Adult Education Attainment and Assessment Scores: A Cross-National Comparison

Cover image of Stats in Brief, an NCES 2018 publication featuring Adult Education Attainment and Assessment Scores: A Cross-National Comparison.

This report on Adult Education Attainment and Assessment Scores: A Cross-National Comparison from the U.S. Department of Education (see link below) builds upon the

findings in the earlier National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report (Goodman et al. 2013) to provide
additional cross-national comparisons of adult literacy and numeracy proficiencies by education attainment. Specifically, the brief highlights differences between
several countries in the average literacy and numeracy scores for adults at different levels of education attainment. The brief further compares gaps in literacy and numeracy scores between adults of higher
and lower education attainment across participating countries.
The results from the earlier NCES reports indicated that adults in the United States performed lower than or not measurably different from the PIAAC international
average in literacy and in numeracy (Goodman et al. 2013, Rampey et al.)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION STATS IN BRIEF, SEPTEMBER 2017, NCES 2018–007
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2018 Funding for WIOA programs

FY 2018 omnibus released, increases funding for key workforce, education programs [in the U.S.], March  22,  2018,  by Kermit Kaqleba, Katie Spiker, and Katie Brown, National Skills Coalition.

Congressional leaders last night released final text for an omnibus spending package (click on this link to appropriations.house.gov) that is expected to finalize Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations for most federal programs. The $1.3 trillion omnibus reflects the increased spending levels for both defense and non-defense programs agreed to as part of recent legislation lifting the budget “caps” for federal discretionary spending, and includes some critical boosts in funding for key education and workforce development programs…

Importantly, the omnibus rejects many of the proposed cuts to workforce and education programs that were included in President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request, and sends a clear signal about the bipartisan support for investments in skills as the economy grows.

  Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Virginia 2016 & 2017 Census Estimates

The links and images on this post pertain to the state of Virginia, U.S. Click on Virginia American Community Survey 2016 estimate for the 126 page pdf document for Virginia and all Virginia counties and major cities. Counties are listed in alphabetical order.

Image of Virginia demographics in the 2017 one-year estimates of population, median household income, persons in poverty, high school graduates, persons without insurance, median housing values, total housing units, number of companies, male median income, female median income, and veterans.

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Department of Labor: Watch and Learn Videos

NEW: The Department of Labor’s plain-language video series offers Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidance in language you don’t need a law degree to understand. While the videos target employers, they can inform adult students about labor standards in the workplace.

To view the FLSA videos click on FLSA Videos. This is the URL to the link: https://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/videos.htm

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Degree and Nondegree Credentials Held by Labor Force Participants

Examining the percentage of adults who have a postsecondary degree misses other types of postsecondary credentials that could be useful in the labor market, such as postsecondary certificates, occupational licenses and occupational certifications.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a new Data Point report today (March 27) entitled Degree and Nondegree Credentials Held by Labor Force Participants. This report examines the rates at which working adults have attained either a postsecondary degree or a postsecondary nondegree credential, including postsecondary certificates, occupational licenses, and occupational certifications. The report uses data from the Adult Training and Education survey, conducted as part of the 2016 National Household Education Survey (NHES) program.

Among the findings:

  • Although only 45 percent of working adults have a postsecondary degree, when nondegree credentials are factored in, 58 percent of working adults have some type of postsecondary work credential.
  • Among working adults who do not have a postsecondary degree, the most common nondegree credential is an occupational license.

Figure 1: Percentage of adults in the labor force who have different degree and nondegree credentials: 2016. LEFT pie graph: 55% No postsecondary degree. 45% Any postsecondary degree. RIGHT pie graph: 13% No postsecondary degree and a nondegree credential. 18% Postsecondary degree and nondegree credential. 27% postsecondary degree and no nondegree credential. 42% No postsecondary degree and no nondegree credential.

To view the full report, please visit this link to the Data Point handout entitled Degree and Nondegree Credentials Held by Labor Force Participants or cut and paste this URL into an address bar:  http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2018057.

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Strategic Leverage: Use of State and Local Laws to Enforce Labor Standards in Immigrant-Dense Occupations

Image of the report from the Migration Policy Institute entitled "Strategic Leverage: Use of State and Local Laws to Enforace Labor Standards in Immigrant-dense Occupations"This March, 2018 report by Andrew Elmore and Muzaffar Chishti from the Migration Policy Institute discusses the widespread practice of employer workplace violations in immigrant-dense industries.

“Immigrants, who account for 17 percent of the U.S. labor force, are twice as likely as native-born workers to be employed in an industry where violations of core labor standards are widespread. These wage-and-hour and safety-and-health law violations can often be traced back to the changing nature of the relationship between low-wage workers and the companies that employ them. For example, the practice of misclassifying workers as “independent contractors” rather than employees—and thus removing them from the protection of many workplace laws and enabling companies to sidestep payroll taxes, unemployment insurance contributions, and workers’ compensation requirements—is common in low-wage industries from construction to transportation.”

Click on this link to access the Migration Policy Institute’s report: Strategic Leverage

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Nonemployer Statistics–An Indicator of Virginia’s “Gig Economy”

Ann Lang, Senior Economist with the Virginia Employment Commission, wrote an article for “Economic Information & Analytics,” which attempted to provide an indication of Virginia’s “gig economy”—a much discussed but hard to define sector of the economy. This analysis is not a comprehensive look at the “gig economy” and is based solely on nonemployer statistics from the Census. Nonemployer statistics are used to gain insight into this sector of the economy, as many gig workers fit the definition of nonemployers. Click on this link to Gig Economy-NonEmployer- Article 2014-15 to read the full text.

Read an excerpt of the article’s summary below:

“Nonemployer businesses run the gamut from old-fashioned family-run corner stores to home-based bloggers,” said William Bostic Jr., the Census Bureau’s associate of for economic programs. “In some cases, the business may be the owner’s primary source of income, such as with real estate agents and physicians, but in other instances, they may operate the business as a side job, such as with babysitting and tutoring.”4

Over the 2010-2015 period, nonemployer establishments in Virginia increased by 66,149 or 13.0 percent, surpassing the national growth of 10.0 percent. While Virginia’s nonemployer firms are growing, they remain smaller in number and economic impact than traditional payroll employment, which increased by almost 200,000, or 5.6 percent. The largest gains in nonemployer establishments over the five year period occurred in transportation and warehousing; other services; professional, scientific, and technical services; and real estate and rental and leasing—all sectors that encompass service activities.

Image of a bar graph about nonemployer establishments by industry in Virginia, 2015.

Click on this link to read the full PDF article: Gig Economy-NonEmployer- Article 2014-15

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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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ALICE: Looking up financial insecurity region by region in Virginia & 14 other states

United Way logoWorking Hard, But Struggling to Survive

ALICE is a United Way acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This is a project of United Ways in Connecticut, Florida, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

ALICE families earn above the federal poverty level, but do not earn enough to afford a bare-bones household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care. The United Way ALICE Reports use new measures to provide a more accurate picture of financial insecurity at the state, county, and municipal level. This link leads to a page on the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration’s site that houses the regional Virginia statistics.

Logo of the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration, Newark

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Statistics about women in the labor force

From the U.S. Census Bureau (March, 2015)

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Census Bureau released some fascinating statistics about women in the United States. But, fascinating doesn’t necessarily translate into positive.

The stats include the persistent wage gap that shows women still make just 78 cents to every dollar earned by men as well as the significant disparity of the representation of women in STEM (science technology education, and math), such as in careers like computer programmers, physicians and surgeons, lawyers and judges, police officers, and civil engineers.

These harsh inequality facts are among the reasons why many agencies and the White House [in 2015] have committed to creating more opportunities in STEM (ScienceTechnologyEngineeringMath) for women and girls.

census-womens-history-month-2015-statistics

Click on this link to the U.S. Census Bureau to the article,  FFF Women’s History Month, March 2015.

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Poverty in the U.S.

An op ed by Angus Deaton in the January 24, 2018 edition of the New York Times, entitled “The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem,” discusses the numbers of U.S. citizens who live in poverty as deep as those in developing nations.

Poverty 2018

Graphic, New York Times

“When we compare absolute poverty in the United States with absolute poverty in India, or other poor countries, we should be using $4 in the United States and $1.90 in India.

Once we do this, there are 5.3 million Americans who are absolutely poor by global standards. This is a small number compared with the one for India, for example, but it is more than in Sierra Leone (3.2 million) or Nepal (2.5 million)…”

The graph above depicts the number of people who live on $4 or less per day and where the U.S. poor sit in relation to the poor in other Western countries.. In the U.S. the plight of the poor is exacerbated by lack of affordable housing. These costs are usually missed by World Bank estimates.

Angus Deaton is a professor of economics and international affairs emeritus at Princeton University, the presidential professor of economics at the University of Southern California and the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics.

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Using the PIAAC Literacy Framework to Guide Instruction: An Introduction for Adult Educators

The introduction to the PIAAC Literacy Freamwork to Guide Instruction: An  Inroduction for Adult Educators by Amy Trawick (January 2017) reveals the following facts about adult education and literacy for adults in the U.S.:

Piaac literacy framework

“In general, the average score for adults in the United States was not significantly different from the international
average in reading literacy (Rampey, Finnegan, Goodman, Mohadjer, Krenzke, Hogan, &
Provasnik, 2016). However, 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).”

The resource contains the following information for instructors in terms of WIOA requirements for teaching reading and Standards Based Instruction:

SECTION II: THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE PIAAC LITERACY FRAMEWORK

  • Definition for Literacy
  • Basic Task Elements: Contexts, Content, and Cognitive Strategies
    • Contexts
    • Content
    • Cognitive Strategies
    • Factors Affecting Task Difficulty

SECTION III: TEACHING AND LEARNING WITH PIAAC LITERACY TOOLS

  • Phase 1: Contextualize the Skill Instruction, Using the Basic PIAAC Framework Elements
  • Phase 2: Incorporate the Factors Affecting Task Difficulty
  • Phase 3: Embed and Sequence Instruction in the Most Relevant Skills
  • Putting It All Together

Click here to learn more about the document.

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2016 American Community Survey – Virginia Educational Breakdown by Age Group

This post provides census information  (ACS) for age breakouts of Virginians educational level. Click on the linkbelow  to the PDF document for Virginia.

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Breakdown of adults in Virginia without a high school diploma

2016 Community Survey VA Educ Levels

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Designing a Literacy-Based Mobile Application for Adult Learners

Figure-2-a-A-scrolling-list-of-Course-cards-each-with-a-unique-image-and-an.ppmAbstract

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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New Evidence on Integrated Career Pathways: Final Impact Report for Accelerating Opportunity

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 1.47.35 PMJobs 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.

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