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News Archive


February - 2008

2/27/2008 – NAAL Data Set Training scheduled for June 25-27, 2008, in Washington D.C.

NCES will sponsor a 2 1/2-day advanced studies seminar on the use of the NAAL data files and tools for research and policy analyses. The 2003 NAAL measured the English literacy of America's adults living in households and prisons. Results are reported in terms of scale score averages on three literacy scales: prose, document, and quantitative, as well as literacy levels that are described as Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient.



July - 2007

7/31/2007 – CD ROM: National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) 2003 Restricted-Use Data Now Available

This CD-ROM includes the 2003 NAAL household and prison restricted-use data files, including items from the background questionnaire; prose, document, and quantitative items (including health items); and items from the oral reading fluency assessment. Both files are in the electronic codebooks. Instructions for installing the data from the electronic codebook are included. The CD-ROM also includes a combined household-prison file for use with AM software and the Restricted-Use Data File User’s Guide.



May - 2007

5/8/2007 – Literacy Behind Bars: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey

This report focuses on the English literacy of incarcerated adults between 1992 and 2003. It compares the literacy of adults in the prison and household populations and across groups of prison inmates with different characteristics, including race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, age, language spoken before starting school, and parents’ educational attainment. Major findings indicate that the average Prose, Document, and Quantitative literacy scores of the prison population were higher in 2003 than in 1992. Incarcerated White adults had lower average prose literacy than White adults living in households. In addition, incarcerated Black and Hispanic adults had higher average prose literacy than Black and Hispanic adults living in households. In 2003, 37 percent of the prison population did not have a high school diploma or a GED, compared with 49 percent in 1992.



April - 2007

4/4/2007 – Literacy in Everyday Life: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy

This report provides extensive information on the literacy of American adults age 16 and older and changes in their performance since 1992. It examines the relationship between literacy and a number of self-reported background characteristics, including education, employment, earnings, job training, family literacy practices, civics activities, and computer usage. Results are reported in terms of scale scores (on a 500-point scale) and in terms of four literacy levels—Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. The findings indicate that women are doing better than men in Document and Prose literacy and that younger and older adults have lower literacy than adults in other age groups. Approximately 51 percent of adults with Below Basic Document literacy and 43 percent with Below Basic Quantitative literacy believed their job opportunities were limited a lot by a lack of computer skills.



March - 2007

3/31/2007 – 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy and 1992 National Adult Literacy Surveys Now Available

View the updated NAAL Public-use file for the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy and the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey as well as the accompanying 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Public-Use Data File User's Guide PDF File (1.7 MB) file that explains how the data was collected and how it can be analyzed using AM Software



September - 2006

9/6/2006 – The Health Literacy of America’s Adults: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy

This report is the first release of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) health literacy results. The results are based on assessment tasks designed specifically to measure the health literacy of American adults. Health literacy was reported using four performance levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. The majority of adults (53 percent) had Intermediate health literacy. About 22 percent had Basic and 14 percent had Below Basic health literacy.



August - 2006

8/15/2006 – Adults With Basic and Below Basic Literacy Levels: Findings From NAAL (panel webcast)

View Dr. Sheida White, NAAL Project Officer in a panel presentation on the NAAL findings in a National Institute for Literacy-sponsored webcast. Dr. White’s presentation focused on demographic and other variables of American adults with Below Basic and Basic literacy. Other panelists, John Strucker of the National Center for the Study of Adult Literacy and Learning (NCSALL) and Brian Bosworth of FutureWorks, discussed practical implications of the NAAL findings on workforce programs and programs that serve adults with Below Basic and Basic literacy.



December - 2005

12/15/2005 – Archive of the webcast of press conference now available.

View the webcast of the press conference today at 9:30 AM EST.


12/15/2005 – A First Look at the Literacy of America's Adults

This report provides a “first look” at the literacy skill levels of the nation’s adults in 2003. It includes results by various background characteristics (such as gender, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment) as well as information on changes in adult literacy performance between 1992 and 2003.
Supplemental resources:


12/15/2005 – Key Concepts and Features of the 2003 NAAL

This companion report describes important features and data types of the 2003 NAAL. In addition to reviewing key elements carried over from the 1992 assessment (such as a “functional” view of literacy and three distinct literacy areas), the report also introduces critical new aspects of the 2003 assessment (such as new assessment components and new performance levels).


12/15/2005 – News Alerts

View the transcript of NCES Associate Commissioner Peggy Carr's online chat which took place on December 15, 2005.


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