[Assessment 1332] Re: Tests vs. Self Assessments of Literacy

Archived Content Disclaimer

This page contains archived content from a LINCS email discussion list that closed in 2012. This content is not updated as part of LINCS’ ongoing website maintenance, and hyperlinks may be broken.

Anthony Berry aberryesq at hotmail.co.uk
Mon Jun 9 08:27:41 EDT 2008



Tom

Unfortunately, the link to Inge Henningsen's document does not work. Any ideas?

Anthony Berry> Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2008 14:45:18 -0700> From: tsticht at znet.com> To: assessment at nifl.gov> Subject: [Assessment 1331] Tests vs. Self Assessments of Literacy> > June 8, 2008> > The Great Adult Literacy Skills Debate: Tests vs. Self Assessments> > Tom Sticht> International Consultant in Adult Education> > In 2006, Inge Henningsen of the Department of Statistics in the University> of Copenhagen presented a paper entitled: "Adults just don't know how> stupid they are: Dubious statistics in studies of adult literacy and> numeracy."> (online at www.alm online.org/ALM13/programma%20alm13.pdf ).> > In this paper Henningsen comments on the many problems, conceptual,> methodological, and statistical, with the International Adult Literacy> Survey (IALS) of the mid-1990s and the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL)> survey of 2003-06. One of the major factors in these assessments that> Henningsen addresses is the finding in various nations of a wide gap> between the literacy and numeracy> skills of adults when the literacy test scores are taken as indicators of> people's skill, and the skills that adults assign to themselves when asked> to self-assess their literacy or numeracy skills.> > Though Henningsen focuses primarily on the data from these international> adult literacy surveys for Denmark, similar gaps are found in various other> nations. For instance, in Australia, based on the IALS test scores the> report writers declared some 46 percent of adults to possess low literacy> skills, whereas only 4 percent of the adults themselves thought they had> low skills.> > In Canada and the United States, similar discrepancies were found, with 42> percent of Canadians and 47 percent of U.S. adults being declared low in> literacy based on the test scores, while only 5 percent of Canadian and 7> percent of U.S. adults rated their literacy low.> > In New Zealand, using just the numeracy data from the ALL, 51 percent of> adults were declared low in numeracy based on test scores, while only 19> percent rated their numeracy skills as low. Finally, in England, using a> special test developed for the Skills for Life strategy in that nation, 16> percent of adults were declared low in literacy based on their test scores> but only 4 percent thought they had low test scores.> > Henningsen noted that the discrepancy between the self assessed proficiency> and the conclusions based on test scores is not treated seriously in the> reports and asks, "Is it ethically defensible to disregard the opinions and> statements of the adults regarding their own skills and "narrate" big groups> of adults in the labour market as excluded from society and lacking in basic> skills." Answering this rhetorical question, Henningsen goes on to say, "I> find it disturbing that the reports send the message that the experiences> and assessments of the test persons themselves have no validity compared to> the test results. Is it a viable for the adult education community to let> surveys convey the impression that "adults just don't know how stupid they> are."?> > One important consequence of adults' thinking that their literacy and> numeracy skills are pretty good is that they will choose to not participate> in language, literacy, and numeracy (LLN) provision to improve their skills.> For instance, from various sources I can make rough estimates of the> percentage of adults that the government says are in need of LLN provision> that actually take part in LLN provision in a given year. In Australia the> percentage of those the governments say are in need of LLN provision who> actually enroll in LLN provision in a given year is around 4%, in Canada> 10%, England 5%, New Zealand 11%, and the U.S. 3%. These (admittedly> roughly estimated) percentages of participation are more in line with the> self assessed needs of adults than the needs based on the paper and pencil> tests.> > In the United States, the National Center for Education Statistics reports> in the 2008 Conditions of Education that the percentages of adults aged 16> or older who participated in adult education activities consisting of basic> skills, English as a second language, or apprenticeships in 1995, 1999, 2001> and 2005 were 3, 4, 4, and 3 percent respectively. Without the category of> "apprenticeships" the percentages would be even lower. These low> percentages of self reported participation in LLN are again more in line> with the self assessments of adults regarding their literacy and numeracy> skills than with the percentages declared to be "at risk" for low literacy> based on the adult literacy survey tests.> > The large discrepancies between the percentages of adults needing basic> skills education as given by governments based on the international adult> literacy surveys, and the much smaller percentages of adults who perceive> their literacy and numeracy skills to be so low that they are unable to> progress in the societies in which they live pose problems for adult> education. Some have suggested that adults may be too embarrassed to admit> that they have a literacy or numeracy problem and that is why there is a> large discrepancy between the adults' test scores and their self> assessments of literacy. If this is so, then research is needed to> establish that this is so. In general, major efforts are needed to better> understand the genuine needs of adults for LLN provision, what sorts of> educational programs would best meet these needs, and the sorts of> activities that are needed to let> adults understand the educational opportunities available to them.> > > Thomas G. Sticht> International Consultant in Adult Education> 2062 Valley View Blvd.> El Cajon, CA 92019-2059> Tel/fax: (619)444-9595,> Email tsticht at aznet.net> > > > > -------------------------------> National Institute for Literacy> Assessment mailing list> Assessment at nifl.gov> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment> Email delivered to aberryesq at hotmail.co.uk
_________________________________________________________________

http://clk.atdmt.com/UKM/go/msnnkmgl0010000009ukm/direct/01/
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lincs.ed.gov/pipermail/assessment/attachments/20080609/10d9d8e2/attachment.html