The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy is a nationally representative assessment of English literacy among American adults age 16 and older. Sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), NAAL is the nation's most comprehensive measure of adult literacy since the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). NAAL not only provides information on adults' literacy performance but also on related background characteristics that are of interest to researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and the general public.
In 2003, over 19,000 adults participated in the national and state-level assessments, representing the entire population of U.S. adults who are age 16 and older, most in their homes and some in prisons from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Approximately 1,200 inmates of federal and state prisons were assessed in order to provide separate estimates of literacy for the incarcerated population.
In 2011-12, another large-scale assessment of adult skills called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) was administered. It is now the most current indicator of the nation's progress in adult skills in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. Results from the first round of U.S. data collection were released in 2013. Results from the combined U.S. PIAAC 2012/2014 data (from the first and second rounds of U.S. PIAAC data collection), released in 2016, are available at: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/piaac/.
NAAL includes a number of components that capture the breadth of adult literacy in the United States:
NAAL NewsJune 2, 2010: