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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Education and Skills

This chapter examines the relationship between individual educational experiences and observed measures of skill. First, evidence of a strong positive association between skills and educational attainment is established. Both theory and evidence suggest that education plays a key role in the formation of the skills measured in ALL, but the imperfect association between education and skills also suggests that other factors are implicated in the development of skills over the lifespan. Second, the analysis focuses on comparing the skills of younger adults with varying experiences of upper secondary education. In particular, the skills of early school leavers are considered (youth and young adults aged 16 to 30 who have not completed upper secondary education and have not been in school for at least one year). Finally, the relationships between individual skills and additional years and levels of post secondary schooling are studied in detail.

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