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What did the cognitive assessment of ALL measure?

The ALL study measured three following domains that included a common set of skills:

  1. Prose and Document Literacy was defined as "using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential."

"This definition draws attention to the fact that panel members view literacy not as a set of isolated skills associated with reading and writing, but more importantly as the application of those skills for specific purposes in specific contexts. It is meant to capture the full scope of situations in which literacy plays a role in the lives of adults, from private to public, from school to work, to lifelong learning and active citizenship."

SOURCE: Statistics Canada, 2005. Measuring Adult Literacy and Life Skills: New Frameworks for Assessment, page 95.

  1. Numeracy was defined as "the knowledge and skills required to effectively manage and respond to the mathematical demands of diverse situations."

"This brief definition of numeracy is much broader than the definition of Quantitative Literacy as used in the IALS. Its key concepts relate in a broad way to situation management and to a range of effective responses (not only to application of arithmetical skills). It refers to a wide range of skills and knowledge (not only to computational operations) and to a wide range of situations that present actors with mathematical information of different types (not only those involving numbers embedded in printed materials)".

SOURCE: Statistics Canada, 2005. Measuring Adult Literacy and Life Skills: New Frameworks for Assessment, page 151.

  1. Problem Solving was defined as "goal-directed thinking and action in situations for which no routine solution procedure is available."

"The problem solver has a more or less well-defined goal, but does not immediately know how to reach it. The incongruence of goals and admissible operators constitutes a problem. The understanding of the problem situation and its step-by-step transformation, based on planning and reasoning, constitute the process of problem solving."

SOURCE: Statistics Canada, 2005. Measuring Adult Literacy and Life Skills: New Frameworks for Assessment, page 197.

The ALL Problem Solving domain was not administered in the United States, but was part of the ALL study in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education