ERIC Number: ED373264
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
What We Know about Acquisition of Adult Literacy. Is There Hope? World Bank Discussion Papers, 245.
Literacy education experience shows that literacy is not easily disseminated to adults and that the skills of newly literate people are notable. Dropout, mastery, and retention rates are about 50 percent at each stage, so the effectiveness rate of some projects may only be 12-15 percent. To find causes for the low effectiveness of literacy programs and possible methodological improvements that can increase the effectiveness, two literature reviews were conducted on the topic of literacy in general and on cognitive correlates of age and performance. Some of the findings were as follows: (1) illiterate adults face a combination of social, motivational, instructional, and cognitive obstacles that have not yet been researched adequately; (2) smaller-scale programs are more likely to be successful than larger programs; (3) adults can acquire basic literacy at any age, but functional literacy may become increasingly difficult to acquire with age; (4) if it is indeed harder for adults to acquire functional literacy, large programs should target out-of-school children and adolescents; and (5) methodological improvements can increase the effectiveness of literacy programs. The following improvements were recommended: increasing motivation, positive reinforcement early in the process, discussion of expectations with adults, development of in-class groups of different performance levels, application of reading and writing in context, increasing awareness of phonology, investment in teacher training, and division of tasks into manageable units. (Contains 176 references.) (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Literacy, Adult Reading Programs, Age Differences, Basic Skills, Cognitive Ability, Cognitive Processes, Developing Nations, Educational Improvement, Foreign Countries, Functional Literacy, Literacy Education, Problems, Student Motivation, Teaching Methods
World Bank, 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433.
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: World Bank, Washington, DC.