ERIC Number: ED387673
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar-10
Use It or Lose It? The Problem of Adult Literacy Skill Retention. NCAL Brief.
Wagner, Daniel A.
Available literature pertaining to the following topics was reviewed: cognitive skill retention across the life span, literacy and basic skills retention, and policy implications of skill retention work. Among the key findings of the review were the following: (1) available evidence suggests that adult literacy skill retention may vary dramatically according to the individaul adult learner, his/her prior knowledge, and the type/duration of instruction; (2) there are few limits on memory or learning capacity, and retention of information increases as understanding of the meaning of information deepens; (3) extensive retraining is often necessary before skilled performance can be achieved after regular practice of the skill in question has ceased; and (4) the increased difficulties in reading acquisition often experienced by adults appear to be social or social-psychological in origin rather than based in cognitive deficits. Policymakers were advised to be aware that the retention of adult literacy skills may be a critical factor in long-term program outcomes (e.g., stable employment). It was concluded that service providers and teachers can benefit from knowing that the relearning process can be more rapid if the original learning experience includes increased guidance and strategies for remembering. (MN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Adult Literacy, Philadelphia, PA.
Note: For the full report, see ED 371 240.