ERIC Number: ED366779
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Literacy Assessment and Its Implications for Statistical Measurement. Current Surveys and Research in Statistics.
Soares, Magda Becker
Three conceptual issues form the basis for coping with technical problems of gathering data on literacy: (1) the definition of literacy; (2) choice of criteria that can be used in properly assessing and measuring literacy; and (3) conflict between the importance and necessity of literacy assessment and the difficulty of fulfilling the prerequisite for doing it. As a result of the difficulty in defining literacy, an essential precondition for literacy assessment and statistical measurement is not fulfilled: a precise definition from which to derive criteria for distinguishing between literate and illiterate persons. Two main problems with literacy assessment and measurement in school settings are the concept of schooled literacy and the different educational and social effects of schooled literacy in developed and developing countries. Censuses and surveys gather self-assessed data that are likely to be inaccurate or data based on a grade completion criterion that relies on either equivocal or controversial assumptions. By assessing literacy in terms of a representative population sample's actual competencies, a literacy survey secures a more accurate view of the extent and quality of literacy in the population. At least three major arguments support the need for generating literacy indexes through assessment and measurement: the literacy index of a population is a basic indicator of a country's or community's progress; literacy indices are extremely useful for comparative purposes; and they are essential to formulating policies and to planning, implementing, and monitoring programs. (Contains 58 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Paris (France). Div. of Statistics on Education.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A