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Literacy news

Adult skills survey results released

1 Dec 2011

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has released its 2011 Skills for Life Survey research findings. The survey examined adult literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT) skills for 16 to 65-year-olds in England. It was designed to allow direct comparison with earlier findings in 2003.

This report includes breakdowns of literacy across the five lowest levels of the National Qualifications Framework (from Entry Level 1 and below to Level 2 and above) and demonstrates significant shifts which may reflect the impact of government investment in literacy as well as the work of organisations like the National Literacy Trust.

The report finds that the number of people with relatively poor literacy skills has declined, while the number with the poorest skills has not changed significantly. Overall 56.6 per cent of respondents achieved a Level 2 or above in literacy, which is a large increase from 44.2 per cent in 2003. Level 2 is the equivalent of a good GCSE grade A*-C). There has been a significant drop in Level 1s (equivalent to GCSE grades D-G), down from 39.5% to 25.8%. The number of 16 to 65-year-olds at or below entry Level 3 (the equivalent expected by the National Curriculum of 11-year-olds) is 15% - it has not changed significantly since 2003. The number of adults with entry Level 1 (the equivalent of National Curriculum expectations of 5 to 7-year-olds) has grown slightly between 2003 and 2011 from 3.4% to 5%. Using these figures, the research estimates that 1.1million adults in the UK have this level of literacy.

Read the full findings at

Tags: Adult literacy, Communities and local areas, NLT Campaigns, Policy

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