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Adult numeracy initiative.

To address the issue of adult numeracy skills, OVAE has launched an Adult Numeracy Initiative. This initiative will provide some baseline data about the adults enrolled in adult numeracy programs and the practices that have been found to be effective. Among the goals of the initiative are developing a thorough understanding of the current state of the field in adult numeracy, identifying effective instructional strategies for adult learners, and examining the effectiveness of current assessment instruments in adequately measuring adult quantitative skill acquisition.

The December 2005 study released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) found that 55% of American adults scored in the lowest 2 levels of quantitative literacy. As an example, at these levels adults were able to "add two amounts on a bank deposit"--the Below Basic Level--and "compare ticket prices"--the Basic Level. They were not able to handle questions at the Intermediate Level--for example those that asked them to "calculate the total cost of ordering specific office supplies from a catalog." Furthermore, on the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, adults in other countries such as Switzerland and Norway outperformed American adults in quantitative literacy. Clearly, American adults who lack basic numeracy skills are at a disadvantage in the United States workforce, as well as in the global marketplace.

Addressing the problem of poor adult numeracy skills is a complicated task. For one thing, education programs that seek to enhance the quantitative literacy of adults are quite diverse, including adult basic education programs, General Educational Development (GED) programs, family literacy programs, welfare-to-work programs, vocational programs, and correctional programs. And, the adults who attend these programs are as diverse as the programs themselves, with a wide range of skills and backgrounds and practical experiences. It is hoped that the Adult Numeracy Initiative will be a starting point for finding a solution to this problem.

For more information on OVAE's Adult Numeracy Initiative, please visit:
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:adult education
Publication:OVAE Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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