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Digest of Education Statistics: 2011
Digest of Education Statistics: 2011

NCES 2012-001
May 2012

Appendix A.2. National Assessment of Adult Literacy

The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) was conducted to measure both English literacy and health literacy. The assessment was administered to 19,000 adults (including 1,200 prison inmates) age 16 and over in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Components of the assessment included a background questionnaire; a prison component that assesses the literacy skills of adults in federal and state prisons; the State Assessment of Adult Literacy (SAAL), a voluntary survey given in conjunction with NAAL; a health literacy component; the Fluency Addition to NAAL (FAN), an oral reading assessment; and the Adult Literacy Supplemental Assessment (ALSA). ALSA is an alternative to main NAAL for those with very low scores on seven core screening questions. NAAL assesses literacy directly through the completion of tasks that covered quantitative literacy, document literacy, and prose literacy. Results were reported using the following achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient.

By comparing the 1992 NALS and 2003 NAAL results, NAAL provides an indicator of the progress of adult literacy in the nation.

Further information on NAAL may be obtained from

Sheida White
Assessment Division
Assessment Research, Development & Implementation Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006