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Title: Indirect County and State Estimates of the Percentage of Adults at the Lowest Literacy Level for 1992 and 2003
Description: The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) assessed the English literacy skills of a nationally representative sample of 18,500 U.S. adults (age 16 and older) residing in private households. NAAL is the first national assessment of adult literacy since the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). The NAAL and NALS produced direct estimates of Prose, Document, and Quantitative literacy, each reported on a 0 to 500 scale and on four performance levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient based on this scale. This report, describes the statistical methodology used to produce the model-dependent—indirect—estimates of the percentages of adults at the lowest literacy level for individual states and counties for 1992 and 2003. The county and state indirect estimates themselves are provided at the NAAL website (the state indirect estimates are also provided in appendices to this report). The measure chosen for the indirect estimation is the percentage of adults lacking Basic prose literacy skills (BPLS). The literacy of adults who lack BPLS ranges from being unable to read and understand any written information in English to being able to locate easily identifiable information in short, commonplace prose text, but nothing more advanced. It should be noted that adults who were not able to take the assessment because they were not able to communicate in English or Spanish (i.e. language barrier cases) are included in the indirect estimates and classified as lacking BPLS because they can be considered to be at the lowest level of English literacy.

A companion report published by ERIC conveys in nontechnical terms the statistical methodology used to develop the estimates. It also provides a profile of adults lacking Basic prose literacy, and a description of various potential users and usages of the findings.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: October 2008
Web Release: January 8, 2009
Publication #: NCES 2009482
Center/Program: NCES
Associated Centers: IES
Type of Product: Research and Development Report
Survey/Program Areas: National Assessments of Adult Literacy (NAAL)
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