The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) has released its most recent survey. The results are astounding. The report is a bit difficult to read (just the U.S. summary is 108 pages!). If you’d like to read the summary, you may find it here.
If you don’t feel like a bit of light reading, let me give you some key points. Warning: these findings are very sobering.
It is more common in the US for adults to have low skills than other countries surveyed (p 13). Think about this. More common to have low skills. How will America compete on a global scale if our citizens struggle with basic skills? Furthermore, Americans are one group that has more formal education than the other nations (p 13). Essentially, despite US adults achieving a higher level of education compared to other nations, Americans are unable to compete with the basic skills of those in other nations with less education (p 29).
Another point that the PIAAC survey tells us is that “socio-economic background has a stronger influence on adult basic skills in the U.S. than in other countries” (p 13). One can make a direct connection with poverty in the U.S. and lower literacy, numeracy, and life skills.
Overall, the report states that America has more people with weak skills and few people with strong skills than other countries (p 22). This makes low literacy more common in the United States than in most other countries that were surveyed.
Additionally, 5% of surveyed adults in the United States required paper testing opposed to the electronic testing because they did not possess the computer skills needed. This fact is related to Americans’ poor scores on problem solving in technology rich environments (p 23).
And where does Indiana rank? Indiana has 371,481 adults that lack basic literacy skills, and throughout the state there are only 41,397 adults enrolled in a state-administered adult education program (p 103). Allow me to do the math for you. That means that in Indiana 330,084 adults are not getting help they need to live a happy, healthy life. 330,084 adults. This is the combined population of Evansville, Bloomington, Terre Haute, Vincennes, Tell City, Jasper, all of Posey County, and a kindergarten class.
The Literacy Center has been battling these numbers for decades. I challenge you to help us. Help us make 330,084 adults lives better. Help us make our community better. Help us make our country better. Email us to help The Literacy Center.