Adult skills - Public Libraries Connect

Report
the good news, the not quite so good
news and the not good news
Jan Hagston –
[email protected]
What is PIAAC?
PIAAC, the Programme for International
Assessment of Adult Competencies is an
international survey of adult skills in:
o literacy - the ability to understand and respond
appropriately to written texts. [Literacy also included the
components of reading - word meaning, sentence processing and
passage comprehension]
o numeracy - the ability to use numerical and
mathematical concepts
o problem solving in technology-rich environments – the
capacity to access, interpret and analyse information
found, transformed and communicated in digital
environments.
About PIAAC
Proficiency is described in terms of a scale of 500
points divided into levels.
Each level summarises what a person with a
particular score can do.
Literacy
Numeracy
6 proficiency levels
(below Level 1 to Level 5)
6 proficiency levels
(below Level 1 to Level 5)
Problem solving in technology- 4 proficiency
(below Level 1 to Level 4)
rich environments
• 24 countries or regions initially took part in the survey.
Another 10 have since taken part and more will follow
• ABS conducted this household survey in Australia
• People 16 – 64 years of age are surveyed. Australia surveys
15 – 74 year olds
• The survey can be done by pen and paper or computer
• Participants answer a significant number of background
questions which, together with the survey data, provide
the potential for rich analysis
• Results can be compared with previous international
surveys of adult skills
Problem solving in technology rich
environments
Problem solving in technologyrich environments
Proportion of total Australian population aged 15 – 74 years
31.4
Percentage
5.3 million
4.1 million
25.1
24.8
13.4
540,000
2.2 million
BELOW
3.2
LEVEL 1
LEVEL 2
LEVEL 3
NOT CLASSIFIED
LEVEL 1
Level
Note: ‘Not classified’ refers to those adults who either opted out of the
computer based assessment or who failed a basic ICT test or who had no
computer experience.
Problem
solving
- PSTRE
Literacy and numeracy
Literacy and numeracy
Performance by Level (15-74 yrs)
Literacy: 5.0 million
Numeracy: 5.4 million
37.9
30.1
Percentage
Literacy: 6.3 million
Numeracy: 5.2 million
32.5
31.3
Literacy: 2.4 million
Numeracy: 1.8 million
Literacy: 1.7 million
Numeracy: 2.5 million
15.3
14.5
10.9
10.4
3.7
6.5
BELOW L1
1.2
L1
L2
L3
L4
1.4
L5
Level
Literacy: 620,000
Numeracy: 1.1 million
Literacy
Numeracy
Literacy: 200,000
Numeracy: 230,000
Proportions of persons in Literacy and Numeracy in PIAAC. Total
Australian population aged 15-74 years.
Adults were asked to look at a photograph containing
two cartons of coca cola bottles (changed to water
bottles for PIAAC) and give the total number of bottles
in the two full cases.
This was a Pre-Level 1 item:
Tasks at this level are set in concrete,
familiar contexts where the mathematical
content is explicit with little or no text or
distractors and that require only simple
processes such as counting, sorting,
performing basic arithmetic operations with
whole numbers or money, or recognizing
common spatial representations.
1.1 million Australians aged 15-74 years of
age are operating at this level.
Adults were asked to look at the petrol gauge image. The task
states that the petrol tank holds 48 litres and asks how many litres
remain in the tank. A range of answers are allowable as correct.
This was a Level 2 item:
Tasks in this level require the respondent to identify
and act upon mathematical information and ideas
embedded in a range of common contexts where the
mathematical content is fairly explicit or visual with
relatively few distractors. Tasks tend to require the
application of two or more steps or processes involving,
for example, calculation with whole numbers and
common decimals, percents and fractions; simple
measurement and spatial representation; estimation; and
interpretation of relatively simple data and statistics in
texts, tables and graphs.
About 3.6 million Australians aged 15-74 years of age
could NOT answer this question.
The percentage (and number) of people at
Level 2 or below in numeracy has increased.
Numeracy scale
ALLS 2006
PIAAC 2012
%
No.
%
No.
51.1%
7,720,000
54.2
9,055,000
Gender and numeracy
 49.4% of males are at levels 1 or 2
 59.0% of females are at levels 1 or 2
Literacy - What does it mean to be at a level?
One of the easiest
literacy tasks
(categorised as Below
Level 1) directs the
reader to look at a
medicine label to
determine the
“maximum number of
days you should take
this medicine”.
Below Level 1 tasks

brief texts

familiar topics

locate a single piece of specific information

seldom any competing information

requested information is identical in form to information
in the question or the prompt

only basic vocabulary knowledge is required

the reader is not required to understand the structure of
sentences or paragraphs

do not make use of any features specific to digital texts.
About the task and text
• “days” appears in both the
prompt and the text
• There is no competing
information as the word “days”
appears nowhere else in the text
• The word “maximum” indicates
that the respondent needs to
look for a number
• The number “7” is located next
to the word “days”.
620,000 Australians aged
15-74 years of age are
operating at this level.
Asked the
“maximum
number of days
you should take
this medicine”.
Level 4
Tasks at this level often require respondents to perform
multiple-step operations to integrate, interpret, or
synthesise information from complex or lengthy continuous,
non-continuous, mixed, or multiple type texts.
It may be necessary to make complex inferences and apply
background knowledge.
Many tasks require identifying and understanding one or
more specific, non-central idea(s) in the text in order to
interpret or evaluate subtle evidence-claim or persuasive
discourse relationships.
Conditional information is frequently present.
Competing information is present and sometimes as
prominent as correct information.
Literacy item
Level = 4 (low)
Literacy item
Level = 4
Only about 2 million
Australians aged 1574 years of age
COULD answer this
question.
Literacy - the good news
The percentage of people at Level 2 or
below in literacy has decreased but …
ALLS 2006
PIAAC 2012
%
No.
%
No.
45.9%
6,932,000
44.3%
7,397,000
the number of people at Level 2 or
below has increased.
Australian population - Percentage at Levels
3, 4 and 5 by age
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
15–19 years
20–24 years
25–34 years
35–44 years
45–54 years
55–64 years
65–74 years
Why do skills decline after 44 years of age?
Possible reasons:
• Changed use of skills
• Decline in cognitive skills
So:
• May make little difference to daily life as acquired knowledge
may offset skills decline
• We seldom need to function at the highest level
• Demands may reduce in later life
BUT, for those working with older people, need to keep in
mind this decline in skills, particularly for those working with
people over 65.
International
comparison of average
literacy proficiency
among 16 – 24 year
olds
Mean
Country
299
Japan
297
Finland
295
Netherlands
293
Korea
287
Estonia
285
Flanders (Belgium)
284
Australia
283
Sweden
281
Poland & Czech Republic
280
Average
279
Germany
278
Austria
276
Denmark, Slovak Republic & Canada
275
Norway & France
272
United States
271
Ireland
267
Cyprus
266
England/N. Ireland
264
Spain
261
Italy
Further PIAAC information
The OECD website for PIAAC is: www.oecd.org/site/piaac/
PIAAC reports are available from:
www.oecd.org/site/piaac/publications.htm
For the details of the Australian results go to the ABS website at:
www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4228.0Main+Features12011
-12?OpenDocument
PIAAC conference videos: vimeo.com/album/2571591. The two key
overview videos are these two:
vimeo.com/album/2571591/video/79372616
vimeo.com/album/2571591/video/78496266
A recent (May 2014) analysis of the Australian PIAAC data has been
done by the Productivity Commission:
www.pc.gov.au/research/staff-working/literacy-numeracy-skills

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