ERIC Number: ED418215
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Functional Literacy of Older Adults: The Case of the Netherlands.
van der Kamp, Max; Scheeren, Jo
As part of the International Adult Literacy Survey, the literacy levels of older adults in the Netherlands were investigated. A sample of 918 adults aged 50-75 was tested on prose, document, and quantitative scales; 40 older adults were interviewed to determine in what contexts they experience literacy problems and what kinds of coping strategies they use. The study found that most adults over age 50 score significantly lower on all scales than do adults under 50. Only on the quantitative scale do scores decrease less with age. Nearly 60 percent of the older adults have scores at level 1 or 2, the more problematic levels of literacy skills. The differences between the two groups can be linked to a large extent to the differences in level of education, but analysis of covariance revealed that there are also age-related factors influencing the literacy abilities of older people. The older adults were careful to avoid situations that would challenge their literacy skills. Many were willing to ask others, especially their children, for help with instructions, manuals, and forms. The older adults were not interested in learning unless it had practical applications, but if such adult education programs could be devised, they might be effective in enhancing their literacy skills. (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Literacy, Educational Attainment, Educational Needs, Educational Status Comparison, Foreign Countries, Functional Literacy, Literacy Education, Middle Aged Adults, Older Adults, Student Educational Objectives
Thirty-three selected papers from this conference are available on the "Literacy Online" Website: http://www.literacyonline.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the World Conference on Literacy (Philadelphia, PA, March 1996).