Although a large proportion of adults scored at the lowest literacy levels in 1992, NALS provided little insight into the skill levels and deficits of the least-literate adults. The 2003 NAAL features two new components that will provide more in-depth information about the basic reading skills—including oral reading—of all participating adults.
The Fluency Addition to NAAL (FAN) uses speech-recognition software to measure basic reading skills (i.e., the ability to decode, recognize words, and read with fluency).
The Adult Literacy Supplemental Assessment (ALSA) assesses the ability of the least-literate adults to read words and comprehend simple prose that are highly familiar and contextualized.
Both of these assessments are significant, given the population increase of Hispanics, immigrants, and older adults in the past decade. Members of these groups scored lower than others in 1992 and had the potential to do so again in the 2003 assessment.