The cut-off levels of insufficient literacyskills used in national and internationalliteracy studies have not been validated. Thus,it remains uncertain whether adult poor readersare handicapped by insufficient reading skillsin everyday life, i.e. in job-related oreducational activities. The primary purpose ofthe study was to identify a minimum level belowwhich insufficient reading skills proved ahandicap to adults in their educational efforts. One hundred and eighty-nine adults in formal adult education participated in the study. The adults' reading comprehension, decoding skills, primarylanguage, level of exam, student and teacherratings of the adults' reading skills, and theadults' exam grades for courses in formal adulteducation were obtained. Exam grades below themean were taken as documentation of educationalfailure. Adults in the lowest 10thpercentile in reading skills only managed toobtain exam grades below the mean in coursesplacing heavy demands on their reading skills,indicating that poor reading skills were infact a threat to the adults' educationalachievements. Possible causes of insufficientreading skills were further examined. Adults inthe lowest 10th percentile suffered fromvery poor decoding skills. Even though a largervariation was seen in the exam grades foradults in the 10–25th percentile, theytoo, were handicapped by poor readingcomprehension. The decoding skills andsocio-economic data of these adults indicatedthat improved reading skills might increasetheir chances of getting an education.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 29, 2004
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