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Frequently Asked Questions

What can we learn from IALS?

Information from IALS is designed to address questions such as:

  • What is the distribution of literacy skills among American adults—that is, what proportion of Americans perform at each literacy level? How does this distribution compare to other countries? Are there particular groups of adults at risk?
  • What is the relationship between these literacy skills and the economic, social, and personal characteristics of individuals? For example, do different age or linguistic groups manifest different skill levels; do males and females perform differently; at what kinds of jobs do people at various literacy levels work; what kind of wages do they earn; how do they describe their physical and mental well-being?
  • What is the relationship between these skills and the economic and social characteristics of nations? For example, which industries are growing in a given country? How do the skills of the adult labor force of that country match with those growth areas?
  • How familiar are adults in the United States and other countries with information and communication technologies?

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