Authors: T. Scott Murray
Collection: Research Materials
This document is one of a series prepared as part of a National Adult Literacy Database (NALD) project, funded by the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), aimed helping users quickly identify the usefulness of online research documents from Statistics Canada.
In it, the author looks at a monograph commissioned to explore the implications of the data gathered through the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), a 22-country initiative conducted between 1994 and 1998. The results showed that adults in the United States are at an average level of prose literacy performance, behind the Nordic countries and the Netherlands but at a par with adults in Australia, Canada and Germany.
But the averages for the United States and Canada mask the fact that in both countries, there is a high degree of variation in the distribution of prose literacy skills, with large numbers of people at both the lowest and the highest levels of literacy.
The Statistics Canada monograph suggests that lifelong learning offers an overall framework for policies that would improve literacy in North America. Specific policy targets would include promoting early childhood education; reducing inequality in the outcomes of schooling; and widening access to adult education for all citizens.