The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), which is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), describes the English literacy of America’s adults 16 years of age and older. AIR is responsible for the analysis of NAAL data and report writing.
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.
NAAL was administered to a nationally representative sample of more than 19,000 adults in the United States. The state samples, which were also incorporated into the national sample, were between 1,000 and 1,500 adults.
The initial national and state reports describe the prose, document, and quantitative literacy of adults for the population as a whole, across six background characteristics: race, gender, age, language spoken before starting school, level of education and employment status.
Additional analyses of NAAL results for the nation and for the six states will be available in the Spring of 2006. These reports will detail the relationship between literacy and demographics, education, and employment, earnings, and job training, as well as family literacy and health literacy.
National Center for Education Statistics and the National Assessment of Adult Literacy
NCES has been conducting national assessments of adult literacy since 1985. The most recent assessment before the 2003 NAAL was the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey. Information about NAAL, including the recently published report, A First Look at the Literacy of America’s Adults in the 21st Century, is available at: http://nces.ed.gov/naal. The report authors are Mark Kutner, Elizabeth Greenberg, and Justin Baer.