National Assessment of Adult Literacy

Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
In 2011-12, the first PIAAC survey was administered. It replaces NAAL as the most current indicator of the nation's progress in adult skills in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. AIR staff work closely with NCES and other contractors to provide technical assistance and management support, and to conduct outreach and dissemination activities for PIAAC in the U.S. >>

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), conducted in 2003 by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), describes the English literacy of America’s adults 16 years of age and older. AIR was responsible for the analysis of NAAL data and report writing.

AIR was the design and analysis contractor for the 2003 NAAL. The 2003 NAAL helped policymakers, program administrators, educators, and researchers who want to obtain a greater understanding of the English literacy skills of adults and various subgroups of adults, including non-native English speakers, immigrants, parents, welfare recipients, minorities, and the elderly. Using data from the assessment, state policymakers will be able to identify populations most in need of literacy services and design programs to target them. The 2003 NAAL included a new health literacy measure which will help policymakers develop health education materials targeted to the literacy levels of the intended audience.

State Assessments

As part of the assessment, NCES offered states the opportunity to acquire samples that provide in-depth information on adult literacy in their states.

The following six states purchased separate samples to obtain detailed information describing the prose, document, and quantitative literacy of their respective adult populations: Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Oklahoma. AIR contracted directly with the states to analyze and report on their data.