Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Illiteracy, Adult in Developed Nations
Thomas G. Sticht
The last decade of the 20th century witnessed an unprecedented concern for adult literacy in many developed nations. This concern was stimulated by the completion of the first International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), undertaken in the mid-1990s by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and a number of its member nations, and led to varying government responses. This entry presents the broad outlines of the IALS, its methodology, and general findings, with a focus on responses in three nations—Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The IALS methodology was the same as that of the National Adult Literacy Survey of 1993 in the United States. Like that survey, the IALS changed the traditional practice of dividing adults into the dichotomy of “illiterate” and “literate” and instead discussed adult literacy as a continuum from very low literacy to very high literacy. Using the traditional division of adults into ...