Category Archives: Adult Literacy

Adding Up The Low Costs of Literacy Among Adults

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

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.

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Designing a Literacy-Based Mobile Application for Adult Learners

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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].

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What Works Clearing House

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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.

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Finding Our Way: Digital Technologies and E-Learning for Adult Literacy …

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.

ImageGiven 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.

Data.gov: Education

Education Data Community

This web site serves as a central guide for education data resources including high-value data sets, data visualization tools, resources for the classroom, applications created from open data and more. These datasets have been gathered from various agencies to provide detailed information on the state of education on all levels, from cradle to career and beyond. Check back frequently because the site will be updated as more datasets and tools become available. Click here for Education Data and Tools.

Workforce Report

The National Commission on Adult Literacy

published its final report, Reach Higher America: Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, in June, 2008.

REACH HIGHER, AMERICA, the report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, was released at a public event in Washington, DC, on June 26. The report documents the adult education and skills crisis facing American workers, proposes a fundamentally new approach to adult basic education and workforce skills preparation in America, and lays out the fiscal and social benefits that will result from substantially increased public expenditures for programs and services. Focus is on the need of the unemployed, low-skilled incumbent workers, immigrants with limited or no English, parents or caregivers with low basic skills, incarcerated adults, high school dropouts, and high school graduates not adequately prepared for college.

Among other things, the Commission recommends transforming the current system, which reaches about 3 million adults annually, into an adult education and workforce skills system with the capacity to enroll 20 million adults by the year 2020 and a mission of moving adults to readiness for postsecondary education and job training. The report offers a kind of “domestic Marshall plan” for meeting workforce education needs-including bold recommendations for state government, business and labor, philanthropy, and the general public. A clear message of the report is that unless the nation gives much higher priority to the basic educational needs of the workforce-adults 16 and older beyond the reach of the schools-America’s standard of living, its status as a leading world power, and its very social fabric will be further eroded. This important report and various related materials are available in PDF from the Commission’s website.

Instructions are given there for purchase of hard copies.