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Title:  Basic Reading Skills and the Literacy of the America's Least Literate Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) Supplemental Studies
Description: The 2003 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 project comprised four assessment components: the core literacy tasks, the main literacy assessment, the Fluency Addition to NAAL (FAN), and the Adult Literacy Supplemental Assessment (ALSA). Results from the main literacy assessment are reported as averages and as the percentage of adults in each of four literacy levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. This report focuses on results from the FAN and the ALSA.

The Adult Literacy Supplemental Assessment (ALSA) was administered to adults unable to successfully answer the core literacy tasks. Instead of completing the main literacy assessment, these adults completed the ALSA, which gathered information about their letter-reading, word-reading, word-identification, and basic comprehension skills.

The Fluency Addition to NAAL (FAN) measures the basic reading skills of America’s adults. The FAN was administered to all adults who participated in the NAAL project following the completion of the main literacy assessment or the supplemental assessment.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: February 2009
Web Release: May 6, 2009
Print Release: May 6, 2009
Publication #: NCES 2009481
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Center/Program: NCES
Authors: American Institutes for Research: Justin Baer, Mark Kutner Educational Testing Service: John Sabatini
Type of Product: Research Report
Survey/Program Areas: National Assessments of Adult Literacy (NAAL)
Questions: For questions about the content of this Research Report, please contact:
Sheida E. White.
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education