tc columbia

Understanding Literacy of Low-Skilled Adults Using Multiple Measures

Date and Time: April 09, 2016 4:05–5:35 PM
Location: Washington, DC
Venue: Walter E. Washington Convention Center | Level 1, Room 159 A

This study analyzed selected literacy skills of low-skilled adults attending developmental education courses. Data came from standardized and researcher-developed measures of reading, writing and self-efficacy; teacher judgments; and student testimony. Participants (n = 212) included recent secondary education graduates and older adults. Scores on standardized tests were at the 22nd and 26th percentiles for 12th graders. Performance on authentic measures of text-based writing were also low. The standardized measures were moderately predictive of the researcher-developed measures, with correlations of .14–.31. Both self-efficacy ratings and teacher judgments were surprisingly high, given students’ low scores. The utility of standardized and authentic measures in characterizing the skills of low-literate adults were discussed, and student retrospective reports were used to help interpret findings.

Associated Papers


Research Affiliate
Community College Research Center

Associated Project(s)