Inside Higher Ed: Troubling Stats on Adult Literacy

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

October 17, 2013

Eight years ago, a national survey on adult literacy offered data on the extent  to which Americans -- even those with college credentials -- were declining in  their proficiency to do the basic kinds of reading people use in everyday life. The finding, published just as President Bush and his education secretary, Margaret Spellings, were cranking up a national commission on the state of higher education, was often cited as evidence of the failings of colleges and universities.

A study released Oct. 8 could have a similar effect, because it not only questions Americans' literacy, but also taps into concerns in some quarters about the country's declining standing in the world.

The Survey of Adult Skills by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that despite having higher than average levels of educational attainment, adults in the United States have below-average basic literacy and numeracy skills.

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Inside Higher Ed: Troubling Stats on Adult Literacy, By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

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