ERIC Number: ED458604
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Trends in Standards of Literacy in the United Kingdom, 1948-1996.
Surveys of literacy attainment have been going on in the United Kingdom since 1948. The main finding is that literacy standards have changed very little in that time. Among 8-year-olds (children in Year 3) in England and Wales, however, standards fell slightly in the late 1980s, and then recovered in the early 1990s. The few international comparisons available seem to show some slippage in the position of Britain's 9-year-olds between the 1970s and the 1990s, and a "trailing edge" of underachievement. Very few school-leavers and adults can be described as illiterate, but a significant percentage have limited literacy skills. For many people, literacy skills are insufficient to meet the demands of life, work, and citizenship. The British educational system has been generally successful in maintaining the standard of achievement in literacy. The international evidence shows that the levels achieved by middling and high performers are comparable to the best in the world. But international evidence and adult literacy surveys also show that there is a significant proportion of the population who have poor or very poor literacy skills; and this pattern seems to have persisted for many decades. The principal implication for educational policy would seem to be that the most effective way of raising average levels of achievement would be to intervene in the education of children who are already failing or at risk of doing so, to ensure that they are equipped with the literacy (and numeracy) skills necessary for the rest of their education and for life. (Contains 28 references and 7 tables of data.) (RS)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Comparative Analysis, Educational Testing, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Foreign Countries, High Risk Students, Literacy, Reading Achievement, Reading Improvement, Test Score Decline
For full text: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/000000650.htm.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Great Britain)