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Learning a Living

First Results of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey

image of Learning a Living

Based on the Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey conducted in Bermuda, Canada, Italy, Mexico (Nuevo Leon), Norway, and the United States of America in 2003 and 2004, this book presents an initial set of findings that shed new light on the twin processes of skill gain and loss. The book opens with an explanation of the goals and conceptual approach of the survey and comparative profiles of adult skills in participating countries. It then looks at the relationship between education and skills and adult learning and skills. Additional chapters compare the employability of younger and older populations in participating countries, skills and economic outcomes, skills and information and communications technologies, skills and immigration, the effects of parental education on skills, and the effect of skills on health.

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Comparative Profiles of Adult Skills

This chapter presents a comparative perspective on the levels and distributions of adult skills in four domains – prose literacy, document literacy, numeracy and problem solving – for the countries that collected data in the first round of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL). The first part of the analysis displays the basic country distributions for each skill domain. The second tracks changes in the distributions of prose and document literacy skills over time for the countries that participated in both ALL and its predecessor, the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) – Canada, Norway, Switzerland and the United States. Finally, the analysis focuses on how skill distributions interact with key demographic variables such as age and gender.

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