This report was prepared by the Adult Literacy Research Working Group (ALRWG), a panel of experts on adult reading research and practice, established by the former National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) in collaboration with the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) in the United States. The group’s goal was to identify and evaluate existing research in adult reading instruction and to provide a summary of scientifically based findings.
The ALRWG defined “adult reading instruction research” as research related to reading instruction for low-literate adults, aged 16 and older, who are no longer being served in secondary education programs. This includes learners in community-based literacy centres; family literacy programs; prison literacy programs; workplace literacy programs; and two-year colleges. It includes research related to all low-literate adults in these settings, including adults in Adult Basic Education programs; Adult Secondary Education programs; English as a Second Language programs; and adults with a learning or reading disability.
The ALRWG’s research identified the following topic areas as representing the major aspects of reading instruction: assessment of reading ability; alphabetics instruction, including phonemic awareness and word analysis; fluency instruction; and vocabulary and comprehension instruction.
Report on a Series of Community Knowledge-Exchange Meetings
The report grew out of consultations held during the first six months of 2008 in Atlantic Canada. Immigrants were asked to discuss their experiences with adult learning since coming to Canada.
All participants identified the need for learning English in order to be integrated into Canadian society. In particular, they noted that a lack of ability to speak conversational English slowed their progress in making friends and participating in the workplace. They emphasized the need for better access to language classes.
As well, participants spoke of the need to learn more about Canadian culture and community. They pointed to the challenge of understanding how institutions like the courts, the health-care system and schools operate. They discussed employment challenges that ranged from simple job-search techniques to the tax implications of starting a business.
The authors recommend advancing adult immigrant education by supporting community groups, funding additional language training and backing workplace mentorship programs.
Education Matters: Insights on Education, Learning and Training in Canada, April 2008, Vol. 5, No. 1
Authors: Kathryn McMullen
This article, published by Statistics Canada, provides an analysis of some findings from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (IALLS).
The results indicate that those with the highest levels of literacy participate in adult learning at much higher rates than those at the lowest levels of literacy. The implication is that those most in need of learning to enhance their skills to compete in the labour market are least likely to participate in education and training opportunities.
Family background also plays a key role in participation in adult learning. People who grew up in families where literacy is valued tend to think positively about adult education.
The author notes that financial support from employers plays a central role in supporting opportunities for adult education and training. However, participation in employer-sponsored training is not equal across groups of workers, and workers with the least education are also least likely to participate in training.
The International Adult Literacy Survey Results
In 1990, Statistics Canada released the results of the Survey of Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities (LSUDA), a 1989 Canada-wide survey of the reading skills of adults. In 1992, the then Ontario Ministry of Education reported on the LSUDA results for Ontario (Stan Jones, Survey of Adult Literacy in Ontario).
Shortly after the release of the LSUDA results in Canada and those of the National Adult Literacy Survey in the United States, interest in a comparative international study of adult literacy began to grow. In December 1995, the first results of the 1994 survey of adult literacy in seven countries, the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), were reported in Literacy, Economy and Society, a joint publication of Statistics Canada and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In September 1996, Statistics Canada released Reading the Future: A Portrait of Literacy in Canada, a report on the national data collected in IALS.
To measure literacy in IALS, respondents answered a set of test questions designed to measure adult reading skills as well as background questions about their education, work experience and literacy practices.
Ontario participated in the survey in order to gain key data to inform policy development and to focus its literacy programming. The present report covers in detail the IALS results for Ontario. It updates and supplements the previous report, Survey of Adult Literacy in Ontario. It is organized much as the previous report with a table, graph and commentary for each of the major literacy relationships. Throughout the text, shaded boxes provide background information. Usually the tables provide results for three scales -- prose, document and quantitative -- but the graphs are used to point to particularly interesting results in part of the data.
Authors: Rick Miner
This is the final report of a commission established to examine postsecondary education in the province of New Brunswick.
Between January and September 2007, the commission released a discussion paper; gathered data; consulted with students, postsecondary education stakeholders, and the public; and looked at the findings and recommendations from other provincial commissions.
The commission’s recommendations include the creation of an integrated student-focused postsecondary education system; the establishment of an arm’s-length coordinating agency that would be responsible for quality assurance, credit transfer, and other items; the operation of the New Brunswick Community College outside the provincial government; and major improvements to student aid and university funding, including research funding.
The commission also recommended the creation of a new kind of institution, the polytechnic, which would be able to offer a variety of credentials, including certificates, diplomas, undergraduate degrees, some graduate degrees, and apprenticeship training.
ANNOTATION: This report summarizes what was learned from a community outreach program held during the first six months of 2008. The African Canadian Knowledge Exchange gathered information at eight meetings held in March and April in Atlantic Canada. The goal of the meetings was to identify the learning needs of African Canadian adults; how those needs could be met; the challenges to be considered in meeting those needs; and who should be involved in the process and at what stage.
The common themes that emerged from the meetings were the need for more programming, leadership, finances and healing.
The authors recommend holding another meeting to bring together African Canadian people and organizations to discuss the challenges they face; identifying an existing organization in the African Canadian community that would be willing to take on the responsibility for advancing the learning agenda; developing a mentorship program; and establishing learning centres in each African Canadian community to improve adults' access to further learning opportunities.
The report includes a history of the African Canadian presence in Atlantic Canada and a section summarizing points raised in discussions held during the project.
Women's Education Des Femmes, Spring, Vol. 13, No.1
Authors: Ann MacGillivray
Is it art? The enduring question has been asked since the Renaissance, when high art began to take place in the academies and decorative art was relegated to craft workshops. This article discusses the history of women artists and the reasons for the art/craft division.
The article is presented in English and includes a summary written in French.
This report describes the findings of a study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of an augmented education program in helping individuals with mental illnesses graduate from college, and find and keep jobs over a two-year period. Augmented education is a model that combines elements of supported employment such as job coaching with supported education, which might include the opportunity to do make-up tests or access to additional teaching labs.
The study was a joint project of George Brown College and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. Information was gathered from 123 students who began the program between April 2004 and April 2008 and agreed to participate in the study. Information was collected from students at program entry; program completion; 12 months after completing the program; and at 24 months after completion. As well, interviews were held with 13 key informants, including program instructors and staff and student employers.
The results suggest that the graduates of the augmented education program were able to get and keep jobs in the industry in which they had trained.
Participation in the program appeared to have little or no effect on participants’ clinical functioning as assessed by hospitalizations and change in mental health status.
Authors: Movement for Canadian Literacy
This backgrounder was prepared by the Movement for Canadian Literacy. It highlights some of the key findings from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL), provides additional survey background, and summarizes the literacy community's response.