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INTERNATIONAL LITERACY STATISTICS 2013 Presentation to the CUPE Literacy Working Group and the CUPE Learners’ Council Brigid Hayes, November 27, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "INTERNATIONAL LITERACY STATISTICS 2013 Presentation to the CUPE Literacy Working Group and the CUPE Learners’ Council Brigid Hayes, November 27, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 INTERNATIONAL LITERACY STATISTICS 2013 Presentation to the CUPE Literacy Working Group and the CUPE Learners’ Council Brigid Hayes, November 27, 2013

2 Agenda Overview of PIAAC Main Results Positive Aspects Some Questions and Challenges Key “Takeaways”

3 Overview of PIAAC PIAAC = Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies Lead is the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) OECD uses the term “Survey of Adult Skills” with PIAAC being the overall research program; in Canada more likely to see the term PIAAC used Successor survey to the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (2003), International Adult Literacy Survey (1994) and Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities (1989)

4 International Context 166,000 adults aged 16 – 65 surveyed August 2011 – March 2012 22 countries Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom (England and Northern Ireland), the United States, Cyprus and the Russian Federation Next round – 9 more countries Chile, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia, and Turkey Result to be released in 2016 A third round – May 2014

5 Canadian Context Lead federal departments are Employment and Social Development Canada and Statistics Canada Provinces and territories participated through the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) 27,285 respondents Proportionally, Canada had the largest survey population due to oversampling – immigrants, official language minorities, Aboriginal peoples Excludes on-reserve Aboriginal populations

6 Skills Assessed 2013 Literacy Numeracy Problem Solving in Technology Rich Environments 2003 Prose Literacy Document Literacy Numeracy Problem Solving 1993 Prose Literacy Document Literacy Quantitative Literacy

7 Literacy Literacy is defined as the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts to participate in society, achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential. Literacy encompasses a range of skills from the decoding of written words and sentences to the comprehension, interpretation, and evaluation of complex texts. It does not, however, involve the production of text (writing). Information on the skills of adults with low levels of proficiency is provided by an assessment of reading components that covers text vocabulary, sentence comprehension and passage fluency.

8 Numeracy Numeracy is defined as the ability to access, use, interpret and communicate mathematical information and ideas in order to engage in and manage the mathematical demands of a range of situations in adult life. To this end, numeracy involves managing a situation or solving a problem in a real context, by responding to mathematical content and concepts represented in multiple ways.

9 Problem Solving In Technology-rich Environments (PS-TRE) Problem solving in technology-rich environments is defined as the ability to use digital technology, communication tools and networks to acquire and evaluate information, communicate with others and perform practical tasks. The assessment focuses on the abilities to solve problems for personal, work and civic purposes by setting up appropriate goals and plans, and accessing and making use of information through computers and computer networks.

10 Main Outcomes - Literacy Canada ranks at the OECD average in literacy Alberta and Ontario score above the OECD average Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut scored below the OECD average Canada has a higher proportion at the highest and lowest levels of literacy 14% at level 4/5 17% at level 1 or below

11 Ranking of Countries, 1994, 2003, 2013, Prose and Literacy Scales IALS (1994)IALSS (2003)PIAAC (2013) 1Norway Japan 2NetherlandsCanadaFinland 3CanadaNetherlands 4New ZealandAustralia 5 New ZealandSweden 6United StatesSwitzerlandNorway 7SwitzerlandHungaryEstonia 8HungaryUnited StatesFlanders (Belgium) 9 Czech Republic 10 Slovak Republic 11 Canada 12 Average 13 Korea 14 England/N. Ireland 15 Denmark 16 Germany 17 United States 18 Austria 19 Cyprus 20 Poland 21 Ireland 22 France 23 Spain 24 Italy


13 Main Outcomes - Numeracy Canada ranks below the OECD average in numeracy No province or territory ranked above OECD average 13% of respondents scored at level 4/5 23% of respondents scored at level 1 or below


15 Main Outcomes – PS-TRE Assessment was done on a computer – 81% of respondents participated in this assessment The percentage of Canadian respondents participating in the PS-TRE element was higher than the OECD average Canada is above the OECD average in PS-TRE – 37% scored at level 2 or 3 All provinces and territories scored at or above the OECD average except Nunavut 30% scored at level 1 15% scored at below level 1


17 Other Highlights Literacy and numeracy scores are highest among those 25 to 34 Women and men have similar literacy skills with men having higher numeracy skills Higher education is association with greater literacy, numeracy and PS-TRE skills The employed have stronger literacy and numeracy skills The unemployed and the “not in the labour force” population have similar literacy and numeracy skills, but the PS-TRE skills of the unemployed are higher than those not in the labour force

18 Selected Populations Aboriginal populations generally score lower on literacy, numeracy and PS-TRE, but there are variations across provinces/territories Immigrants score lower on these skills than the Canadian born population. Recent and established immigrants skills are similar in literacy and numeracy but at the national level a larger proportion of established immigrants did not take the computer based assessment for PS-TRE Official language minority populations tend not to perform as well as official language majority populations (except for Anglophones in Quebec)

19 172 Literacy proficiency by immigration background

20 Averages and proficiency levels, IALSS and PIAAC, 2003 and 2012 Literacy20032012 Average Score280274 4/518%14% 341%38% 227%32% 110%13% Below Level 15%4% Numeracy20032012 Average Score272266 4/514%13% 337%33% 231%32% 113%17% Below Level 15%6%

21 Why Does This Matter? Likelihood of positive social and economic outcomes for individuals Good to excellent health Being employed High levels of trust Participation in volunteer activities High levels of political efficacy High wages Likelihood of positive social and economic outcomes for nations Higher national incomes Less income inequality Higher skilled jobs Culture of lifelong learning at work and in the community

22 Share of high performance and national income (numeracy)

23 Inequality in the distribution of income and literacy skills

24 Evolution of employment in occupational groups defined by level of skills proficiency

25 Job-related adult education and training Percent

26 Literacy proficiency: score differences between the youngest (16-24 year-old) and oldest (55-65 year-old) adults Adjusted differences are based on a regression model, which takes account of differences associated with age, gender, education, socio-economic background, and type of occupation. Score advantage of younger adults

27 OECD Policy Items Provide high-quality initial education and lifelong learning opportunities Make lifelong learning opportunities accessible to all Make sure all children have a strong start in education Develop links between the world of learning and the world of work Provide training for workers Ensure that the training is relevant Allow workers to adapt their learning to their lives Identify those most at risk of poor skills proficiency Show how adults can benefit from better skills Provide easy-to-find information about adult education activities Recognise and certify skills proficiency Provide high-quality early childhood education and childcare at reasonable cost Encourage employers to hire individuals who temporarily withdrew from the labour force

28 OECD Policy Items (cont’d) Encourage older workers to remain in the labour market Create more flexible working arrangements to accommodate workers with care obligations and disabilities Tax policies should encourage workers to make their skills available to the labour market Take stock of the skills held by unemployed adults Offer economic rewards for greater proficiency Continue to promote educational attainment Collect timely information about demand for and supply of skills Create flexible labour market arrangements Provide quality career guidance Ensure that qualifications are coherent and easy to interpret

29 What’s Next OECD will be issuing thematic papers including one on PS-TRE A series of Canadian thematic papers is planned skills and labour market outcomes (including skills mismatch) skills of the immigrant population skills and education skills of official language minority populations skills and health and social outcomes ESDC has plans for shorter papers on skills and employment and earnings, skills in the north, skills, education and aboriginal populations PIAAC on line available next year

30 Positive Aspects of PIAAC Provides a benchmark against which Canada can assess its performance Maintains a focus on literacy, PIAAC will also provide greater information about those at level 1 and below Links literacy to issues of social well being, inequality, and success planning Rich source of information (still to be mined) on the role of literacy skills at work and literacy practice Will also enable an exploration of qualifications vs. skills Links to PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) involving all 15 year olds (how to unhook parental education from child’s prospects) Public access to data for further research

31 Some Questionsand Challenges The federal government has taken a low profile on PIAAC – not clear why or what the impact will be While OECD has rejected level 3 as a benchmark, many jurisdictions tied their policies to achieving level 3 – it remains to be seen what they will do next The OECD has a strong skills perspective with literacy being but one of a series of skills – will need to continue to look at literacy as a social as well as economic good The merging of prose and document literacy may deter employers from understanding “literacy” as a workplace issue The implications of the PIAAC domains for the Essential Skills Framework, especially PS-TRE and the essential skills of critical thinking and computer use

32 Take-aways PIAAC provides important information It is an assessment of populations, not a curriculum It measures literacy in ways that are conducive to measurement IALSS led to a call to ‘move people to level 3’ – PIAAC can be used in a more nuanced fashion Analysis from independent non-government groups will help balance the OECD and government’s perspectives Need to find a variety of ways to look at literacy – not just quantitative indicators – what are those indicators, how do we measure them, how is the story told

33 For Further Information OECD website – International report CMEC website – Canada report Literacy Field PIAAC website COPIAN Centre for Literacy – Fall Institute - Interpreting PIAAC Results: Understanding Competencies of the Future

34 Contact Information For a copy of my paper: “First Reactions to the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Results” piaac-reports/ piaac-reports/ « Premières réactions aux résultats du Programme pour l’évaluation internationale des compétences des adultes (PEICA) »

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