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Digest of Education Statistics: 2016
Digest of Education Statistics: 2016

NCES 2017-094
February 2018


Table 507.15. Average literacy and numeracy scale scores and percentage distribution of 25- to 65-year-olds, by proficiency level and selected characteristics: 2012/2014
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected characteristic Literacy Numeracy
Average scale score1 Percentage distribution, by proficiency level2 Average scale score1 Percentage distribution, by proficiency level2
Below
level 1
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4/5 Below
level 1
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4/5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Total 271 (1.0) 4.8   (0.50) 13.6   (0.64) 31.8 (0.94) 36.0 (1.02) 13.9   (0.75) 258 (1.2) 8.5   (0.53) 18.7 (0.75) 32.7 (0.97) 29.5 (1.01) 10.6   (0.76)
Sex                                                          
Male 273 (1.2) 4.5   (0.60) 13.9   (1.10) 31.3 (1.63) 35.0 (1.41) 15.2   (1.06) 266 (1.4) 6.7   (0.67) 16.7 (1.08) 30.5 (1.36) 31.5 (1.33) 14.6   (1.04)
Female 270 (1.3) 5.0   (0.70) 13.3   (0.79) 32.2 (1.18) 36.9 (1.34) 12.6   (0.90) 250 (1.4) 10.2   (0.84) 20.5 (0.99) 34.7 (1.45) 27.7 (1.23) 7.0   (0.83)
                                                           
Age                                                          
25 to 34 281 (1.8) 2.9   (0.49) 10.2   (1.02) 29.8 (1.40) 39.5 (1.66) 17.6   (1.51) 267 (1.9) 5.7   (0.72) 16.0 (1.25) 32.0 (1.60) 33.2 (1.75) 13.0   (1.35)
35 to 44 275 (1.8) 3.6   (0.86) 12.6   (1.49) 31.6 (2.19) 35.7 (1.81) 16.5   (1.59) 261 (1.6) 7.2   (0.91) 18.9 (1.48) 31.7 (1.72) 30.0 (1.66) 12.1   (1.31)
45 to 54 267 (1.7) 6.4   (0.95) 14.7   (1.41) 31.4 (1.71) 35.4 (1.90) 12.2   (1.06) 253 (2.1) 10.8   (1.19) 19.4 (1.58) 32.7 (1.97) 27.1 (2.09) 10.0   (1.28)
55 to 65 262 (1.5) 6.1   (0.98) 16.9   (1.67) 34.3 (1.81) 33.2 (1.83) 9.4   (1.23) 252 (1.8) 10.0   (1.11) 20.4 (1.69) 34.1 (1.80) 27.9 (1.85) 7.5   (1.08)
                                                           
Race/ethnicity                                                          
White 285 (1.1) 1.5   (0.29) 8.1   (0.58) 30.2 (1.19) 42.3 (1.32) 17.9   (0.96) 273 (1.3) 2.9   (0.45) 13.5 (0.81) 34.0 (1.08) 36.0 (1.15) 13.7   (1.04)
Black 245 (2.4) 7.5   (1.44) 26.3   (2.45) 39.3 (2.28) 23.4 (2.33) 3.6   (0.99) 217 (3.0) 21.3   (2.42) 34.0 (2.34) 32.4 (2.61) 10.8 (1.78) 1.4 ! (0.62)
Hispanic 229 (3.4) 19.1   (2.58) 28.1   (2.55) 31.6 (2.53) 17.6 (2.39) 3.6 ! (1.09) 218 (4.2) 25.2   (2.76) 29.9 (2.51) 27.1 (2.93) 14.8 (2.37) 2.9 ! (0.99)
Asian/Pacific Islander 271 (4.5) 4.9 ! (1.85) 15.0   (3.06) 31.1 (4.18) 34.1 (3.89) 14.9   (3.11) 267 (5.6) 6.0 ! (2.18) 16.8 (3.27) 30.7 (4.75) 32.2 (4.92) 14.4   (3.23)
Other3 268 (6.1)   (†) 15.8 ! (5.24) 39.8 (7.24) 30.6 (5.42) 11.3 ! (3.80) 252 (6.2) 8.5 ! (3.65) 25.4 (5.82) 33.7 (6.10) 22.8 (4.79) 9.7 ! (3.55)
                                                           
Nativity                                                          
Born in United States 278 (1.0) 2.5   (0.33) 11.5   (0.67) 32.3 (1.02) 38.6 (1.15) 15.2   (0.82) 263 (1.2) 6.2   (0.53) 17.5 (0.79) 33.7 (1.01) 31.4 (1.11) 11.2   (0.83)
Not born in United States 238 (3.1) 17.1   (2.29) 24.7   (2.30) 29.3 (2.38) 22.1 (1.84) 6.8   (1.19) 232 (3.7) 20.7   (2.42) 24.7 (2.15) 27.3 (2.36) 19.8 (1.95) 7.5   (1.33)
                                                           
Educational attainment                                                          
Less than high school completion 209 (2.7) 26.1   (2.81) 35.7   (2.76) 30.2 (2.48) 7.5 (1.34) #   (†) 194 (2.6) 35.9   (2.59) 35.6 (3.07) 23.8 (2.96) 4.3 (1.24) #   (†)
High school completion4 260 (1.3) 3.9   (0.59) 17.3   (1.03) 41.2 (1.52) 31.4 (1.33) 6.3   (0.76) 245 (1.6) 8.9   (0.83) 24.6 (1.23) 39.4 (1.43) 22.7 (1.60) 4.4   (0.70)
Associate's degree 284 (2.5)   (†) 6.7   (1.73) 31.6 (2.84) 47.8 (3.20) 12.9   (2.20) 268 (2.9) 2.8 ! (1.23) 13.6 (2.41) 38.8 (3.23) 36.4 (3.33) 8.5   (1.59)
Bachelor's degree or higher 304 (1.6) 0.6 ! (0.27) 3.1   (0.52) 17.9 (1.22) 48.3 (1.70) 30.0   (1.96) 295 (1.8) 1.1 ! (0.33) 5.9 (0.75) 23.2 (1.56) 45.8 (1.76) 24.1   (1.94)
                                                           
Employment5                                                          
Full-time6  278 (1.2) 3.9   (0.47) 11.0   (0.78) 29.0 (1.22) 39.8 (1.28) 16.3   (1.02) 267 (1.4) 6.2   (0.61) 15.5 (0.91) 31.6 (1.19) 33.6 (1.20) 13.1   (0.95)
Part-time7  274 (2.5) 3.2   (0.82) 12.3   (1.87) 33.3 (2.72) 37.5 (2.59) 13.7   (1.74) 259 (3.0) 7.1   (1.24) 18.5 (1.85) 35.4 (2.43) 28.6 (2.29) 10.3   (1.74)
Unemployed 257 (2.4) 5.2   (1.14) 20.3   (2.34) 39.5 (3.28) 28.3 (2.70) 6.7   (1.48) 237 (2.5) 11.7   (2.07) 29.9 (2.84) 35.7 (2.84) 18.4 (2.09) 4.4   (1.08)
Not in labor force 251 (2.3) 9.1   (1.72) 21.6   (2.00) 37.8 (2.05) 23.8 (1.81) 7.7   (1.06) 233 (2.3) 16.7   (1.57) 26.4 (2.00) 32.9 (2.24) 19.4 (1.69) 4.6   (0.86)
                                                           
Annual earnings8                                                          
Bottom quintile 262 (3.6) 6.2   (1.48) 17.0   (2.75) 34.6 (3.44) 32.1 (3.49) 10.2   (2.25) 244 (3.8) 12.1   (1.89) 23.8 (2.70) 33.9 (2.90) 23.7 (3.23) 6.6   (1.65)
Fourth quintile 255 (2.5) 8.5   (1.57) 17.5   (2.02) 36.9 (2.40) 29.5 (2.17) 7.5   (1.26) 241 (2.5) 13.6   (2.01) 23.9 (2.33) 35.3 (3.15) 21.4 (2.11) 5.9   (1.12)
Third quintile 270 (2.0) 3.6   (0.91) 13.5   (1.58) 34.2 (2.88) 37.8 (2.61) 11.0   (1.54) 257 (2.1) 5.6   (1.05) 20.0 (1.75) 37.4 (2.66) 29.5 (2.35) 7.4   (1.67)
Second quintile 287 (1.9)   (†) 6.7   (1.24) 30.2 (2.67) 46.4 (2.48) 16.2   (1.82) 275 (2.0) 1.5 ! (0.59) 11.8 (1.87) 36.6 (2.52) 38.2 (2.60) 11.9   (1.62)
Top quintile 303 (2.2) 1.7 ! (0.65) 3.6   (0.96) 16.9 (2.30) 46.3 (3.04) 31.4   (2.49) 297 (2.5) 2.4 ! (0.72) 5.3 (1.18) 20.5 (2.08) 44.2 (2.34) 27.7   (2.31)
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 Scale ranges from 0 to 500.
2 Proficiency levels 4 and 5 are combined for reporting purposes. The proficiency levels correspond to the score ranges shown in parentheses: below level 1 (0-175), level 1 (176-225), level 2 (226-275), level 3 (276-325), and level 4/5 (326-500). For details about the proficiency levels as well as specific examples of tasks at each level, see appendix B of Skills of U.S. Unemployed, Young, and Older Adults in Sharper Focus: Results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2012/2014 (NCES 2016-039rev), available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2016/2016039rev.pdf.
3 Includes persons of all other races and those of Two or more races.
4 Includes completion through an equivalency program, such as a GED program.
5 Excludes those who were employed but did not report the number of hours worked per week.
6 Full-time employment is defined as working 35 hours or more per week.
7 Part-time employment is defined as working less than 35 hours per week.
8 Annual earnings were calculated based on monthly earnings, which include bonuses and self-employment income. Excludes those who reported no earnings.
NOTE: Results in this table are based on combined data from two rounds of U.S. data collection. The first round, completed in 2012, was the main data collection. The second round, completed in 2014, was a supplemental round, conducted to expand the sample of U.S. adults, allowing for more in-depth analysis. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), U.S. PIAAC 2012/2014, retrieved May 9, 2017, from the PIAAC International Data Explorer (https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/piaac/ideuspiaac/). (This table was prepared May 2017.)