Conducted between 2003 and 2008, the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) Survey was an international comparative study designed to provide participating countries, including the United States, with information about the skills of their adult populations. ALL measured the literacy and numeracy skills of a nationally representative sample of 16- to 65-year olds in participating countries in two rounds: first, in 2003 and then again between 2006 and 2008. The original seven countries/territories to participate in the first round were Bermuda, Canada, Italy, Norway, Nuevo Leon (Northern Mexico), Switzerland, and the United States. Four countries participated in the second round: Australia, Hungary, Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Literacy was defined in ALL as the knowledge and skills needed to understand and use information from text and other written formats. Numeracy was defined in ALL as the knowledge and skills required to manage mathematical demands of diverse situations.
Information from ALL addressed questions such as:
On a pilot basis, ALL also measured adults' problem-solving skills and gathered information on their familiarity with information and communication technologies.
ALL built on the foundation of earlier studies of adult literacy. Chief among these earlier studies is the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), which was conducted in three phases (in 1994, 1996 and 1998) in 20 nations, including the United States.
Data from the ALL study can be linked to data from the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), the 1994 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), and the 2011 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).
For highlights of the results from the first round of ALL, click here. For detailed results from the first round of ALL, see Learning a Living: First Results of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (Statistics Canada and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 2005). For results for countries in the second round of ALL, see Literacy for Life: Further Results from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (Statistics Canada and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 2011).
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