized reading instruction is proposed as a way to organize reading instruction.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has invested in international surveys throughout the years, with each assessment including rather detailed information about the skill levels of the adults in the United States. The results of the literacy portion of the latest assessment, the Survey of Adult Skills, give one pause. Though the average score for adults in the United States is not significantly different from the international average in reading literacy (Rampey et al., 2016), the overall average conceals results of great concern:
• A larger percentage of U.S. adults scored in the very lowest levels for reading literacy, compared to the international cohort;
• U.S. adults with less than a high school diploma scored lower than their peers internationally;
• While only 9% of Whites in the U.S. scored at the lowest levels of proficiency, 33% of Blacks and 40% of Hispanics performed at these levels;
• Roughly 75% of unemployed adults (age 16- 65) in the U.S. have less than a high school credential as their highest education level, and a third of these perform at the lowest levels in reading literacy; and
• Adults with the lowest literacy scores were more likely to report a poor health status and more limited civic engagement (Rampey et al., 2016).
This news of how the skills of adults in the United States compare with their peers across the globe comes at a time when the nation is challenged by international economic competition and by a variety of social and political stressors, both at home and on the world stage (Kirsch, Braun, Yamamoto, & Sum, 2007).
You can read and download the full article here.