Whats the adult L&N story? The results from international assessments of adult literacy and numeracy skills Juliette Mendelovits CEET 17th Annual National Conference Friday 1 November 2013 Monash Conference Centre, Melbourne A literacy deficit Half of all adults in Tasmania cannot read or write properly, and many of their children are following in their footsteps as badly needed school reforms are frustrated. Sarah Dingle investigates. A report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2011-2012 shows half of all Tasmanians aged 15 to 74 are functionally illiterate, and more than half are functionally innumerate meaning they dont have the skills needed to get by in the modern world, like filling out forms, or reading the instructions on their prescription. ABC Radio National, Background Briefing, Sunday 22 September 2013 WHATS BEHIND THE HEADLINES?
Tasmanian 'illiteracy' and 'innumeracy' levels 15 to 74 year olds 2006 - ALLS Document literacy ALLS 2006 Numeracy Below Level 3 Tasmania 51% ALLS 2006 Tasmania Below Level 3 56% 2011-12 PIAAC
Literacy Numeracy PIAAC 2011-12 Below Level 3 Tasmania 49% PIAAC 2011-12 Tasmania Below Level 3 58% Australian 'illiteracy' and 'innumeracy' levels Document literacy ALLS 2006
Numeracy Below Level 3 ALLS 2006 Below Level 3 Tasmania 51% Tasmania 56% Victoria 49% Victoria 54%
Australia 47% Australia 53% Literacy Numeracy PIAAC 2011-12 Below Level 3 Tasmania 49% ALLS 2006 Tasmania Below Level 3
58% Victoria 46% Victoria 54% Australia 44% Australia 55% According to ALLs [and PIAAC?] About 50% of Australian adults are functionally illiterate and
innumerate How can this be true? What does below Level 3 mean? According to the international ALLS reports, Level 3 is a suitable minimum level for coping with the increasing demands of the emerging knowledge society and information economy A Level 2 literacy item from PIAAC Level 2 literacy description (226 to 275 points) At this level, the medium of texts may be digital or printed, and texts may comprise continuous, non-continuous, or mixed types. Tasks at this level require respondents to make matches between the text and information, and may require paraphrasing or low-level inferences. Some competing pieces of information may be present. Some tasks require the respondent to cycle through or integrate two or more pieces of information based on criteria; compare and contrast or reason about information requested in the question; or navigate within digital texts to access and identify information from various parts of a document.
A Level 3 numeracy item from PIAAC Level 3 numeracy description (276 to 325 points) Tasks at this level require the respondent to understand mathematical information that may be less explicit, embedded in contexts that are not always familiar and represented in more complex ways. Tasks require several steps and may involve the choice of problem-solving strategies and relevant processes. Tasks tend to require the application of number sense and spatial sense; recognising and working with mathematical relationships, patterns, and proportions expressed in verbal or numerical form; and interpretation and basic analysis of data and statistics in texts, tables and graphs. PIAAC: an overview The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) An international survey of adults 16-64 years of age (15 to 74 year olds in Australia) Commissioned by the OECD, implemented internationally by a consortium led by Educational Testing Service (ETS) (USA) Administered in Australia by the ABS Measures the domains of literacy (reading) numeracy problem solving in technology-rich environments (PSTRE)
Modes of administration paper and pen computer Administered in 25 OECD countries (including Australia) and subnational entities in 2011-12 Comparable with the results of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey ?? Results from PIAAC Means for Australia and selected participating countries Australia Canada England/ N.Ireland Japan Korea United States Average Literacy Mean scale score
280 273 272 296 273 270 273 Level 2: 226 to 275 points Level 3: 276 to 325 points Numeracy Mean scale score 268 265 262 288 263 253 269 PSTRE % at Level 2
or 3 38 37 35 35 30 31 34 Results from PIAAC % at each literacy level for Australia and selected participating countries Australia Canada England / N.Ireland Japan Korea United States Average Below Level 1
Easy items Relationship between difficulty of assessment items and proficiency of adults Anchoring of tests The Rasch model derives comparable scores for two different assessments via the inclusion of 'anchor' items. Anchoring can be used: across test forms (e.g. Rotated designs) across populations (e.g. Different countries) across time (e.g. Different Adult literacy cycles ALLS and PIAAC) Example of anchoring between two populations of different ability Different tests
Common items Same Scale! A map of item difficulty and test-takers proficiency Once items and adults are placed on the same scale, proficiency levels are defined Level 5 2 Level 4 1 Level 3 0 Level 2 -1 Level 1
XXXXXXXXXX|8 16 XXXXXXX|9 31 XXXXXXXXX|3 XXXXXXXX|18 25 XXXXXXXX|13 XXXXXXX|15 XXXXXXXX| XXXXXX| XXXXXXX| XXXX|24 XXXX| XXXXX| XXX|28 XX|17 XX| XX| X| X| X| X| | PIAAC literacy 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. ... PIAAC literacy Level 2 ... Tasks at this level require respondents to make matches between the text and information, and may require paraphrasing or low-level inferences. Some competing pieces of information may be present. . ... PIAAC literacy Level 1 Most of the tasks at this level require the respondent to read relatively short digital or print continuous, non-continuous, or mixed texts to locate a single piece of information. ... Described literacy levels from PIAAC Level 2 ... Tasks at this level require respondents to make matches between the text and information, and may require paraphrasing or low-level inferences. Some competing pieces of information may be
present. . ... WHAT DOES PIAAC TELL US ABOUT THE DISTRIBUTION OF AUSTRALIANS SKILLS? Sex and skills Australians aged 15 to 74 Percentage PIAAC literacy level by sex 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Males
15 10 5 0 Below Level 1 / Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 PIAAC level Level 4/5 Employment and skills Australians aged 15 to 74 PIAAC literacy level by employment status 45 40 35 Percentage 30
25 Employed Not employed Total 20 15 10 5 0 Below Level 1 / Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 PIAAC Level Level 4/5 SO WHAT ABOUT THE HEADLINES?
How can all of this be true? PISA ALLS According to PISA About 15% of Australian 15-yearolds are below the required standard of reading and maths NAPLAN According to ALLS about 50% of Australian adults are below the minimum standard of literacy and According to NAPLAN about 6% of Australian Year 9 students are below
the required standard of literacy and numeracy Comparability of scales? A project sponsored by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Australian Council for Education Research Preliminary findings: Literacy Questions?
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