Skip Navigation

International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS)


IALS was designed to inform both educational and labor market policy and program development activities in participating countries. The primary objectives of the study were to

  • shed light on the relationship between microeconomic variables—such as individual literacy, educational attainment, labor market participation and employment, and macroeconomic issues—such as competitiveness, growth, and restructuring;
  • identify subpopulations that are economically and socially disadvantaged by their literacy skill profiles; and
  • establish the comparability of assessments of adult literacy.

IALS data provide comparable information about the activities and outcomes of educational systems and institutions in participating countries. Such data can lead to improvements in accountability and policymaking. These data are relevant to policy formation due to the growing political, economic, and cultural ties between countries.