Adult Education Facts at a Glance (page 3)
- In 1992, the National Adult Literacy Survey found the following distribution of adults, age 16 and over, in the prose literacy scale: 25% of adults were in Level 1 (lowest level of proficiency); 25-28% in Level 2; 33% in Level 3; 18-21% in Levels 4 and 5 (highest levels of proficiency). (National Adult Literacy Survey, 1993)
- The Level 1 population included: 25% immigrants learning to speak English; 62% had terminated their education before completing high school; 25% percent age 65 or older; 26% with physical, mental, or health conditions that kept them from participating fully in work, school, housework, or other activities; 19% with visual difficulties affecting the ability to read print.
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Number of Programs/Activities
- Workforce development at two-year colleges is the fastest growing area of college services in many states. A survey of community college funding found: 19 states used state funds from their community college appropriation; 32 states used funds from other state agencies (these include state departments of labor, vocational education, economic development, commerce, and human resources); and 31 states used non-state funds. (State Funding for Community Colleges: A 50-State Survey PDF (511K), 2000, Table 19)
- ESL programs are the fastest growing component of the state-administered adult education programs. In 1997-98, 48% of enrollments were in ESL programs, compared to 33% in 1993-94. Of these 48% enrollees, 32% were in beginning ESL classes, 12% in intermediate, and 4% in advanced. (Adult Education: Human Investment Impact 1994-98, 1999; State-Administered Adult Education Program: 1998 Adult Education Personnel, 1999)
- Enrollment and participant information includes information on the number and characteristics of adults enrolled in the state-administered adult education program (program years 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03).
- In 1999, 44.5% of adults 17 years old and older participated in some type of adult education program. 1.1% participated in a basic education program; .9% in English as a Second Language programs, 9.3% in part-time postsecondary education; and 22.2% in career or job related courses. (Digest of Education Statistics, 2001, Table 359)
- In 1999, 14.7% of adults 17 years old and older with 8th grade or less education participated in some type of adult education program. Participants with some education between 9th and 12th grades (without a diploma) 25.6%; and 34.8% of those with a diploma participated in an adult education program. (Digest of Education Statistics, 2001, Table 359)
Health and Literacy
The relationship between adults' health conditions and their literacy skills varies depending on the condition. Adults with conditions such as hearing difficulty, a speech disability, a learning disability, or mental retardation usually have Level 1 skills. (Adult Literacy in America: a first look at the findings of the National Adult Literacy Survey, 1993)
- In 1999, the following percentages of the adult population age 25 and over had graduated from high school: 85% of non-Hispanic adults 87.7% of non-Hispanic White adults, 84.7% of non-Hispanic Asian & Pacific Islander adults, 77.4% of non-Hispanic Black adults; and 56.1% of Hispanic adults. (Educational Attainment in the United States: March 1999 PDF (120K), Table A)
- The education and training requirements of the 2000-2010 projected total job openings, due to growth and net replacement are: 69.8% of jobs will require work-related training (42.7% short-term on-the-job training, 15.1% moderate on-the-job training, 6.5% long-term on-the-job training; and 5.55% work experience in a related occupation); 20.9% will require a bachelor's degree or higher; and 9.3% will require an associate's degree or postsecondary vocational award. (Occupational Employment Projections to 2010) PDF (223K), 2001, Table 6)
- A number of national and state organizations have identified Level 3 proficiency as a minimum standard for success in today's labor market. Findings from the International Adult Literacy Survey indicate that only half of the U.S. adult population 16-65 years of age reached Level 3. (The Twin Challenges of Mediocrity and Inequality: Literacy in the U.S. from an International Perspective PDF (229K), 2002, Table 5)
- In 1994-98 the average composite literacy score of native-born adults in the US was 284 (Level 3); the U.S. ranked 10th out of 17 high-income countries. The average score of foreign-born adults was 210 (Level 1); the U.S. ranked 16th out of 17 countries. (The Twin Challenges of Mediocrity and Inequality: Literacy in the U.S. from an International Perspective PDF (229K), 2002, Table 12)
- In 2000, the Current Population Survey reported the following educational attainment levels of the foreign-born population, as compared to the native population: 33.0% not high school graduates, compared to 13.4%; 25.% were high school graduates, compared to 34.3%; 16.2% had some college education (less than a bachelor's degree), compared to 26.7%; 25.8% had a bachelor's degree or more, compared to 25.6%. (Profile of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2000 [downloadable files] PDF (1.70MB), 2001, Figure 14-1)
- The National Household Education Survey found that for adults aged 16 or over whose primary language at home was not English: 41.9% participated in ESL classes in the previous 12 months as part of a college program; 28.9% participated to improve their communication skills; 14.1% for a personal, family, or social reasons; and 15.1% for other main reasons. (Participation of Adults in English as a Second Language Classes: 1994-95 PDF (300K), 1997, Table 2)
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education.
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