VOLUME 3 ISSUE 3 : FALL 2021
Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy
The journal’s mission is to publish research on adult basic and secondary education and transitions to college and career programs. It informs practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and funders about best practices in adult literacy, numeracy, and English language education in publicly funded, community and volunteer-based programs in a wide range of contexts. Each issue will consist of research articles focused on a particular theme plus other content of interest to readers (e.g., resource reviews, opinion pieces, and debates and discussions on timely topics of interest to the field).
Contact: ProLiteracy, https://www.proliteracy.org/ALE-Journal
Shifting the Gaze: From the Numerate Individual to Their Numerate Environment
Jeff Evans, Middlesex University
Keiko Yasukawa, University of Technology
Sydney David Mallows, UCL Institute of Education
Jana Kubascikova, HM Revenue & Customs
Drawing on the concept of the "literate environment," the authors conceptualise the numerate environment to explore the development of adults’ numeracy. Numerate environments provide opportunities, supports, and demands for numeracy practices. Case studies of domestic energy bills in the UK and of the currency conversion process to the euro in the Slovak Republic from 2009 illustrate opportunities, supports, and demands on adults. We use the idea of affordances to understand inter-relations among these three key aspects. We show the importance of considering affordances at different levels of the environment, which we call here individual, mid-level, and societal or national levels. Implications for numeracy policy and learning are explored.
Participation and Independence with Low Literacy: Selected Findings of the LEO 2018 Survey on Low Literacy in Germany
Klaus Buddeberg, Gregor Dutz, Lisanne Heilmann, Christopher Stammer, and Anke Grotlüschen, Hamburg University
This paper presents findings by the LEO Survey 2018 – Living with Low Literacy. It found that in Germany 12.1% of the adult population (aged between 18 and 64 years) have low literacy skills. This paper questions existing assumptions about the everyday life of adults with low literacy. Based on variables on everyday practices, we work out in which areas of life low literacy leads to exclusion from participation – specifically in terms of health, politics, and digital practices. While our analysis did not find an exclusion in online writing, it revealed differences in the autonomy and in the ability to understand information and to assess its trustworthiness for adults with low literacy skills.
Report from the Field
Teaching Writing to Adult Literacy Students from Harlem and the Bronx
David Pugh, New York State TASC Program
This article describes strategies used by the author in intermediate level reading, writing and social studies-history GED classes in Harlem and the Bronx. Since four out of five of the New York State TASC exams are based on reading, I assign extensive reading and discussion, as well as strategies for answering multiple-choice questions. In addition to a textbook, I make copies of readings that emphasize the students’ history—beginning with Columbus to African slavery-- and current issues in their communities.
"Naming the Elephant": Literacy Classism, Human Rights and the Need for a New Conversation.
B. Allan Quigley, St. Francis Xavier University
Adult literacy has been on the margins of postsecondary education for so long that many in our field assume our ongoing struggle for adequate funding and a better image is somehow "normal." It is not normal that some 107,000,000 adults across North America are marginalized, with many hidden in society due to low literacy. This article argues it is time to reconsider the position of our field concerning funding and image beginning with a new conversation concerning literacy classism—the "elephant in the room."
Using Data in Practice: What Does It Look Like and What Does It Take?
Stephanie Cronen, American Institutes for Research
GeMar Neloms, American Institutes for Research
Adult practitioners share a laudable goal—to help vulnerable adults learn and improve their lives.
To determine whether their learners are making progress or have achieved a specific outcome, most practitioners rely on data generated by a variety of formal and informal assessments. Practitioners may use these measures to adapt instruction as needed, for example, to identify learners who are struggling and need more intensive or differentiated instruction (Supovitz & Klein, 2003; Wayman & Stringfield, 2006). Practitioners may also find data useful for evaluating and improving nstructional practices (Halverson et al., 2007; Supovitz & Klein, 2003). Learners can use data on their own performance to inform their approach towards achieving an outcome (Hamilton et al., 2009; May & Robinson, 2007; National Research Council, 2012). At the administrator level, program-wide data can be used to assess whether curricula or special initiatives are having the desired effect, and it can inform a change in course when needed (Kerr et al., 2006; Marsh et al., 2006).
Teaching Adult Immigrants with Limited Formal Education: Theory, Research and Practice
Aydın Yücesan Durgunoğlu, University of Minnesota Duluth
Around the globe, there are almost 80 million people who have been forcibly displaced, which is the highest level the world has ever experienced (United Nations Refugee Agency, n.d.). When these adults arrive to highly literate societies, they are required to rapidly develop both oral and written language skills in order to survive, gain employment, become citizens and help their children thrive. It is a tall order for individuals who have left their homes under horrible circumstances and may have had their education interrupted because of war, conflict, economic struggles, cultural constraints (Durgunoğlu & Nimer, 2020). Some of these immigrants are developing literacy skills for the first time and in a new language. This book focuses on this often- overlooked population, adult immigrants with limited formal education, and it is a timely addition to the field.
Teaching the Skills That Matter
Kathy Olesen-Tracey, Illinois Community College Board
Teaching the Skills That Matter (TSTM) is an innovative and relevant training and professional development initiative funded by the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education and led by the American Institutes for Research. Designed to support states and WIOA-funded grantees, the main component of the project is the TSTM Toolkit, which includes instructional models and curricular examples used to train teachers in the highly relevant content areas of civics education, digital literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, and workforce preparation.
Technology Solutions for Adult Basic Skills Challenges
Digital Navigation Services
David J. Rosen, Newsome Associates
This issue’s Technology Solutions column does not follow the typical order of education challenge followed by technology solution, although ultimately one of the main purposes of a digital navigator solution is to address an education challenge, especially when remote or online learning is involved, and when in-person learning options are unavailable. The challenge in this column is: good computer or Chromebook access to broadband internet from home for education purposes. The solution, this time, focuses on the human help needed to address the challenges of reliable broadband internet access from home and help with the digital literacy skills needed for online learning.