Matthew Burke graduated from high school even though he was reading at about the third-grade level. He got a job as a welder but found his lack of reading skills held him back. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU
This NPR article from 2013 makes a compelling case statement for funding adult education and literacy programs. The topic is still relevant in 2018. The following is an excerpt from the article:
A ‘Double Expense’
People who struggle to read, write and speak English are sentenced to a lifetime of economic challenges, says Stephen Fuller, an economist with George Mason University in Virginia. He says it’s important to have an educated workforce.
“If we fail, it’s a double expense, ’cause the economy isn’t healthy, and we also have increased social services,” he says.
Fuller says that has enormous costs for society. People with low literacy are more likely to need unemployment checks, food stamps and subsidized housing. And they are more likely to end up behind bars.
To read more, click on this link to Adding Up the Costs. The article, the 4th in a series, leads to three other articles related to adult literacy and the challenges adults face in pursuing their educational and workplace dreams.
In this paper, we discuss the design of CAPITAL Words, an educational Android application to help low-literacy adults improve their phonemic awareness. We discuss our design choices concerning iconography, linearity, consistency, robustness, interactivity, and visibility when creating mobile software usable by illiterate users. We conducted a usability study with 11 adult learners at a local literacy center to determine how successfully users are able to interact with our interface. Results show that the majority of our design choices were intuitive for low-literacy adults with prior smartphone experience and highly learnable for inexperienced users, and that users overwhelmingly enjoyed using the app as a learning tool. This suggests that, if users are given a small amount of guidance initially, there is a high likelihood that they will be both willing and able to continue using our app independently to improve their literacy skills.
Designing a Literacy-Based Mobile Application for Adult Learners, Jennifer R. Hill, May 2016, Georgetown University. (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/302074210_Designing_a_Literacy-Based_Mobile_Application_for_Adult_Learners [accessed Sep 6, 2017].
Jobs for the Future provides a link to the final implementation report, which “describes the effect of Accelerating Opportunity (AO) on education and employment outcomes for underprepared adult learners. Designed and led by Jobs for the Future and national partners, AO allowed adults with low basic skills to enroll in integrated career pathways at community and technical colleges.”
New Evidence on Integrated Career Pathways: Final Impact Report for Accelerating Opportunity, Theresa Anderson, Daniel Kuehn, Lauren Eyster, Burt S. Barnow, and Roberth Il Lerman, Urban Institute, 2017.
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) from IES reviews the existing research on different programs, products, practices, and policies in education. WWCs goal is to provide educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions. The sites focuses on the results from high-quality research to answer the question “What works in education?” Find more information about the WWC: at this link http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/FWW.
Data from the OECD Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies’ Survey of Adult Skills found that 36 million Americans have low literacy skills, nearly 24 million of whom are part of the workforce. In addition, nearly 46 million Americans struggle with numeracy. These skills issues have significant negative impacts on individuals, their families, and their communities. Grounded in evidence and informed by effective and emerging practices, Making Skills Everyone’s Business offers seven strategies that hold great promise for improving the conditions that create and perpetuate poor literacy, numeracy, and problem solving.
Click here to access more information: http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/ovae/2015/02/24/making-skills-everyones-business-report-launch/
The Survey of Adult Skills is an international survey conducted in 33 countries as part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). It measures the key cognitive and workplace skills needed for individuals to participate in society and for economies to prosper. The first results from the Survey were released on 8th October 2013.
The survey was done in 2011-12 with 5,000 adults from 16-65 in the U.S. and participating countries. Skills assessed were: literacy, numeraacy, and problem solving skills in technology-rich environments.
See more about PIAAC at this ProLiteracy link: http://www.proliteracy.org/the-crisis/piaac–survey-of-adult-skills
Finding Our Way: Digital Technologies and E-Learning for Adult Literacy Students, Educators and Programs Literature Scan: 2005-2011, presents a global snapshot of how technology has been used to enhance teaching, learning and professional development.
Given the ubiquity of digital technologies in today’s world and the pressure on educators to keep up, the report explores how they are and could be supported to integrate technology into their practice.
Ultimately, the report aims to spark a national discussion about what is happening, what needs to happen, and how AlphaPlus can, in collaboration with the adult literacy field, begin to harness the full potential of digital technology and e-learning in the service of adult literacy teaching and learning.
Click here to download this 2011 report.