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Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy


Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy


ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

This special issue explores research, policy and practice that looks at adult literacy education through broader and longer-term lenses. A rich set of articles considers diverse types of learning outcomes and longer-term measurement and evaluation of outcome trajectories. The editors and I hope the special issue -- through its research and viewpoint articles, forum, research digest and technology columns -- offers a rich, cross-national perspective on alternative ways to think about designing, implementing and evaluating adult basic skills education.

Contact: ProLiteracy,

Research Articles

Credibility, Relevance, and Policy Impact in the Evaluation of Adult Basic Skills Programs: The Case of the New Opportunities Initiative in Portugal

J.D. Carpentieri, University College London, Institute of Education; David Mallows, University College London, Institute of Education; José Pedro Amorim, University of Porto, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Centre for Research and Intervention in Education, and Paulo Freire Institute of Portugal

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Adult basic education (ABE) policies aim to help adults improve their literacy, numeracy and information and communications technology skills, as well as their qualifications, often in pursuit of economic gains such as better employment and earnings. The large-scale improvement of skills and qualifications has been referred to as a wicked policy problem, suggesting that it is extremely difficult and perhaps even impossible to achieve success in this policy domain...

Contact: J.D. Carpentieri,; David Mallows,; José Pedro Amorim,;

PIAAC Numeracy Skills and Home Use Among Adult English Learners

Margaret Becker Patterson, Research Allies for Lifelong Learning

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Research on adult English learners (ELs) typically (and appropriately) focuses on language-related skills. However, adult ELs may need numeracy instruction to navigate daily life or understand health information. Little is known about how ELs use numeracy skills at home and connections of skill use with related electronic numeracy skills. The purpose of this paper is to examine numeracy skill levels and home skill use of adult ELs. Employing Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2012/2014 data, the paper begins with...

Contact: Margaret Becker Patterson,

Viewpoint Article

All Together Now: Supporting Immigrants and Refugees Through Collaboration

Jen Vanek, World Education, Inc.; Heide Spruck Wrigley, LiteracyWork International; Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University; and Janet Isserlis, Rhode Island Adult Education Professional Development Center

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

The United States needs strong collaboration among adult educators and all social service agencies that support the linguistic, economic and civic integration of refugees and immigrants. Such collaboration can make possible holistic support required to create linkages between English language education and other non-educational support services. We provide examples of several interagency collaborative projects across the United States. Further, we argue that such collaboration is essential to mitigate the limitations of current adult basic education policy...

Contact: Jenifer Vanek,

Forum: Broadening the Lens on Adult Literacy Education Outcomes

A Lifelong and Life-Wide Framework for Adult Literacy Education

Stephen Reder, Portland State University

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

In this forum, I argue that adult literacy education needs to be repositioned within a new framework of lifelong and life-wide learning, a framework in which new policies are formulated, programs are designed and evaluated, and research is funded and carried out. To appreciate how much this suggested framework differs from the neoliberal framework in which adult education is currently embedded, it is worth considering briefly how neoliberalism has gained its foothold in (some would say its stranglehold on) adult education...

Contact: Stephen Reder,

Examining the Role of Federal Adult Education Funding in Adult Literacy Education

Judy Mortrude, World Education, Inc.

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

First, Steve Reder is right. No one in the field of adult education is going to argue against Steve’s conception of skill needs across the length and breadth of adult life. And certainly no one is going to argue against the need for more resources over and above the perpetually starved federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) system to fund Steve’s conceptual framework. Beyond agreeing, I do think it is helpful to examine the role of federal adult education funding inside the lifelong and life-wide educational framework as both...

Contact: Judy Mortrude,

Toward a Vision of Movement Building in Adult Literacy Education

Ira Yankwitt, Literacy Assistance Center

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Recently, a colleague of mine in his 20s asked
me when and why the discourse in the field of adult literacy education shifted from the language of “human rights” and “social justice” to the language of “human capital” and “workforce development.” My response: the 1990s, neoliberalism, and the subsuming of federal funding for adult literacy education under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 1998. Neoliberalism has been the prevailing economic ideology in the United States for the past four decades...

Contact: Ira Yankwitt,

Resource Review

Turning Points: Recent Trends in Adult Basic Literacy, Numeracy, and Language Education

Reviews by Elisabeth Gee, Arizona State University

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

The impetus for this timely publication was several recent developments with potentially significant implications for the field of adult basic education (ABE), including new federal adult education authorization, the release of a new version of the GED test, and new content standards for ABE curricula. Turning Points is a volume in the long-standing series, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, and reflects the standard format for the series: a collection of short chapters, written in an accessible style, on a significant topic for adult and continuing educators...

Contact: Elizabeth Gee,

Research Digest

Are Transitions a Sufficient Goal for ABE Students or Programs?

Bob Hughes, Seattle University, and Christine Knighton, Highline College

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Reading the Federal Register announcement (U.S. Department of Education, 2016) of Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) offers a glimpse of WIOA’s priorities. These priorities are important because they drive funding allocations for adult basic education in the nation; and that funding, in turn, determines how funded programs operate in order to receive that funding. As the largest funder of adult basic education (ABE) in the nation, providing ...

Contact: Bob Hughes,; Christine Knighton,

Technology Solutions for Adult Basic Skills Challenges

Assessing and Teaching Adult Learners’ Basic and Advanced 21st Century Digital Literacy Skills

David J. Rosen, Newsome Associates

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

The focus of the Technology Solutions for Adult Basic Skills Challenges column begins with common challenges facing adult basic skills practitioners, expressed, for example, in the LINCS Integrating Technology group for which I am the moderator, in other LINCS groups, in my national and state conference or webinar presentations, or privately in face-to-face discussions or by phone or email. Solutions to these problems, at least in part through the use of technology, include: hardware such as desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, electronic tablets...

Contact: David J. Rosen