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NIFL-ASSESSMENT 2005: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1109] Some comments and

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From: Marie Cora (marie.cora@hotspurpartners.com)
Date: Wed Jun 22 2005 - 16:20:53 EDT


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From: "Marie Cora" <marie.cora@hotspurpartners.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <nifl-assessment@literacy.nifl.gov>
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1109] Some comments and questions for the Performance Level Discussion
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The following message is posted for Tom Sticht.
marie


Questions Regarding the NAS/NRC/BOTA Performance Level Report and the
Adult 
Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) Report

Recently the OECD, Statistics Canada, and the U.S. NCES released a
report 
of the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL)survey. In this report the 
authors have overstated the extent of adults with literacy problems in 
Canada, the U.S. and other countries because they used a methodology
which 
the new National Academy of Science report on performance levels for
adult 
literacy states is too stringent and exaggerates the problem of adult 
literacy. 

The ALL authors claim that people without literacy skills at
(NALS/IALS)ALL 
Level 3 or above lack skills to cope in contemporary society but the new

NAS/NRC report says that is not demonstrated by their methodology. 

Also, the idea that people at a lower level of literacy, Levels 1 or 2
can 
only perform simple literacy tasks is also wrong according to the
NAS/NRC 
report, because people at the lower levels can perform tasks that are at

higher levels of difficulty but with less than an 80 percent probability
of 
success. 

One of my concerns is that by overstating the extent of adult literacy 
problems (e.g., crying "wolf" too many times) policymakers become 
unbelievers to a large extent as do the public in general so funding is
not 
provided for the really poorly literate adults to the extent it is
needed. 

Given the fairly widespread understanding of the shortcomings of the
NALS 
and IALS, and given that the National Academies of Sciences, National 
Research Council, Board of Testing and Assessment has released its
report 
on adult literacy performance levels confirming the many technical and 
arbitrary decisions that have gone into the NALS, IALS and now the ALL,
I 
was stunned to read the ALL report that simply  ignored all these
various 
concerns. What bothers me is that these various government agencies are 
widely disseminating what they know are misleading statistics. 

I'm wondering what responsibility the National Academy of Sciences has
in 
addressing the shortcomings of the new ALL and informing policymakers,
news 
agencies,  and the general public about the misleading ALL report. This
is 
particularly important since the ALL report also disseminates faulty
data 
about the U.S. I'm also wondering what the responsibilities of the
larger 
community of adult literacy researchers and scientists are in trying to 
bring the misleading statements of the ALL report to the attention of
the 
general public. 

Does anyone from the NAS/NRC/BOTA report on performance levels for adult

literacy have any thoughts about any of this?







Quoting Marie Cora <marie.cora@hotspurpartners.com>:

> Hi Tom,
>  
> I'm writing to ask you to post a question or 2 to the NAS discussion.
> We've had 2 days of email glitches that have thrown a wrench into the
> discussion, and I'm fretting a bit now about it getting up and going.

>  
> If you wouldn't mind (and have the time) to post even just one
question,
> that would be so wonderful.  I would really appreciate it.
> Thanks,
> marie
> 



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